PrintShareE-Mail This Page

A Timeline of Lombard College

1851-1930

Lombard College

1851

Illinois Liberal Institute is issued a charter in January by the Illinois General Assembly.

1852
Illinois Liberal Institute opens with 60 students.

1855
Illinois Liberal Institute burns to the ground on April 17 -- classes continue in the Lutheran Church.

1856
Institute graduates first class of four men and two women. A new building is started with a gift from Benjamin Lombard of Henry, Illinois. The Institute charter changes the name to Lombard University.

1865
Lombard charter is revised to obtain tax-exempt status. Lombard dissolves board of stockholders and establishes a board of trustees elected by the Universalist Churches. Lombard becomes a church supported university.

1871
First student boarding house is completed. It is privately owned.

1875
First Honorary Ph.D is awarded at Commencement

1877
Enrollment drops to 18 students.

1881
Dr. W.H. Ryder establishes a school of divinity with an endowment of $20,000. Tuition is free.

Boarding hall for women is built by the University.

1884
Records show only three college grade students enrolled at Lombard.

1890
With additional gifts from Dr. Ryder and others, the theology department is named Ryder Divinity School.

1891
First LL.D. honorary degree is awarded at Commencement.

1893
Alpha Xi Delta women's fraternity is originated at Lombard.

1894
Street cars from downtown Galesburg begin running to the edge of campus.

1896
Lombard Hall ladies dormitory is completed.

1897
A gymnasium is constructed for both gym and oratorical facilities.

1899
The first record of organized sports appears in university publications.

1900
The name of the Lombard University is changed to Lombard College.

1907
A small group of Lombard faculty discussed the possibility of uniting with Knox.

1912
A meeting in Chicago, attended by trustees from both Lombard and Knox, voted unanimously to unite the two colleges. The union was never accomplished.

Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Xi Delta bungalows are completed on campus.

A new gym was built; the old one was remodeled into Alumni Hall.

Ryder Divinity School transferred to Chicago and was affiliated with the University of Chicago divinity schools.

1922
Tompkins Science Hall is completed.

1924
Enrollment grows to more than 500 in all the Lombard branches.

1928
Ryder House is sold to University of Chicago, and the charter was transferred to Meadville Theological School in Chicago.

1930
Serious financial concerns due to loss of endowment income, deficit financing over the years, failure of the Universalist and Unitarian churches, and the stock market crash force the college to cease operation.

Lombard College graduates its last class in the spring of 1930, after 79 years of operation.

Students who did not have enough credits to graduate were invited to transfer to Knox ,without loss of academic standing, to finish their education. Knox honored the cost of Lombard's tuition.

All academic records were housed at Knox, and all Lombard alumni were invited to become part of the Knox College Alumni Association. Lombard traditions and the Lombard bell are preserved at Knox.

The Lombard College charter is still legally held by the Meadville Theological Seminary in Chicago. The College is now called the Meadville Lombard Theological School.