Defiance College's History

See also: Defiance College's Mission, Values, & Strategies

The common threads that run through today's Defiance College - academics based in the liberal arts, preparation for successful careers, a sensitivity to the world and its diverse cultures, and a commitment to service - all have more than a century of tradition.

Chartered in 1850 by the state legislature as the Defiance Female Seminary, trustees sold canal lands granted to them to start a college. By the mid-1880s, the doors of Defiance Hall were opened to the first students.

In 1902, the Christian church assumed leadership of the College and changed its name to The Defiance College. The next two decades were years of significant growth of the campus and student body, and it was during this period that the College's mission of service to humanity took root. The College carried on through the external forces of two world wars, and, after World War II, saw the arrival of many veterans earning their college education through the GI Bill. Numerous programs were revived and expended, and the physical campus grew with construction of several buildings.

In 1967, the Schauffler College of Cleveland and Oberlin merged with Defiance College with a focus on social work and religious education studies.

In August 2020, Defiance College launched Jacket Journey, a readiness program designed to prepare students for careers or graduate school by ensuring they can articulate their knowledge, skills, and dispositions for success in their careers. Originally conceptualized by Defiance College's 19th President, Jacket Journey is designed to address key problems facing higher education and the 21st century workforce. Jacket Journey, housed in the Institute for Career Readiness and Lifelong Learning, is a unique learning opportunity that is a required, four-year program with one academic credit hour for each of those four years.

Throughout its history, Defiance College maintains its commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

AFFILIATION: Defiance College has been affiliated with the Christian Church, now United Church of Christ, since 1902.


You can view more than 4,500 documents about Defiance College history on the DC Memory website.