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American College & University Founders

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  • Oral Roberts (1918 - 2009)
    Granville Oral Roberts (January 24, 1918 – December 15, 2009) was an American Charismatic Christian televangelist, ordained in both the Pentecostal Holiness and United Methodist churches. He is consi...
  • Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, D.D. (1735 - 1790)
    The Reverend Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, D.D., S.T.D., (22 February 1735/6[a] – 30 October 1790) was an American Dutch Reformed clergyman, colonial and state legislator, and educator. Hardenbergh was a f...
  • Brantley York (1805 - 1891)
    Dr. York was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and notwithstanding his blindness, was one of the greatest educators North Carolina ever produced. He was one of the founders of Old Tr...
  • Reverend Bernt Julius Muus (1832 - 1900)
    Reverend Muus and wife left Norway in 1859 to accept a call to become pastor of the Holden Norwegian Lutheran congregation located in north of Kenyon, MN. In 1874 Muus founded St. Olaf college in North...
  • 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...

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!