Funding the University
For twelve years, starting in 1847, the joint Presbyterian Synods of Ohio searched for a location to build a Christian university. At first, they asked for $200,000 from the public to build the school, but the number soon dropped to $150,000 and later to $100,000.1 The citizens of Wooster and Wayne County were eager to “advance the moral, intellectual, and social condition of [Wooster],” which they believed had been ravaged by such moral indecencies as saloons and billiard parlors. They hurriedly agreed to pay the sum. Ephraim Quinby, Jr., John H. Kauke, and Reasin Beall Stibbs, three of Wooster’s richest and most prominent citizens, headed the effort to raise money to build the school. In the end, the town submitted $58,000 in cash along with the generous donation of twenty acres of land from Quinby valued at $25,000, and a guarantee for the remaining $17,000 to the Ohio Presbyterian Synods.2 In 1866, the joint Ohio Presbyterian Synods visited Wooster and the school was formally incorporated on December 18 of that year.3
1 Reverend John Robinson, “Historical Statement,” in Dedication of The University of Wooster, and Inauguration of The President, (1870), 4.
2 Ben Douglass, History of Wayne County, Ohio, From the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time (Indianapolis, IN: Robert Douglass, 1878), 473.
3 Lucy Notestein, Wooster of the Middle West Volume One 1866-1910, (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1971), 20-21.