Urbana University

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Urbana University
Urbana University Student Center.jpg
Urbana University Student Center
Parent institution
Franklin University
Location, ,
United States

40°06′02″N 83°45′36″W / 40.1005556°N 83.76°W / 40.1005556; -83.76Coordinates: 40°06′02″N 83°45′36″W / 40.1005556°N 83.76°W / 40.1005556; -83.76
Campus128 acres (0.52 km2)
ColorsBlue   and   White
Athletics14 varsity teams
NicknameBlue Knights
Sporting affiliations
Division II
MascotKnitro the Blue Knight

Urbana University was a private university specializing in liberal arts education and located in Urbana, Ohio. In its final few years, it was purchased by Franklin University and was a branch campus of that university.


Urbana University was founded in 1850 by followers of the 18th century Swedish philosopher and scientist, Emanuel Swedenborg. The university was the second institution of higher learning in Ohio to admit women; the first was Oberlin College. The groundwork for the founding of the university was in part laid by John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, who became the inspiration for the Johnny Appleseed Museum founded for his extraordinary history. While more famous for spreading apple seeds throughout the East, Chapman was also a Swedenborgian missionary and helped spread this faith among the early settlers around Urbana.[1] Chapman encouraged his friend and fellow Swedenborgian, John Hough James, to donate the land on which Urbana University was built.[1] To this day, the University maintains an informal relationship with the Swedenborgian General Convention of the Church of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America.[1] The university is also home to the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center & Museum to honor John Chapman.[2]

Classes for elementary and secondary students under the name Urbana Seminary began in the fall of 1850 in a rented room in a building in downtown Urbana.[1] College level classes were first held in the fall of 1854, following the construction of Bailey Hall, the first building on the campus.[1] Less than 10 years after the college opened it suspended operations from 1861 to 1866 during the Civil War.[1] The college experienced a number of changes in the early 20th century when the college's curriculum was shortened to a two-year junior college format in 1907.[1] The school later shut down the primary school in 1911; and the secondary school was closed in 1928.[1]

Urbana operated as a two-year college until 1968, when it returned curriculum to a four-year format.[1] In 1975, Urbana was granted full membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.[1] In 1985, the institution changed its name from Urbana College to Urbana University.[1] Until 2014, in addition to having been a traditional liberal arts college, Urbana University's School of Adult and Graduate Education offered associate degree and Bachelor of Science degree completion programs in Business Management, Education, Criminal Justice Leadership, Human Services Leadership, and many more. In addition to these programs, Master's programs were available in Business Administration, Education, Nursing, and Criminal Justice. Classes met on the Urbana University main campus, and at several off-campus locations throughout Western Ohio. These locations were in Bellefontaine, Dayton, Kettering, Marysville, Piqua, and Springfield.[3]

In 2014, the university was purchased by Franklin University after undergoing significant budget shortfalls.[4] Under the agreement, Urbana would retain its name, and act as a physical campus for both Urbana and Franklin students.[4] On August 1, 2017, Franklin University received approval for its change of status application by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to bring Urbana University under Franklin's accreditation as a "branch campus." The campus closed in 2020, transferring records to Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Urbana cited the coronavirus pandemic and declining enrollment.[5]


Bailey and Barclay Halls
Bailey and Barclay Halls are two of the oldest buildings on the Urbana University campus.

The 128-acre (51.8 ha) main campus was located on the southwest side of Urbana in west central Ohio. Its buildings ranged from historic 19th-century buildings styled in traditional architecture to modern structures. Bailey Hall, Oak Hall, and Barclay Hall are the three oldest buildings on the campus. All three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6] The university had undergone various changes in the early 21st century with the construction of Sycamore Hall in 2004, the Urbana University Stadium,[7] the Student Center in 2006,McConnell Hall in 2007, and Ross Hall in 2019.[8]


Urbana University offered 28 undergraduate majors and Graduate programs in Nursing (MSN), Education (MEd), Business Administration (MBA), Criminal Justice Administration (MA), and a Post-Baccalaureate in Teacher Licensure[9]


Urbana's athletic teams were known as the Blue Knights, the colors were blue and white. The school sponsored 21 intercollegiate teams. The university was a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level. Urbana was an independent member of Division II, after completing the transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and member of the American Mideast Conference (AMC) to NCAA in 2010.[10] In 2010, the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) had accepted Urbana as associate member of the GLVC in football only starting with the 2012 season.[11]

In 2011, the university and five other schools, many also transitioning to the NCAA from NAIA, had announced their intentions to form the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) in 2013.[12] The G-MAC ultimately launched a year earlier than planned, in 2012, with Urbana as a member. The school spent only one season in the G-MAC; on August 20, 2012, Urbana was unveiled as a charter member of the Mountain East Conference (MEC), a new Division II conference set to launch for the 2013–14 school year.[13] The MEC is mostly made up of schools leaving the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but also includes another Ohio school in Notre Dame College.[13]

Urbana University also offered club sport programs in shooting sports, bowling, and cheerleading.

Student life[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

Urbana University had several recognized student organizations including leadership groups such as Student Government Association, Campus Activities Board, and Student Athlete Advisory Committee. There were organizations with special interest topics around politics, disc golf, and cancer awareness; and there were academic groups for history students and students interested in social sciences.

Residence life[edit]

There were six residence halls on campus (South, East, Francis E. Hazard, McConnell, Sycamore, and Ross halls). Urbana's residence halls emphasized civic responsibility, mutual respect, mature interpersonal relationships, multicultural understanding, and community engagement. Students living on campus forged friendships to last a lifetime while learning about different cultures, backgrounds and ideas, gaining an understanding of being part of a community, and developing their leadership skills. Residential living provides students with life skills that were transferable to careers and other aspects of independent living after graduation. Advice and guidance are available from trained upperclass student resident assistants and professional resident hall directors, as well as an Area Coordinator. Resident assistants lived on each floor of each residence hall and served as a resource for students dealing with any type of issue. The University's Student Conduct programs were recognized as Ohio's most innovative Student Affairs program in 2014 by the Ohio College Personnel Association.[14]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "History of Urbana University". Urbana University. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  2. ^ "National Apple Museum". Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Off Campus Site Locations, Urbana University
  4. ^ a b Binkley, Collin (April 30, 2014). "Franklin University buys financially troubled Urbana University". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Urbana University to Close Physical Campus and Move Academic Programming Online through Franklin University After Conclusion of Spring 2020 Term | Urbana University". www.urbana.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "New Field Stadium for Urbana University". The Motz Group. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Residence Halls". Urbana University. Archived from the original on May 1, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "Academics". Urbana University. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  10. ^ Staff (July 9, 2010). "NCAA grants Urbana University full membership". Urbana Daily Citizen. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  11. ^ Billing, Greg (October 7, 2010). "Central State, Urbana football join GLVC". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  12. ^ Jablonski, David (October 17, 2011). "Urbana, Cedarville join Great Midwest Athletic Conference". Springfield News-Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-06-05. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Rine, Shawn (August 20, 2012). "Cards, Toppers Set To Jump into New League". The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register. Wheeling, WV. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "Ohio College Personnel Association - Awards". Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  15. ^ "Justin Edwards UFC Bio". Retrieved December 15, 2016.

External links[edit]