Wittenberg University

For the university in Germany, see University of Halle-Wittenberg.
Wittenberg University
Motto "Having Light, We Pass It On To Others"
Type Private
Established 1845
Affiliation Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Endowment $125 million[1]
President Richard Helton (interim)
Provost Interim, Mary Jo Zembar
Academic staff
196 full-time[2]
Students 2,000
Postgraduates 70
Location Springfield, Ohio, United States
Campus Small city, 114 acres (46 ha)
Colors Red and white          
Athletics NCAA Division IIINCAC
Mascot Tiger
Website www.wittenberg.edu

Wittenberg University is a private four-year liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio, US serving 2,000 full-time students representing 37 states and approximately 30 foreign countries.


Main entrance to the University
Wittenberg College, Carnegie Hall of Science and Recitation Hall, Springfield, Ohio (1911 Postcard)

Wittenberg College was founded in 1845 by a group of ministers in the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio, which had previously separated from the recently established German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States.

A German American pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Rev. Ezra Keller was the principal founder and first president of the college. Its initial focus was to train clergy with the Hamma School of Divinity as its theological department. One of its main missions was to "Americanize" Lutherans by teaching courses in the English language instead of German, unlike the nearby Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

The first class originally consisted of eight students at the beginning of the academic year, but grew to seventy-one by the end. With a faculty of one professor and two tutors, classes were held in Springfield, Ohio in a church on land that was donated. That city was selected for its location on the National Road, running from the East's cities of Baltimore and mountainous Cumberland, Maryland to the West in the Illinois Country, eventually to the territorial capital of Vandalia, near the Mississippi River.

In 1874, women were admitted to the college, and, the following year, blacks were admitted. The name of the school came from the historic Wittenberg University, in Wittenberg, Germany, the town where then Roman Catholic priest and theological professor Martin Luther, (1483-1546), famously posted his "95 Theses" on the chapel church door on October 31, 1517.[3]

Wittenberg University's Guest House

Hamma Divinity School (Wittenberg's Theological Department)

Rev. Luther Alexander Gotwald, D.D., (1833–1900), Professor of Theology in the "Hamma Divinity School" which served as the Theological Department of the College was famously tried for and unanimously acquitted of heresy by the Board of Directors at Wittenberg on April 4 and April 5, 1893, which put on trial many key issues that Evangelical Lutherans still debate today.[4]

For decades, Hamma and Wittenberg in Springfield were associated with the local English-speaking regional synods in the Midwest.

In 1978, Hamma Divinity School merged with the nearby "Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary" in the Bexley suburb of the state capital of Columbus, Ohio, associated with "Capital University".

Presidents of Wittenberg


Wittenberg offers more than 70 majors and special programs. Eight pre-professional programs are offered to students, 70 percent of whom eventually pursue graduate studies. The University's science facilities are housed in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center. Krieg Hall is the home of the music department.[6] Wittenberg's art department is housed in Koch Hall.[7] Thomas Library contains 400,000 volumes and provides access to OhioLINK,[8] a consortium of Ohio college and university libraries as well as the State Library of Ohio. The library houses the Kemper Special Collection Area which contains the Luther-Reformation Collection with more than 400 items written by Martin Luther and his contemporaries between 1517 and 1580.[9] The library was built 1956 to the designs of Thomas Norman Mansell of Mansell, Lewis & Fugate of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.[10]

In 1995, the American Philosophical Association censured Wittenberg University for violating the professional rights of one its members, then a faculty member in the philosophy department denied tenure for unjust reasons. The Wittenberg administration has overruled the faculty personnel board's authority in matters of tenure and continues to assert its right to deny tenure for reasons beyond teaching, research and service.[11]

Rankings and honors

The "U.S. News & World Report" magazine for 2012 have Wittenberg ranked as the 121st best Liberal Arts college in the US,[12] and Forbes Magazine ranked the schools as the 176th best university in the country.[13]

In 2010, the journal "Princeton Review" ranked Wittenberg 11th in the nation for "Best Classroom Experience", and 15th in the nation for "Professors Get High Marks".[13] In addition, Princeton Review ranked the college's campus the 18th most beautiful in the nation in 2009.[14]

The University also has top programs in Communication. The communication program was named by the National Communication Association as the "Nation's Best Program".[15] Along with that Wittenberg University has been named one of only 23 institutions in the nation by the Fiske Guide to Colleges for "Small Colleges and Universities Strong in Drama." The elite ranking, places Wittenberg alongside such schools as Juilliard, Vassar, Oberlin, Otterbein and Princeton.[16]

In the last 10 years, Wittenberg faculty members have won 16 "Fulbright Awards", more than any other liberal arts college in the state of Ohio. "Chronicle of Higher Education" says the University is one of 11 bachelor’s programs with more than two professors doing research under Fulbright auspices.[17]

Wittenberg professors have won seven "Ohio Professor of the Year" Awards since the award was established in 1981, more than any other school in Ohio.[18][19]


Myers Hall was the first building at Wittenberg built in 1846

Blair Hall

Blair Hall is where the education department is housed for the university. Undergraduates and Graduate students take classes in this building if they are planning to pursue to become a teacher. The Springfield-Wittenberg Teacher Institute and Upward Bound are both housed in Blair.

