Antioch University was established in 1852 in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
From the start, it has worked to live up to its founding principles of equity and social justice. Originally serving solely undergraduates, until 1978 it was known as Antioch College.
Antioch was notable at its founding for offering education to women on an equal level as men—and for being the first university in the U.S. to pay female professors the same as their male counterparts.
In this 1861 photo of the freshman class, several women are wearing Bloomers, the progressive dress that didn’t restrict movement.
Antioch University’s founding president was the “father of American public education,” Horace Mann.
In his final Antioch commencement address, he said, “I beseech you to treasure up in your hearts, these my parting words. Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
The central Antioch Hall was completed in 1853.
Birch Hall, a cubist dormitory designed by Eero Saarinen, was completed in 1948.
In one of many sit-ins at the Yellow Springs barbershop belonging to Lewis Gegner (left), Rozelle “Prexy” Nesbitt ’67 (College, BA) waits for a haircut that he will not receive.
The racist policies at Gegner’s barbershop instigated many protests, pickets, and court cases between April 1963 and the day these photos were taken, March 14, 1964. In one demonstration, former Antioch President Arthur Morgan (by then 82 years old) led over 500 protestors to the segregated business.
On the day these photos were taken, a group of Freedom Riders back from actions in the South led over 200 demonstrators to the picket line, where they were met by heavily armed police. When the police asked them to disperse, the protesters locked arms.
Ultimately, police used fire hoses and tear gas bombs, arresting 108. Of those arrested, 41 were Antiochians. After that day, the barber sold his shop to a new owner, who would cut anyone’s hair.
Martin Luther King addresses graduates at Antioch’s 1967 commencement, telling them that “Democracy can only be extended insofar as social justice exists and is being vigorously pursued.”
After his address, King is joined by his wife, Coretta Scott King ’51 (Antioch College, BA), and former Antioch President Arthur Morgan.
Morgan was Antioch University’s president from 1920-1936. He is best known at Antioch for creating the first cooperative educational model for undergraduate education in the U.S.
This influential innovation had students leave campus to study through work and other engagements with the wider world before returning to reflect on and integrate their learning in the university setting.
Morgan was a civil engineer, and he left Antioch’s presidency at the request of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who tapped him to be chairman of the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a key part of the New Deal. In retirement, he returned to Yellow Springs and continued to support and be involved with Antioch.