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Wittenberg University

Wittenberg University is a private four-year liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio, US serving 2,000 full-time students representing 37 states and approximately 30 foreign countries.


Ward St at N Wittenberg Ave
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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Lutheran Church
Campus Housing
White Red
North Coast

College History


Wittenberg was founded in 1845 by a group of pastors in the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio. German American Reverend Ezra Keller was the principal founder and first president of the college. Its initial focus was to train clergy. One of its main missions was to "Americanize" Lutherans by teaching courses in English instead of German, unlike Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. The first class originally consisted of eight students at the beginning of the academic year, but grew to seventy-one by the end. With a faculty of one professor and two tutors, classes were held in Springfield, Ohio in a church on land that was donated. The city was selected for its location on the new National Road, was easily accessible by travelers once a chain of rocks to the west was successfully bridged, and had become a center for the railroads, with hundreds of trains each day. All of which was making Springfield an agricultural and industrial hub. In 1874, women were admitted, and, the following year, blacks were also admitted. The name came from Wittenberg University, located in Wittenberg, Germany, the town where Martin Luther posted his 95 theses. Wittenberg University's Guest House Hamma Divinity School Rev. Luther Alexander Gotwald, D.D. (1833�1900), Professor of Theology in the Hamma Divinity School was famously tried for and unanimously acquitted of heresy by the Board of Directors at Wittenberg on April 4 and April 5, 1893, which put on trial many key issues that Lutherans still debate today. Presidents of Wittenberg Ezra Keller (1844�1848) Samuel Sprecher (1849�1874) John B. Helwig (1874�1882) Samuel Alfred Ort (1882�1900) John M. Ruthrauff (1900�1902) Charles G. Heckert (1903�1920) Rees Edgar Tulloss (1920�1949) Clarence Charles Stoughton (1949�1963) John Nissley Stauffer (1963�1968) G. Kenneth Andeen (1969�1974) William A. Kinnison (1974�1995) Baird Tipson (1995�2004) William H. Steinbrink (Interim President) Mark H. Erickson (2005�2012) Laurie M. Joyner (2012�present) On May 27, 2011, in an official University press-release, it was announced that President Mark H. Erickson would be stepping down at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, allowing "the university�s Board of Directors the appropriate amount of time to conduct a national search for Wittenberg's next president". Dr. Laurie M. Joyner was named as the university's 14th president effective July 1, 2012. She will become its first female president.

College Specialty


Wittenberg University provides a liberal arts education dedicated to intellectual inquiry and wholeness of person within a diverse residential community. Reflecting its Lutheran heritage, Wittenberg challenges students to become responsible global citizens, to discover their callings, and to lead personal, professional, and civic lives of creativity, service, compassion, and integrity.



Brian Agler, basketball coach, currently the head coach of WNBA's Seattle Storm Sherwood Anderson, writer Mark A. Boyer, Ph.D. 1988, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut Jennette Bradley, former Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and Ohio State Treasurer John Chowning, American musician, inventor and professor Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders NFL franchise ***attended Wittenberg University but graduated from Syracuse University 1950 Lloyd C. Douglas, minister and author. Sandy Dukat, an American athlete Isaac Kaufmann Funk, editor, lexicographer, publisher; founder of Funk & Wagnalls Company publishing firm Benjamin Thurman Hacker (1935�2003), U.S. Navy Officer, first Naval Flight Officer to achieve flag rank Elwood V. Jensen, scientist David Ward King, inventor of the King Road Drag Ron Lancaster, Famed CFL quarterback Pierre Lhomme, Renowned French cinematographer Ronald Fook Shiu Li, Founder of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Douglas E. Lumpkin, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Robert J. Marshall, President of the Lutheran Church of America. William C. Martin, University of Michigan Athletic Director, 2000�2009; founder of First Martin Corp.; former director with the United States Olympic Committee John F. Meier, Chairman & CEO of Libbey, Inc. John E. McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, senior fellow at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and Brookings Institution. John Warwick Montgomery, American lawyer, professor, theologian and academic known for his work in the field of Christian Apologetics. (M.Div., 1958) Waldo Nelson, pediatrician and author of the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics Charlie Painter, USPTA, College and High School Tennis Coach with 660 career victories and the Winingest Coach at Wright State University A. John Pelander, Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court Sandra Postel, Founder and Director of the Global Water Policy Project, Fellow of the National Geographic Society, Environmentalist and Author. Jere Ratcliffe, Chief Scout Executive of Boy Scouts of America, from 1993 to 2000. Hugh M. Raup, American botanist and ecologist Robert Bruce Raup, philosopher and writer James Rebhorn, actor Matt Shay, CEO of National Retail Federation Thomas D. Shepard, Los Angeles City Council member, 1961�67 Sheila Simon, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Linda Gillespie Stuntz, Served as Deputy Secretary for US Dept of Energy B. V. Subbamma, Theologian from India Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Sr., American lawyer who wrote the "flying machine" patent application that resulted in the patent granted to the Wright Brothers in 1906 Adam Willis Wagnalls, Funk & Wagnalls Company co-founder Walter L. Weaver, U.S. Representative from Ohio Karl Weick, organizational theorist at the University of Michigan Charles R. Williamson, Retired Chairman & CEO of Unocal Corp. Jennifer Vanderpool, visual artist. Barry Zulauf, Former Director, College for the Advancement of National Intelligence, Director of Policy and Plans, Chief Human Capital Office Office of the Director of National Intelligence ODNI, Since 2012 serving as ODNI Chair, National Intelligence University



Small city, 114 acres (46�ha)