History of Urbana University
Urbana University was founded by the Reverend James Parke Stuart, Colonel John J. James, Milo Williams, and other members of the Swedenborgian Church with a charter granted by the State of Ohio in 1850. Classes began in the fall of 1850 in a rented room in the building on the southwest corner of the Town Square of Urbana, Ohio. These classes were held under the name Urbana Seminary and were offered only to elementary and secondary students. The first building, Bailey Hall, was completed in 1853. College level classes began in the fall of 1854.
The school did not hold classes during the Civil War, closing in 1861 and reopening in 1866. In 1907, the college curriculum was shortened to two years. The primary school was closed in 1911, leaving a secondary school and junior college. In 1928, the secondary school was closed. A four-year college was reestablished in 1968. In 1975, Urbana was granted full membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The institution operated as Urbana College until 1985, when the use of the chartered name "Urbana University" was re-established. Urbana University was a coeducational institution from its beginning. Although the institution was never owned by the Swedenborgian Church, continuous support has been received from the Church since the school's founding.