The education department has another building which used to be the former Springfield Public City Schools administration offices at 49 East College Avenue, which is now owned by Wittenberg University.[20]

Carnegie Hall

The business and sociology departmental building. It is home to many prestigious professors and is named for the famous Scottish-American immigrant and steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie, (1835-1919), who is also known for his philanthropy and endowing many public library buildings across the country.

Hollenbeck Hall

Hollenbeck Hall is home to multiple departments, including the History, English, Foreign Languages, Political Science, International Studies, and Philosophy departments. The building is sectioned off into six wings, two per floor, which are separated by the Ness Family Auditorium in the center of the building. It is also where the Writing Center and Foreign Language Learning Center, two of the most often used and predominately student-run organizations are held.

Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center

The Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center, likely the most modern building on campus, is home to all of the different Science and Mathematics departments. It also serves as a popular breakfast and lunch location for students, as it includes a vendor on the first floor that can be used with the Wittenberg meal plans.

Recitation Hall

Recitation Hall is where many of the administrative offices for the University are housed. These offices include those for admissions, financial aid, the president's office, provost's, student employment, university communications (Wittenberg's Media office for "Wittenberg Magazine", Press office, New Media, Sports Media, and Publications office), and human resources. Recitation Hall also has its own chapel. This was the second building constructed on campus. In 1883, classes were first held in Recitation Hall. There is a second building behind Recitation Hall which serves as the university's police and security headquarters, the campus switchboard and the transportation office.[21]

Synod Hall

This building is home to the Economics department, Upward Bound, and The Solution Center. The Upward Bound school offices have been re-located to Synod. The Upward Bound is a high school program for students in low-income areas of the city to receive a high level education from college professors while in high school.


Wittenberg University teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Tigers are a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. The school's newest varsity sport, men's volleyball, was added in the 2015–16 school year (2016 season); that team plays in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League.[22]

Wittenberg ended the 2009 fall sports season ranked 16th among more than 430 NCAA Division III schools in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings, administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA)[23]

Student organizations

Anime Club, Chemistry Club, Chinese Dragon Dance Team, Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life, College Democrats, College Republicans, Comic Book Club, East Asian Studies Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, Mock Trial, New York Times Discussion Group, Outdoors Club, Pep Band, Pocket Lint Improvisational Comedy, POWER (Parliament of the Wittenberg Environmental Revolution), Pre-Health Club, Sailing Club, Crew, Society of Physics Students, Student Global AIDS Campaign, Student Senate, Swing Dance Club, Union Board, University Communications, Wittenberg Art League, Wittenberg Role-Playing Guild, Wittenberg Rugby, Wittenberg Student Dance Company (WSDC), WUSO radio station, WittMen Crew A Capella, Student newspaper The Torch, Wittenberg Film Club, Diversity Club, Planned Parenthood, and WUSS (Wittenberg University Speleological Society—The Caving Club), Younglife.[24]

Center for Civic and Urban Engagement

On September 24, 2008, Wittenberg opened the Center for Civic and Urban Engagement. Its purpose is to help coordinate community service projects. Their mission is to also be the partnership between the university and the city, state and federal governments. Warren Copeland, Springfield mayor and the university's professor of religion and director of the urban studies, is the faculty director.[25]

The East Asian Institute for International Studies

The East Asian Institute for International Studies at Wittenberg University manages an internship program, provides export development services, and organizes programs and events focusing on international business and East Asia. The Institute supports and cooperates with Ohio's export development network.[26]

GLBT & Ally Center For Diversity

This is the center on the north side of the campus which helps promote diversity and acceptance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, and other groups.

Springfield Peace Center

This center is located on Wittenberg University's campus and is a non-profit organization. Its goal is educating for peace and teaching alternatives to violence. They hold classes for adults and youth students and hold camps throughout the year. They do ask for donations to help fund the programs.[27]

Wittenberg radio station

Main article: WUSO

The University has its own student run 24-hour radio station on 89.1FM.[28] 89.1 WUSO, has started simulcasting the Dayton classical station WDPR Monday through Friday mornings from 6 am until 10 am. The station broadcasts news, politics, sports, food, music shows. The Tiger Sports Network broadcasts the sports programming.[29] Its studios are located in the basement of Firestine Hall on Woodlawn Ave. The radio station broadcasts throughout the Springfield area. The radio station went through an upgrade on their website to allow audio streaming.

