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Ohio Northern University

Ohio Northern University is a private, United Methodist Church-affiliated university located in the United States in Ada, Ohio, founded by Henry Solomon Lehr in 1871. ONU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. ONU is a sister university with Dankook University, a private university in Seoul, South Korea.


525 S. Main St

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Additional Information

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Religious Affiliation
United Methodist Church
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Ohio Athletic

College History


Henry Solomon Lehr, a former soldier in the American Civil War, became the schoolmaster for the Ada public school in 1866. Lehr began offering additional courses in the evenings to motivated students to cover topics beyond the standard curriculum. After five years, he approached the town about starting a college.[citation needed] In August 1871, the Northwestern Ohio Normal School started with nearly 150 students attending classes in downtown stores and local churches until the first classroom building was completed in October. Lehr built the college, and was involved in all activities, including teaching, construction of buildings, faculty selection and curriculum design. In the post-civil war period, the school�s focus was on training individuals to become public school teachers. By the mid-1880s, the school�s curriculum had expanded to include programs in pharmacy, engineering, law, and business. In 1885, the school trustees changed the name to Ohio Normal University to reflect the expanded aspirations and scope. The Music Department of Ohio Northern University, with Administration buildings in the background. President Lehr�s educational philosophy emphasized low tuition, flexible schedule and curriculum, and allowed women as students and faculty. To secure the school�s future, Lehr tried to secure state support for the school, but when that failed, he arranged to transfer the school to the United Methodist Church.[citation needed] When the transfer was completed in 1899, he was succeeded by Dr. Leroy Belt in 1900, and then by Dr. Albert Edwin Smith in 1905.

College Specialty


Influenced by a unique history and an enduring affiliation with the United Methodist Church, Ohio Northern University�s mission is to provide a high quality learning environment that prepares students for success in their careers, service to their communities, the nation, and the world, and a lifetime of personal growth inspired by the higher values of truth, beauty, and goodness. The University�s distinctive academic program includes mutually supporting liberal and professional education components that integrate practice with theory, complemented by excellent co-curricular offerings that enrich the Northern experience. To fulfill this mission, faculty and staff engage with students so they can learn to think critically, creatively, and entrepreneurially, communicate effectively, gain practical experience, solve problems collaboratively, and act as ethical and responsible members of a global community.



Anthony A. Alaimo, jurist Frank T. Bow, jurist and politician who was honored by naming the Frank T. Bow Federal Building in Canton, Ohio. James Cloyd Bowman, a children's book author who received a Newbery Honor in 1938 for Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time. Benjamin Brafman, a prominent criminal defense attorney based in New York. William J. Brown, former Ohio Attorney General (1971�1983). J. Aaron Lecklider, 2013 WWA Wakeboard World Champion Drew Ater, Former Baseball Great George Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic and inventor of the system for blood transfusion. Robert R. Cupp, Ohio Supreme Court Justice. Mike DeWine, a politician who served as a U.S. Senator from Ohio between 1995 and 2007. Simeon Davison Fess, a Republican politician a former president of Antioch College. John W. Grabiel, Arkansas Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1922 and 1924; Ohio native, attorney in Fayetteville, Arkansas, until his death in 1928 Stacey Hairston, former Cleveland Browns player. Robert Franklin Jones, graduated with a law degree. Served as Allen County (Ohio) prosecuting attorney, 1935 - 1939. Elected in 1938 to the Seventy-sixth U.S. Congress, and elected for three subsequent terms to Congress, serving from 1939 - 1947. Appointed Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, serving from 1947 - 1952. J.E. Keeny, studied music at Ohio Northern. Served as president of Louisiana Tech University, 1908-1926 George E. Killian, a sports administrator and a president of the International University Sports Federation. Cassius Jackson Keyser, a mathematician. Clayton Mathile, former owner of Iams pet food. Bruce Mays, Director of Operations for the Dallas Cowboys. Bill Peterson, former head football coach at Florida State, Rice University, and with the Houston Oilers. Bob Peterson, story artist, animator and voice actor. Joseph Banks Rhine, founder of the parapsychology lab at Duke University Jamal Robertson, NFL football player. Ralph L. Ropp (Class of 1923), president of Louisiana Tech University from 1949 to 1962 Brian Smith, Chief Operating Officer of St. Rita's Health Partners and CEO of Catholic Health Partners' North Division Michael B. Smith, President of The Washington Center. Baldemar Velasquez, is president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO. Laurence Neal Woodworth, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy in 1977 Jim Wilson (Los Angeles), city council member, studied pharmacy Jason Trusnik, NFL football player. Currently plays for the Miami Dolphins. D. Michael Crites, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio in the administrations of Presidents Reagan and Bush