In 1831, in a two-and-a-half story building on Sycamore Street in downtown Cincinnati, Bishop Edward Fenwick started the first college in the Northwest Territory, a college that would become Xavier University.
During the next 175 years, the expansion from a small downtown college with less than 200 students to an urban university with more than 6,600 students was laced with new challenges, new tasks and new ventures as well as physical growth, academic development and physical expansion. Yet through it all, Xavier has affirmed and sustained its Catholic, Jesuit heritage.
The commemoration included the presentation of the St. Francis Xavier Medal. Named for the patron saint of Xavier, the St. Francis Xavier Medal is the highest award given out by the University. It recognizes outstanding individuals who, through their lives and endeavors, exemplify the qualities that made Francis Xavier a saint of action, courage, daring and imagination; and who have manifested high moral principles in their personal lives.
The St. Francis Xavier Medal was given to board of trustees chairman Joe Pichler, who accepted the award on behalf of all the lay people who throughout the years have dedicated themselves to the growth of the University.
The celebration also included the premiere of a new alma mater, written by English professor Tyrone Williams and music professor Tom Merrill. University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., also spoke along with Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.
For more on Xavier University’s 175th anniversary, please log on to www.xavier.edu/175.