Local History, Every day

Page added 8-16-15.

Primary Document 1 Ohio Historical Marker. Photo taken 10/29/11.

Primary Documents:

- Ohio Historical Marker:

John Carroll University Founded in 1886
John Carroll University opened its doors as Saint Ignatius College on September 6, 1886. Originally located on Cleveland’s West Side, the College was founded at the request of Bishop Richard Gilmour by German members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits, founded in 1540). In 1923, the College was renamed John Carroll University after America’s first bishop. In 1925, the University acquired land in Idlewood Village (now University Heights) and initiated construction of a new campus in 1931. Classes began there in 1935 with 456 students. The institution admitted laywomen to evening and graduate classes in the 1930s and officially became coeducational in 1968. The University’s Jesuit Catholic mission inspires individuals to excel in learning, leadership, and service, both regionally and worldwide. John Carroll University is one of 28 Jesuit institutions of higher learning in the United States.
John Carroll University [and] The Ohio Historical Society 2011 104-18.

Figure 13 Sundown over campus, from Wasmer Field. Photo taken 9/28/13.

Throughout its history, John Carroll University has committed itself to educating the young people of the world. With its humble beginnings on the west side of Cleveland, as St. Ignatius College, to its ever-expanding east side campus, John Carroll has provided an excellent educational foundation during a tremulous century filled with world wars, social upheavals, economic downturns, and rapid evolutions in education and technology. It is clear that John Carroll University is primed to continue to provide the same foundation for more centuries to come.

Figure 12 St. Ignatius statue on campus. Photo taken 10/25/11.

For over twenty consecutive years, John Carroll has been ranked among the top ten Midwestern universities in US News and World Report’s annual listings for schools with master’s degrees. It has received similar accolades in other publications, including the Princeton Review.[20] In 1998, President Bill Clinton visited the school. More buildings were built: Sutowski Hall (1978), Millor Hall (1981), Hamlin Hall (1988), Saint Francis Chapel (1987), Campion Hall (1990), the O’Malley Center (1994), Schell House (1997) and Dolan Center for Science and Technology (2003), among others. In 2011-2012, the school celebrated its 125th anniversary. An Ohio Historical Marker was placed outside of the library (the marker can be seen at the bottom of this article). Additionally, the John Carroll North Quad Historic District, a historic district, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Figure 11 Dolan Center for Science and Technology. Photo taken 10/22/11.

Campus Ministry was founded in 1971 by former university president Rev. Joseph O. Schell, SJ.[18] In April 1978, Mother Teresa received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Service from the university, demonstrating the school’s commitment to Catholic ideology and social service.[19] In 1986, the school celebrated its centennial celebration. In honor of its one-hundred year anniversary, the school dedicated a bust of Archbishop John Carroll, which can still be found on the main quad near the Administration Building and O’Malley Center. The next three decades brought renewed recognition and prosperity for the university. The campus continued to enlarge, class enrollment rose, and student demographics expanded as non-traditionally represented groups increased as the university’s mission continued to grow.

Figure 10 Murphy Hall. Photo taken 12/12/12.

In the decades following the war, John Carroll expanded and its enrollment grew. For instance, the Graduate School was established in 1956. In addition to its already existing buildings like the Administration Building, Rodman Hall, and Bernet Hall, newer structures were built, including Pacelli Hall (1952), Dolan Hall (1955), Murphy Hall (1963), the Grasselli Library (1961), and the Bohannon Science Center (1967). Female teachers were hired and lay faculty began to outnumber Jesuits. While women could take courses at the school for decades, it was not until 1968 when women were accepted as full-time undergraduates. The 1960s and early 1970s were just as rebellious for students at John Carroll as across the rest of the nation. After the deaths of four students at Kent State University, John Carroll closed the school before final examinations.

Figure 9 View of University Heights from Dolan Science Center. Photo taken 11/20/12.

John Carroll has always had a strong relationship with the military. School attendance during both World Wars dropped as it became harder for families to pay tuition and young men went off to war. During the First World War, students participated in drill teams and sold war bonds. During World War II, the government instituted a Navy V-12 officer training program on campus that helped to sustain the university’s enrollment. Cleveland’s first casualty of the Second World War was William L. Halloran, a John Carroll man and Navy volunteer who was killed at Pearl Harbor. After the war, the GI Bill helped returning veterans obtain degrees from the school. An increase in enrollment and general prosperity around campus in the post war period led to the expansion and construction of newer buildings.[17] The school’s military legacy continues to this day with its active Army ROTC program, which first arrived on campus in 1950.

Figure 8 Rodman Chapel, named after Rev. Benedict Rodman. Photo taken 12/12/12.

