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American College & University Founders

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  • Sir William Osler, MD (1849 - 1919)
    Considered by some to be the father of modern medicine. One of founders of John Hopkins University. 12 July 1849 - 29 December 1919 William Osler was born in a remote part of Ontario known ...
  • George Bancroft, U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1800 - 1891)
    George Bancroft (October 3, 1800 – January 17, 1891) was an American historian and statesman who was prominent in promoting secondary education both in his home state and at the national level. ...
  • Grace Hoadley Dodge (1856 - 1914)
    Grace Hoadley Dodge (May 21, 1856 – December 27, 1914) was an American philanthropist. Biography She was the great-granddaughter of David Low Dodge, and granddaughter of William E. Dodge. ...
  • Lucy Skidmore Scribner (1853 - 1931)
    Lucy Skidmore Scribner (July 4, 1853 - May 2, 1931) was the founder of Skidmore College. Biography She was born in on July 4, 1853 to Joseph Russell Skidmore (1821–1882), a coal merchant...
  • Annie Nathan Meyer (1867 - 1951)
    American author and promoter of the higher education of women. Founder of Bernard College, today incorporated with Columbia University. Annie Nathan Meyer (February 19, 1867 – September 23, ...

This project aims to gather together all of the Geni profiles of people who directly founded American colleges and universities. Anyone who solely founded an institution can be added.

Who Is a Founder?

Please read this section carefully before adding anyone to this project. Thanks!

A specific founder is usually listed on the "History" page of any major college or university's website. In many cases, an institution may have been founded by a small group of trustees or governors. Right now, we are most interested in the primary founders. (For example, while a small group of men founded Yale University, Rev. James Pierpont is universally considered the primary founder.)

If you have any questions about whether an individual is a founder, please feel free to use the Discussions area of this project.

Please note: Being the namesake, benefactor, or first president of an institution does NOT automatically mean having founded it. Many colleges named for people were not founded by those people. Harvard, for example, was founded by the Massachusetts legislature and not by John Harvard.

List of Founders (Alphabetical by College)

NOTE: Founders not in bold need to be added. If you collaborate on those profiles, please add them and then embolden their name. Thank you!






  • Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina -- founded by













South Carolina State University -- founded by





  • Xavier University of Louisiana -- founded by



About This Project

This project was started in May 2011 by Ashley, a member of the History of Education Society. Feel free to contact her with any questions -- or, better yet, use the Discussions area to connect with all collaborators!