Mar 7, 2024 - History

A history of equality at Otterbein

A historical marker on a grassy field on the campus of Otterbein University.

This historical marker is across from the campus library. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

Our Franklin County Historical Marker Tour heads north to one of the oldest universities in the region.

The marker: Otterbein University, across from Courtright Memorial Library in Westerville.

Flashback: The university was founded in 1847 and named after Philip William Otterbein, a German American pastor who started a predecessor to the United Methodist Church.

  • It was a coeducational campus from the beginning, with two women in the first graduating class.

The intrigue: Early university officials were involved in emancipation, per a school history, assisting people fleeing slavery along the Underground Railroad.

Fun fact: Famous alumni include Columbus native and MLB star Paul O'Neill and composer Benjamin Hanby ("Up On the House Top").

4️⃣2️⃣ down, 86 to go.

Thanks to our series sponsor Ohio History Connection. Sponsorship has no influence on editorial content.

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