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Lombard College Timeline


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Galesburg, IL 61401



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Blossoming trees around campus.


Lombard College


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

Illinois Liberal Institute opens with 60 students.

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

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.

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.

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

First Honorary Ph.D. is awarded at Commencement.

Enrollment drops to 18 students.

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.

Records show only three college grade students enrolled at Lombard.

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

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

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

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

Lombard Hall ladies dormitory is completed.

A gymnasium is constructed for both gym and oratorical facilities.

The first record of organized sports appears in university publications.

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

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

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.

Tompkins Science Hall is completed.

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

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

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.

The last living alumnus of record of Lombard College, Ray Truedson, died at the age of 104 on Monday, November 10, bringing to a close an important chapter in the Knox and Lombard College histories.

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024