Wesleyan University was founded in 1831 by Methodist leaders and Middletown citizens. Instruction began with 48 students of varying ages, the president, three professors, and one tutor; tuition was $36 per year.
Named for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, Wesleyan is among the oldest of the numerous originally Methodist institutions of higher education in the United States. The Methodist movement originated in England in the 1720s, and was particularly important for its early emphasis on social service and education. From its inception, Wesleyan offered a liberal arts program rather than theological training. Ties to the Methodist church, which were particularly strong in the earliest years and from the 1870s to the 1890s, waxed and waned throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Wesleyan became fully independent of the Methodist church in 1937.
Wesleyanâ€™s first president, Willbur Fisk, a prominent Methodist educator, set out an enduring theme at his inaugural address in September 1831. President Fisk stated that education serves two purposes: â€śthe good of the individual educated and the g...
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