The History of Arcadia University


Two centuries ago, little else traveled through the wilderness of westernmost Pennsylvania except for the Ohio and the Beaver Rivers. At their confluence, the French established a trading post. Here members of the Delaware, the Shawnee and the Iroquois tribes would gather to barter and exchange goods with the European traders. 

The rivers were essential for travel, for sustenance and for military defense. During the American Revolutionary War, General McIntosh of Washington's Colonial Army built a fort at this place where the Beaver River flowed into the Ohio. 

But as the war ended, time passed, and the population expanded, McIntosh's fort became a town: Beaver, Pa. The land was bountiful, but the citizens still hungered for knowledge. In 1853, an intellectual outpost was born - a school to teach such liberal arts as ancient history, rhetoric, logic, analogy. 

This school on the Beaver and Ohio Rivers attained collegiate status in 1872 and was named Beaver College. Nonetheless, times change, towns change, even colleges change. In 1925 Beaver College moved east to Jenkintown, Pa., where it attracted more students. 

This location afforded larger facilities, a more adequate campus and greater opportunities for development. The change resulted in such an increase in enrollment that the Board of Trustees found it desirable to impose limitations on the annual enrollment in order to maintain the advantages of a small college. 

It soon became apparent that additional property would be needed to provide for the expansion of the College. In the autumn of 1928, the Trustees were fortunate in securing a nearby estate located in Glenside, Pa., and known as Grey Towers. With its spacious grounds and stone buildings, it provides a campus of great dignity and beauty. The College operated both the Jenkintown and Glenside campuses into the mid-1960s, when it consolidated all activities onto the Grey Towers property, in Glenside, a suburb of metropolitan Philadelphia. 

Originally under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Arcadia University once maintained an historic relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but is independently controlled and ecumenical in spirit. 

In the summer of the year 2000, the Board of Trustees approved a historic decision to change the name and status of the school to Arcadia University.

More Information About the Path to Arcadia University

Arcadia University has grown significantly from a small undergraduate, liberal arts college serving a traditional-age student body, to a comprehensive university serving more than 4,000 students in bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. The University also operates one of the largest study abroad programs in the United States.

The Arcadia Promise - A distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience.
A distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience.
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450 S. Easton Road
Glenside, PA 19038