Xavier: a brief history

By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~

Xavier University has come a long way from its original found­ing in 1831 as an exclusively male college to where it is today.

Xavier is the fourth-oldest Jesuit university and the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the country.

At its founding, Xavier was located on Sycamore Street in downtown Cincinnati, near St. Francis Xavier Church which is still standing today. The col­lege was originally called the Athenaeum and was dedicated by Bishop Edward Fenwick, the namesake for one of the dorms on today’s campus.

The Athenaeum was only in existence until 1840, when the name was changed to St. Xavier College when the Society of Jesus, more commonly called the Jesuits, took control.

St. Xavier College held its loca­tion on Sycamore Street for about 72 years, moving to its current loca­tion in 1912. The new campus sat on 26 acres and became a seminary for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

It was known as St. Xavier College until 1930, when the Board of Trustees proposed a name change and the school claimed the title still held today: Xavier University.

The university established a graduate division beginning in 1946. There were courses in chemistry, classical languages, ed­ucation, English and math.

Prior to the 1960s, Xavier did not admit women to what was called the “day program,” which is closely related to the undergradu­ate program.

It was not until 1969 that Xavier became fully coeducation­al and the first female students were admitted. When Edgecliff College, originally a women’s col­lege and separate entity, began having financial trouble, it merged with Xavier in 1980.

Along with the student de­mographic, the campus itself has changed over the course of Xavier’s history. Growing from its origi­nal downtown location to its new campus of 26 acres, the campus ex­panded to a full 190 acres in 2010.

After many years of being an exclusively commuter campus, the university became a boarding col­lege in 1924 when Elet Hall be­came the school’s first dormitory. The first resident hall boarded 90 students, and the student popula­tion increased to 249 total students.

Xavier officially adopted its mascot, the Musketeer, in 1925 when the campus newspaper, then known as “The Xaverian News,” held a contest. The newspaper took suggestions for potential mascots.

The Musketeers, along with the motto “All for One and One for All,” were proposed by Francis J. Finn, S.J. They were chosen as a symbol for the athletic teams.

The D’Artagnan statue, which is still standing in front of the Cintas Center, was erected in 1962, when students wanted the Musketeer to be much more vis­ible around campus.

Xavier uniquely has a secondary mascot, fondly known as “the Blue Blob.” The mascot was designed in 1985 when administrators real­ized that D’Artagnan scared small children.

Today, Xavier continues to ex­pand, adding new buildings, such as Bishop Fenwick Place which opened its doors in 2011. The university now has nearly 6,300 students and has 90 majors and 20 graduate programs.

It has earned honors for having the highest graduation rate in the Midwest and was recognized as number four in the top 10 univer­sities in the Midwest by the 2014 U.S. News and World Report.