Dr. Lord's Astounding Inauguration
The College of Wooster, for many years called the University of Wooster, has had a long tradition of coeducation. At the dedication of the university on September 7, 1870, the newly inaugurated President of the institution, Dr. Lord, gave a speech outlining the University’s position on admitting women and different races and faiths, saying: “Let the Tree of Knowledge be just as accessible as God has made the Tree of Life. The essential term or test of citizenship in the commonwealth of science and letters, should be character, mental and moral quality and attainment, not condition, race, color, or sex.... [the] University [has] resolved that it shall be open to students of both sexes.”1 The point of the institution, however, was not to make bold political statements on equality, but to “glorify God in promoting sanctified education and thus furthering the interests of the church and its extension over the whole earth.”2 The College of Wooster honored its founding Trustees’ wishes until it became unaffiliated with the Presbyterian Synods in 1969. By the 1970s, the traditional religious requirements of the school were no longer a priority.
1 Willis Lord, D.D., “Inaugural Address,” (Inauguration of the University of Wooster, Wooster, OH, September 7, 1870), 11.
2 First Board meeting of the Board of Trustees, December 20, 1866 (282 from Notestein book)