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  • BW Baldwin Wallace College


History of Baldwin Wallace University


John Baldwin, founder, Baldwin Wallace College

When founded in 1845, Baldwin Wallace University was one of the first colleges in Ohio to admit students without regard to race or gender. That spirit of inclusiveness has flourished and evolved into a personalized approach to education: one that stresses individual growth as students learn to learn, respond to new ideas, adapt to new situations and prepare for the certainty of change.

Founder John Baldwin would have been pleased to watch the institution he founded grow and develop, be strengthened through a merger with neighboring German Wallace College in 1913, and assume its position of prominence while serving the people of the region. From its beginning, Baldwin Wallace University has been marked by an unswerving commitment to provide quality education for all people, regardless of station.

The College maintains 27 academic departments leading to a bachelor’s degree. In addition to on-campus study, students also have the opportunity to broaden their horizons through a number of off-campus study programs. To assist students in evaluating their interests, abilities and career goals, BW provides programs for skill assessment, career counseling, co-operative education/field experience, interviewing and job placement. The liberal arts remain at the center of the academic program, but they are augmented by opportunities to explore career options and develop professional skills. And, in our current world of rapid and dramatic changes, Baldwin Wallace is committed to responding to changing competitive environments and financial challenges as well as rapidly expanding technology to keep the College a vital institution.

Couples during the 1890's rendezvoused along the Rocky River at a favorite place called "The Rocks"

Still, the roots that have grounded us through our history remain today. These include:

  • An intellectual community composed of a dedicated faculty and staff and a student body truly interested in learning;
  • A recognition of individual differences among students, and a commitment to provide educational programs that address individual student needs;
  • A belief in the liberal arts as the most effective basis for career preparation and the best means of instilling values that lead to rich and productive lives;
  • A long-standing, active affiliation with the United Methodist Church and support of its values;
  • A spirit of community - of respect and concern for individuals - which makes the institution an exciting and rewarding place to learn, to teach and to work;
  • A dedication to learning as a lifelong process, and one that contributes to the well being of the world.

Our reputation as one of the most respected independent colleges in Ohio has led to consistent growth over the past decade and near-capacity enrollment of traditional-aged undergraduate day students, which currently number 2,900. The student profile shows that 30 percent of incoming freshmen come from the top 10 percent of their high school classes with more than 60 percent in the top quarter.

Since the 1980s, the College has added 350 beds to provide for the growing number of students who live on campus. This fall, a new residence hall, the Willard and Donna Carmel Living and Learning Center, will add 134 new living spaces. Cohorts of students will not only live there but also learn together as they explore issues of mutual concern under the direction of faculty members. A project to wire all campus facilities, including residence halls, for computer access has been completed within the last year.

Laboratory Class on the second floor of Carnegie Science Building in the 1920's

The new Malicky Social Sciences Center was completed in January, 2001. The center includes the renovated Philura Baldwin Library and Carnegie Hall, as well as a brand new connecting building designed by van Dijk, Pace, Westlake Partners.

In addition to the traditional-aged college student, Baldwin Wallace has helped adult learners for nearly half a century to develop skills, redirect careers and enhance lives. Today, 1,000 adult learners of all ages participate in evening and weekend classes, in a variety of programs designed to accommodate the varying learning styles and schedules of the adult learner.

Six hundred students participate in master’s programs in business and education. In addition to the Master of Business Administration, Executive MBA and International MBA, the College recently added a Healthcare MBA to meet the growing educational needs of healthcare professionals throughout the region.

At the heart of the Baldwin Wallace learning environment are 166 full-time faculty members, a remarkably diverse group of scholars, nearly 80 percent of who hold a doctorate or other terminal degree. The part-time faculty includes area business executives and professionals in many fields, who serve as role models while teaching courses in their areas of expertise.

Overseeing a $74 million operating budget and a $120 million endowment (up from $15 million in 1981) is the Board of Trustees, a distinguished group of business and civic leaders from the Greater Cleveland area and around the country. Baldwin Wallace combines its commitment to academic excellence with an individualized approach to learning that permits students to achieve at levels they never thought possible. We refer to this as "Quality Education With A Personal Touch." But, that is more than a slogan. We believe it is a statement of purpose. It’s who we are. It works!