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Valparaiso University: Presidents


In 1858, Methodist regional leaders meeting in Valparaiso, Indiana, decided to launch a college in the young town. A board of five trustees was formed and layman Azariah Freeman sold the board a tract of land southeast of the town’s center. A temporary wooden building was erected, and in September 1859 the Valparaiso Male and Female College opened. By inviting women to enroll, the College was part of a new social vanguard that embraced co-education. The board elected the Rev. Charles N Sims as the first president, but when Sims had to defer his arrival to Valparaiso for a term, Francis D. Carley was named acting president. Carley, one of the five original faculty members (and the only male), was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. 75 students attended classes in 1859, and by the end of the first term, enrollment grew to 175.

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