Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

American College & University Founders

« Back to Projects Dashboard

view all


  • Brig. Gen. Mark Perrin Lowrey (CSA) (1828 - 1887)
    Mark Perrin Lowrey (December 30, 1828 – February 27, 1885) was a Southern Baptist preacher otherwise known as the "Preacher General". He is known for being a Confederate brigadier general duri...
  • Rep. Thomas Chilton (AJ-KY) (1798 - 1854)
    Thomas Chilton (July 30, 1798 – August 15, 1854) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky, a prominent Baptist clergyman, and the ghost writer of David Crockett's autobiography. Born near L...
  • Henry William DeSaussure, Sr. (1763 - 1839)
    en.wikipedia.... ; Henry William de Saussure (August 16, 1763 – March 26, 1839) was an American lawyer, state legislator and jurist from South Carolina who became a political leader as a membe...
  • Ellen Spencer Mussey (1850 - 1936)
    Ellen Spencer Mussey was born on May 13, 1850, in Geneva, Ohio, United States. Mussey was a lawyer, educator, and pioneer in the field of women's rights to legal education. She was the daughter of Pl...
  • Augustus B. Woodward (1774 - 1827)
    Augustus Brevoort Woodward (born Elias Brevoort Woodward in November 1774, died July 12, 1827) was the first Chief Justice of the Michigan Territory. In that position, he played a prominent role in t...

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!