The University of Dayton is an American private Roman Catholic national research university in Ohios sixth-largest city, Dayton. Founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary, it is one of three Marianist universities in the nation and the largest private university in Ohio, the universitys campus is located in the citys southern portion and spans 388 acres on both sides of the Great Miami River. The campus is noted for the Immaculate Conception Chapel and the University of Dayton Arena, the University also operates, in Chinas Suzhou Industrial Park, the University of Dayton China Institute. Leo Meyer, S. M. journeyed from Alsace in France to Cincinnati, but with a cholera epidemic raging to the north, Bishop John Baptist Purcell of the Cincinnati diocese, sent Father Meyer to Emmanuel parish in Dayton to tend to the sick. In Dayton, Father Meyer met local farmer John Stuart, who had lost his infant daughter Mary Louisa to cholera the year before, heartbroken, Stuart and his wife wanted to sell their Dewberry Farm property and return to Europe. Stuart accepted a St. Joseph medal and a promise of $12,000 at 6 percent interest, the property included vineyards, an orchard, a mansion, various farm buildings, and the grave of Stuarts daughter, which Meyer promised to maintain. Just a few later, the University of Dayton had its beginnings on 1 July 1850. In September, the first boarding students arrived and classes moved to the mansion, five years later, the school burned to the ground, but classes resumed within months. By 1860, when Brother Zehler became president, the enrollment was nearly 100 students, the Civil War had little direct effect on the school because most of the students were too young to serve. College preparatory classes started in 1861 along with a novitiate and school for Marianist candidates, in 1882 the university was incorporated and empowered to confer collegiate degrees by the State of Ohio. When floodwaters struck the community during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, St. Marys College was uniquely situated and equipped to provide relief to flood victims. Because students had not returned to campus from Easter break, the college was amply stocked with food, the colleges kitchen provided meals to Miami Valley Hospital and provided 12,000 pounds of provisions to St. Elizabeth Hospital. The first night,400 refugees took shelter at St. Marys College, in all, the college assisted 800 refugees. Known at various times as St. Marys School, St. Marys Institute, in 1923, the University adopted the Dayton Flyers nickname for its athletic teams and adopted a university seal with the motto, Pro Deo et Patria, Latin for For God and Country. In the 1930s, women were admitted on a basis with men,40 years before most Catholic universities allowed women. The school expanded its programs in science, engineering, and the professions and continued to attract the children and grandchildren of Catholic immigrants. The growing Catholic presence in Dayton during the 1920s drew the hostility of the Ku Klux Klan, on 19 December 1923,12 bombs exploded throughout the campus and an 8-foot cross was set on fire. Several hundred Klansmen were routed by hundreds of residents who joined students in chasing them off
Immaculate Conception Chapel
St. Mary's Hall and the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the University of Dayton
Stuart Hall, circa 1977
University of Dayton south student neighborhood, commonly referred to as the "Ghetto"