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American College & University Founders

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  • Peter Cartwright, "God's Plowman" (1785 - 1872)
    Peter Cartwright (September 1, 1785 – September 25, 1872) was an American Methodist revivalist and politician in Illinois. Born in Amherst County, now Nelson County, Virginia at the intersection of Sta...
  • Philip Syng, Jr. (1703 - 1789)
    DAR# A112262 Philip Syng (September 29, 1703 – May 8, 1789)[1] was, like his namesake father, a renowned silversmith who created fine works in silver and sometimes gold for the rich families of Phila...
  • Peter Plympton Smith (1945 - d.)
    Peter Plympton Smith (born October 31, 1945) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives from the U.S. state of Vermont, the 75th Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, and an education...
  • Arad Hunt (1743 - 1825)
    Arad Hunt, who also lived in Vernon, was general of the Vermont militia, a member of the Westminster Convention of 1777, and a prominent early backer of Middlebury College, to which he donated over 5,0...
  • Jared L. Brush (1835 - 1913)
    Jared L. Brush (July 6, 1835 – April 24, 1913) was the ninth Lieutenant Governor of Colorado. He was a Republican and served from 1895 to 1899 under governors Albert Washington McIntire and Alva Adam...

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!