Info For
Skip to Content
Old book with Taylor Seal and Mace

History of Taylor University

Taylor University was established in 1846 as Fort Wayne Female College by the North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Because of our original vision, many Taylor women like Alice Hamilton and Olive May Draper have gone on to do wonderful things for God and His kingdom.

Additionally, one of the most influential people at Taylor was a beaten-down young African man with no money in his pockets, just a heart to serve the Lord. God still uses the story and soul of Samuel Morris to bring many to Taylor seeking the same blessing, purpose, and call.

The list goes on from Samuel to our namesake, Bishop William Taylor, a Methodist Episcopal missionary whose nearly 60 ocean voyages in the second half of the 1800s earned him the nickname, "The St. Paul of the 19th Century." And then to Thaddeus Reade, whose dedication led to the sustaining of Taylor University through financial difficulty and the move to Upland; to Harold Ockenga, a man whose faith and influence led to his involvement with the launch of both Fuller and Gordon-Conwell Seminaries, and who served as a mentor to Billy Graham.

And let’s not forget Milo Rediger, who served as a mentor to many during his tenure at Taylor, as well as Don Odle, whose life-changing encounter with Jesus at Taylor led a successful coaching career with the Trojans and also the launch of Venture for Victory—the first sports evangelism outreach effort.

There are many more instrumental people who have shaped the vision and mission of Taylor University throughout the last 165 years. But one thing binds all these Taylor heroes—their heart for God, their urgent pursuit to proclaim the word of God in an atmosphere of faith and learning, and their humble approach to serving those whom God placed in their path.

But our history doesn’t end with these heroes. Today our website holds many stories about current alumni, students, staff and faculty who are serving each other and the global community. Through war, depression, recession and tragedy, Taylor University has continued to serve God, our community and our world.