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American College & University Founders

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  • John Freeman Hillyer (1805 - 1893)
    , John Freeman, clergyman and educator, was born in Wilkes county, Ga., May 25, 1805; son of Shaler and Rebecca (Freeman) Hillyer. His father was a native of Granby, Conn. He was graduated at Franklin ...
  • Randolph Lee Clark, Sr. (1871 - 1941)
    Randolph Lee Clark, teacher and school administrator, was born to Randolph and Ellen (Lee) Clark in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 3, 1871. His father, a Confederate veteran and minister in the Disciples...
  • Randolph Clark (1844 - 1935)
    Randolph Clark, teacher and minister, son of Esther Hettie (D'Spain) and Joseph Addison Clark, was born in Powelltown (now Waskom), Texas, on August 15, 1844, and educated at home. In the spring of 186...
  • Addison Clark (1842 - 1911)
    Addison Clark, cofounder and first president of Texas Christian University, was born on December 11, 1842, in Titus (now Morris) County, Texas, the first of eleven children of Esther (DeSpain) and Jose...
  • Milton Brown, US Congress (1804 - 1883)
    Milton Brown (February 28, 1804 – May 15, 1883) was a U.S. Representative from Tennessee. Brown was born in Lebanon, Ohio. After growing up, He moved to Nashville, Tennessee. He Married Sarah F. ...

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

















  • 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!