Ohio University History
On March 1, 1803, Ohio became the nation's 17th state. Less than a year later, on February 18, 1804, the Ohio General Assembly approved Ohio University's charter.
Ohio University is the realization of the Jeffersonian ideals of educating broadly and cultivating minds and ideas so that people can reason out their differences. In 1786 a group of veterans petitioned Congress to purchase, through the Ohio Company of Associates, 1.5 million acres north and west of the Ohio River. Revenue from two townships in the Ohio Company purchase was set aside for support of a university. Officially established in 1804, the University opened in 1808 with three students. In 1815, Ohio University awarded its first two bachelor's degrees. By the end of the Civil War, the University had graduated a total of 145 students. By 1920, the student population was 1,072, but it was not until after World War II that the University began to approach its present size.
In the 1950s, the student population grew from 4,600 to 8,000, and the 1960s saw enrollment burgeon from about 10,000 to some 18,000 students on the Athens campus. Today, the Athens campus comprises more than 200 buildings on 1,800 acres, including state-of-the-art facilities featuring the latest in educational technology. Reinforcing the University's ongoing commitment to diversity, the Athens campus serves approximately 20,000 students hailing from all 50 states and approximately 100 nations. The University's service as a major educational and cultural institution in southeastern Ohio includes regional campuses in Chillicothe, Ironton, Lancaster, St. Clairsville, and Zanesville. These regional campuses collectively enroll about 8,500 students, making the full-time, part-time, and continuing education enrollment for Ohio University nearly 29,000.