Photo of Walsh University Founders

When the Brothers of Christian Instruction stood in a farmer's field at the corner of North Market and Easton in North Canton, Ohio, they formed a vision — a vision to turn 50 acres of alfalfa into a college campus. This vision lay on a foundation of faith, courage and selfless hard work.

That vision was realized on November 17, 1960, when the seven founding Brothers, comprising the entire faculty, welcomed the incoming class of sixty-seven "gentlemen" to, then, Walsh College. The school was named after the Bishop of the Youngstown Diocese at the time, Most Reverend Emmet Walsh, who donated $304,000 to the Walsh College project. Brother Thomas Farrell (Walsh University's first president) stood on the steps and gave the group a pep talk to the inaugural class.

Construction delays and final charter approval by the Ohio Board of Regents forced a late start for classes, and students were required to double up on their credit hours to complete the fall semester on time. Staff support at the time came from a full-time custodian and a part-time secretary. Two structures, a residence for the Brothers (La Mennais Hall) and an academic building (Farrell Hall, then called College Hall), stood on the bare campus. The parking lot flooded whenever it rained, and boards were used to cover muddy walkways. (Quite a contrast to the present 27 buildings and more than 300 faculty and staff led by Walsh's seventh president, Dr. Tim Collins.)

At first, Walsh offered a liberal arts curriculum with majors in secondary education and business administration, as well as pre-professional programs in dentistry, medicine and law. Today, Walsh's students can select from more than 60 undergraduate majors and seven graduate degrees including a doctorate of physical therapy.

Throughout the years, Walsh has hosted world leaders, famous authors and politicians, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (including Saint Teresa of Calcutta), provided rich and rewarding faith-based programs, internship opportunities, global learning and community service experiences, and NCAA Division II athletics. With an alumni network of more than 18,000 around the globe, Walsh is committed to developing leaders that serve our world with an awareness of the common good.

In February of 2021, Walsh University became an independent Catholic University operating under the approval of the Local Ordinary for Youngstown, Ohio. Although the Brothers of Christian Instruction are no longer present here, Walsh University will forever be grounded in the mission and teachings of the Brothers and carry that charism on in our core values of faith, excellence, integrity, service, and community.

Since its founding, this wonderful Catholic higher-education resource has continued to grow and prosper for more than 60 years because the Brothers of Christian Instruction, and those who have built on their efforts, had a vision — a vision that built Walsh University.

Learn more about the Mission and History of Walsh from President Collins on the Cardinal Newman Society Podcast.