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American College & University Founders

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  • James H. Laughlin (1806 - 1882)
    James H. Laughlin was a pioneer of the iron and steel industry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born March 1, 1806 near Portaferry in County Down. Laughlin died on December 18, 1882. Steel indus...
  • John Emory (1789 - 1835)
    John Emory (11 April 1789 – 1835) was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1832. Early life and family John was born at Spaniard's Neck, Queen Anne's County, Ma...
  • John Goucher (1845 - 1922)
    John Franklin Goucher (1845-1922) was a Methodist pastor who was the co-founder and namesake of Goucher College in Maryland. John Goucher was born in 1845 in Pennsylvania to a Methodist family. He ...
  • Rev. Jeremiah Chamberlain (1794 - 1851)
    Jeremiah Chamberlain (1794-1851) was an American Presbyterian minister and educator. He served as the President of Centre College in Kentucky from 1822 to 1825, and founder and President of Oakland...
  • 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 ...

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!