The launch of a new media program called the Integrated Media Corps has recently developed. A team of ten University students creates and produces news videos, sports highlight videos for WDTN-TV (Dayton NBC), WHIO-TV (Dayton CBS), WKEF-TV (Dayton ABC) and the university web, record news stories for WUSO, the student run radio station, and write press releases for the university website. The program also has begun broadcasting sports programs on WIZE-AM in Springfield.

Wittenberg online radio

Wittenberg University has recently launched a new radio station for athletics broadcasting. The radio station currently is internet only. To listen to Wittenberg's athletic radio programming visit the Tiger Sports Network website.

The Wittenberg Torch

The Torch is Wittenberg University's student run newspaper which comes out on campus every Wednesday. The newspaper has a staff of news reporters, editors, features writers, sports writers, designers and photographers. The paper was founded in 1873 and celebrated its 100th volume in 2012. In 2012, The Torch also won an ACP Online Pacemaker Award.[30]

Wittenberg medical facilities

The Wittenberg Health and Counseling services office is located in the lower level of Shouvlin Hall. Athletic-related services are also available at the Excel Medicine Sports' office located in the Health, Physical, Education and Recreation building located on Bill Edwards Drive.

Residence life

Wittenberg has seven residence halls on campus, including: Tower Hall, Myers Hall, Firestine Hall, Ferncliff Hall, Woodlawn Hall, New Residence Hall and Polis House. The oldest residence hall is Myers Hall. This was the first campus building when the university opened. Myers Hall is now a National Historic Site for its history. The newest residence hall is called New Residence Hall, which opened in 2006. The Polis House is the international residence hall on campus. International students, International Studies students, or language majors may choose to live in this residence. Students who are at junior or senior standing have the option to live in the university-provided on-campus apartments or off campus in apartments or rental houses.[31]

The Benham-Pence Student Center houses most of the university's dining services. The main floor of the student center houses Post 95 which offers four different options, including Grille 95, Sandella's sandwich and cafe, Jazzman's cafe, and Pastabalities. "Founders", the university pub, is located in the basement of the student center and was opened in during the 2009/2010 school year. The Center Dining Room (also known as the "CDR" by students) is located on the second floor of the Student Center along with the faculty dining room. Breakfast and lunch are also served in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center's "Simply To Go" a la carte cafe.

Greek life

Wittenberg also has an active Greek Life on campus.

Fraternities include:

Sororities include:

Secret societies

Wittenberg is also known for its secret societies. One of the most famous secret societies is The Shifters. They are easily identified by the paper clips worn on their clothing, usually around the collar of their shirts.[32][33]

Notable alumni


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  2. http://www.oh-palam.org/Wittenberg.pdf
  3. "Wittenberg History". Wittenberg University. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  4.  Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Sprecher, Samuel". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
  5. Archived January 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "Wittenberg University :: Office of Admission - Virtual Tour - Koch Hall". .wittenberg.edu. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  7. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
  8. "Thomas Library - Wittenberg University". .wittenberg.edu. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  9. "Thomas Norman Mansell" American Architects Directory, Third Edition (New York City: R.R. Bowker LLC, 1970), p.593.
  10. McHenry, Leemon; Dilley, Frank B.; Fisher, Saul; Field, Richard; Huemer, Michael; Wilshire, Bruce (1 January 2000). "Letters to the Editor". Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association. 73 (5): 169–186. doi:10.2307/3130913. JSTOR 3130913 via JSTOR.
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  12. 1 2 "Wittenberg University among best colleges in nation". Springfieldnewssun.com. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  13. "Wittenberg University". Princetonreview.com. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  14. http://www4.wittenberg.edu/features/2010/communication//
  15. "Wittenberg University - Wittenberg University's Drama Program Earns Top Marks In 2010 Fiske Guide to Colleges". .wittenberg.edu. 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  16. "Wittenberg Fulbright Program receives national recognition". Springfieldnewssun.com. 2010-11-06. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  17. "Wittenberg teacher wins Ohio Professor of the Year". Dayton Business Journal. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  18. "Wittenberg teacher wins Ohio Professor of the Year". Springfield News-Sun. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  19. "Wittenberg's Blair Hall to undergo renovations". Springfieldnewssun.com. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  20. "New Tiger Men's Volleyball Program Accepted Into MCVL" (Press release). Wittenberg Athletics. December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  21. "WittenbergTigers.com" (PDF). .wittenberg.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
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  28. "ACP - Contest Winners". Studentpress.org. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
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  30. "Spheres of Success". Wittenberg Magazine Online. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  31. "Some Education". Wittenberg Magazine Online. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  32. "Mark A. Boyer".
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  34. "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune.
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  37. Albers, Sarah M. (2015-06-01). "Former Chapel Hill Mayor Jonathan Howes dies at 78". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
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Coordinates: 39°55′59″N 83°48′51″W / 39.93314°N 83.81415°W / 39.93314; -83.81415

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