A Tradition of Philanthropy

Buchtel College in 1872

The newly built Buchtel College is seen here in 1872. In the driver's seat of the carriage on the far left is John R. Buchtel. The building would stand for 27 years, until destroyed by fire in 1899.

July 4, 1871, was a day the city of Akron swelled with pride and visitors. By 11:00 in the morning, more than 5,000 had stepped off the trains at the depot on Mill Street and were finding their way along routes already thronged with thousands of locals.

A procession of bands and marchers set forth at 2:00 p.m. from the city's central business district on Howard Street to Middlebury, now Buchtel Common. There, near the city's edge, the great crowd settled in for what witnesses would later describe as the grandest celebration in all the city's 45 years — the cornerstone-laying ceremony for Buchtel College.

The celebration and all its formalities ensued. Afterward, as nightfall approached, the celebration moved to the home of John R. Buchtel, the farm machinery industrialist whose financial support had brought the college to Akron. Urged to speak, Buchtel expanded on his conviction that education should be made available for all and declared that Akron would have a college that was "first class" in every respect.

The story of giving at The University of Akron is a story with pages added each day — pages written by those who believe in the strength and mission of this great institution and the community it serves. The story's authors are often those who give at levels beyond all expectation, driven by their desire to make an impact on the future of this University. Their faith and generosity will always be remembered.