For over 165 years, Taylor’s history has been created, sustained and continues to evolve through those who have been chosen to attend as students, teach as faculty and serve as staff. The heroes of our past and the heroes serving at Taylor today make up the exciting and ongoing story of Taylor University.
Opened in 1846 by a Methodist pastor, Taylor University was founded to educate women during the pre-Civil War years. However, in 1848, Taylor became a co-educational university and has continued this way ever since.
Because of our original vision, many Taylor women like Alice Hamilton and Olive May Draper have gone on to do wonderful things for God and His kingdom.
Additionally, one of the most influential people at Taylor was a beaten down young black man with no money in his pockets, just a heart to serve the Lord? God still uses the story and soul of Sammy Morris to bring many to Taylor seeking the same blessing, purpose and call.
The list goes on from Sammy to our namesake, Bishop William Taylor, a Methodist Episcopal missionary whose nearly 60 ocean voyages in the second half of the 1800s earned him the nickname, "The St. Paul of the 19th Century." And then to Thaddeus Reade whose dedication led to the sustaining of Taylor University through financial difficulty and the move to Upland, to Harold Ockenga, a man whose faith and influence led to his involvement with the launch of both Fuller and Gordon-Conwell Seminaries, and who served as a mentor to Billy Graham.
And let’s not forget Milo Rediger, who served as a mentor to many during his tenure at Taylor as well as Don Odle, whose life-changing encounter with Jesus at Taylor led a successful coaching career with the Trojans and also the launch of Venture for Victory—one of the first, if not THE first, sports evangelism outreach effort.
There are many more instrumental people who have shaped the vision and mission of Taylor University throughout the last 165 years. But one thing binds all these Taylor heroes—their heart for God, their urgent pursuit to proclaim the word of God in an atmosphere of faith and learning, and their humble approach to serving those whom God placed in their path.
But our history doesn’t end with these heroes. Today our website holds many stories about current alumni, students, staff and faculty who are serving each other and the global community. Through war, depression, recession and tragedy, Taylor University has continued to serve God, our community and our world.
What’s YOUR story? If you are a prospective student, and these heroes resonate with you, contact Admissions today to see how you can follow in the footsteps of those who served the Lord at Taylor and beyond.
If you were at Taylor as a student, faculty or staff member, tell us YOUR story of how those at Taylor influenced you. Your stories are our legacy, and our stories will continue to connect us throughout time and distance as those with a heart for God and a heart for Taylor.