In 1930, the land was cleared for construction.[14] A year later in April 1931, building of the eastern campus officially began. The Great Depression, however, prevented immediate prosperity for the university. The school’s Jesuit leaders struggled to keep construction going as pledges withered and loans became harder to obtain. Donald Gavin writes that “There seemed little hope of immediate improvement in the general economic condition of the country and the city, and little promise of any future rapid recovery.”[15] By 1932, construction on the campus was completely halted. Rev. Benedict Rodman, S.J. was instrumental in raising funds and keeping the school afloat. When the university finally opened in 1935, only half of the campus was completed.[16]

Figure 7 The Administration Building, finished in 1935. Photo taken 2/26/12.

The move to the east side was partially pushed by the Van Sweringen Brothers.[9] The Jesuits bought land, “Wain Farm,” in a quiet and sparse eastern suburb called Idlewood Village. Two years later, in 1925, the village changed its name to University Heights in honor of the move.[10] Idlewood Village, a mostly rural area, was chosen after a fallout with the Van Sweringen brothers regarding access rights and building restrictions in Shaker Heights.[11] St. Ignatius High School remained in Ohio City where it still educates young men today. When the John Carroll University North Quad Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012, one of the primary reasons for doing so was for “its role in community development.”[12] In 1923, the population of the village was 500. By 1940, its population had skyrocketed to 5,900.[13] As John Carroll prospered and expanded, so did University Heights.

Figure 6 The Quad, the heart of the University Heights campus. Photo taken 8/22/13.

As the twentieth century marched on, Clevelanders began to move from the west side to the more affluent east side. The growing schools, while administratively separated, continued to share the same buildings on the Ohio City campus. In 1923, the same year St. Ignatius College changed its name to John Carroll University, the Jesuits received permission from Bishop Joseph Schrembs to move east.

Figure 5 The entrance sign of John Carroll University. Photo taken 12/10/11.

It was not until 1902 that the school was split into two distinct institutions: St. Ignatius High School and St. Ignatius College.[7] In the early 1920s, St. Ignatius College continued to increase its resemblance to its other American colleagues. In 1923, the school officially became a university and, after a brief four-month stint as “Cleveland University,” the school was renamed John Carroll University in honor of the first Catholic archbishop in the United States.[8]

Figure 4 Statue of John Carroll on the university's campus. Photo taken 10/29/11.

The initial school was based on the European standard of Ratio Studiorum which, as Donald Gavin states, “did not differentiate between high school and college levels.”[4] This type of educational organization contrasts starkly with the American system we know today - the "high school" and "college" portions were under the same name: St. Ignatius College. This European style system would eventually change, especially after World War I when pushes for Americanization became stronger. The school’s curriculum included many classical subjects, such as history, Latin, Greek, German, English, French, philosophy, chemistry, mathematics, geography, elocution, writing, poetry, and commercial business.[5] Most of the early students were the children of Irish and German immigrants.[6]

Figure 3 "St. Ignatius College" can still be seen above the doors at St. Ignatius H.S.

Photo taken 8/8/15.

The school was originally founded as St. Ignatius College by German Jesuits on the west side of Cleveland. These Jesuits were expelled from Germany during Otto von Bismarck’s “Kulturkampf,” the series of policies enacted to diminish or destroy the Catholic Church in his empire. Fleeing Germany, the Jesuits settled in Buffalo and created the Buffalo Mission to serve its German population. It is from there that John Carroll University’s story begins, as these Jesuits decided to found a European styled school on the shores of Lake Erie.[2] Leaders within the Diocese of Cleveland had attempted previously to establish a Catholic college in the city and now that dream could finally come true. Cleveland Bishop Richard Gilmour invited the Jesuits to manage a parish and build a college in the city. The Buffalo Jesuits accepted the offer.[3]

Figure 2 The 1891 Main Building at St. Ignatius. Photo taken 12/3/11.

[1] Gavin, Donald P. John Carroll University: A Century of Service. Kent, OH: Kent State UP, 1985. Print. Preface, p. ix.

[2] Ibid., Preface, p. ix.
[3] Ibid., p. 1, 4.

[4] Ibid., Preface, p. ix.
[5] Morton, Marian J. John Carroll University. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2013. Print. p. 20.
[6] Ibid., p. 18.

[7] Murphy, Elizabeth Corbin. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Dec. 2012. John Carroll University North Quad Historic District. Obtained through request by the National Park Service. PDF. p. 4; Morton, p. 9.
[8] Morton, p. 27.

[9] Murphy, p. 15.
[10] Morton, p. 27.
[11] Murphy, p. 15.
[12] Ibid., p. 4.
[13] Ibid., p. 15.

[14] Murphy, p. 1.
[15] Gavin, p. 277.
[16] Morton, p. 47.

[17] Ibid., p. 38, 47, 61.

[18] Ibid., p. 95.
[19] Ibid., p. 81.

University Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. 1 John Carroll Blvd.
John Carroll University, originally named St. Ignatius College, was founded in 1886. It is named after John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in the United States. At the time of its founding, the school was the nineteenth Jesuit university or college in the country.[1]

Figure 1 Administration Building at night. Photo taken 10/22/11.

A Short History of John Carroll University