The school's namesake is Bishop Emmett Michael Walsh of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown. Walsh University was first founded as LaMennais College in Alfred, Maine in 1951 by the Brothers of Christian Instruction on an idea by Ferdinand Waldo Demara, who was then posing as a monk, to educate young men as brothers and teachers. LaMennais College continued in Alfred, Maine from 1951 until 1959. Because of a chance 1957 conversation between Brother Francoeur of La Mennais College and Monsignor William Hughes of Youngstown, Ohio about the Brothers' wish to move LaMennais College from Alfred, Maine, Bishop Walsh invited the Brothers to choose Canton, Ohio as the new location. Bishop Walsh donated $350,000 to the Walsh College project. Internet searches show a number of noted persons ultimately graduated from LaMennais College before it moved to Pennsylvania.
In 1959 the present location of Walsh University began as 50 acres (20 ha) of farm land on which two buildings were constructed, College Hall (Farrell Hall) and LaMennais Hall which continues to house the Brothers and international priest-students. Throughout the school's history, the Brothers have played an active role, serving as faculty during the original years and playing a part in the growth and development of facilities and programs. Several have served as President. On July 12, 2010, Walsh University was notified that it had been approved for the Division II membership process in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The move to the NCAA was a multiple-year process that included a two-year candidacy period followed by a one-year provisional season, in which the Cavaliers were not allowed to advance into NCAA postseason play.
Following the successful transition, the university became a full member of the NCAA DII in 2013. Walsh was previously competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the American Mideast Conference, while its football team competed in the Mid-States Football Association.
Walsh University is an independent, coeducational Catholic, liberal arts and sciences institution. Founded by the Brothers of Christian Instruction, Walsh University is dedicated to educating its students to become leaders in service to others through a values-based education with an international perspective in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Walsh University believes in the desirability of a small university that promotes academic excellence, a diverse community and close student-teacher interactions.
The University provides its students a higher education that fosters critical thinking, effective communication, spiritual growth, and personal, professional and cultural development. Walsh University encourages individuals to act in accordance with reason guided by the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. Walsh University Mission Statement, adopted 1999.
Bob Boldon - current Ohio University women's basketball coachcitation needed Bob Huggins - former Walsh University basketball coach (1980-83), Huggins directed the 1982-83 team to a perfect 30-0 regular season mark and an eventual 34-1 markcitation needed Joseph Morgan - wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football Leaguecitation needed Karl Smesko Masters program 1997. Head women's basketball coach for Florida Gulf Coast University.
The university campus is made up of 22 buildings on a 136-acre (55 ha) campus. The Walsh University Peace Pole has had visitors including Willy Brandt, Coretta Scott King, Mother Teresa, and Elie Wiesel who came to Walsh University to advocate for peace.