Founders of Walsh University
Originally founded in 1819 by two Breton priests, Jean Marie de la Mennais and Gabriel Deshayes, the Brothers of Christian Instruction strove to carry religious education all over the world, including North and South America, Africa and Asia. Their home in North Canton, Ohio, is a shining testament to the Brothers' mission of bringing values-based education to all who seek it, regardless of means or circumstances.
When the Brothers of Christian Instruction stood in a farmer's field at the corner of North Market and Easton, they formed a vision. A vision to turn fifty acres of alfalfa into a college campus. This vision lay on a foundation of faith, courage and selfless hard work.
That vision was realized on November 17, 1960, when seven Brothers, comprising the entire faculty, welcomed the incoming class of sixty-seven "gentlemen." Br. Farrell (Walsh's first president) stood on the steps and gave the group a pep talk. Apparently, construction delays and final charter approval by the Ohio Board of Regents had forced a late start for classes, and students would be required to double up on their credit hours to complete the fall semester on time.
Staff support at the time came from a full-time custodian and a part-time secretary. Two structures, a residence for the Brothers and an academic building, stood on the bare campus. The parking lot flooded whenever it rained, and boards were used to cover muddy walkways. (Quite a contrast to the present 26 buildings and nearly 300 faculty and staff led by Walsh's sixth president, Richard Jusseaume.)
At first, