University Founder Ovid Butler

By , February 3, 2015 8:12 am

University Founder Ovid Butler

How much do you know about Founder’s Day at Butler? Without this man, Ovid Butler, there would be no Butler University today. He wrote the charter that was passed by the IN State Assembly in 1850, raised money to build the school, and donated the land at what is now 13th St and College Ave for the first campus!

Ovid Butler

Ovid Butler

Ovid Butler (1801-1881) was a schoolteacher, lawyer, journalist, land developer, abolitionist, and founder of our university. He arrived in Indianapolis in 1836 and established a respected law practice. He was a member of the Free Soil Party and published the Free Soil Banner, an abolitionist newspaper.

In 1847, he redirected his energies into founding a university for the Disciples of Christ in Indianapolis, to be called North Western Christian University. As a board member, Butler saw the school through its initial fundraising and founding, donating land he owned to build the new school. In 1877 the school was renamed Butler University in his honor. This portrait of Ovid hangs in Robertson Hall. It was a gift to the university from Butler’s son Scot to commemorate the first Founder’s Day, Feb 7, 1882.

Architect's Color Illustration of the First Building Planned for North Western Christian University

Architect’s Color Illustration of the First Building Planned for North Western Christian University

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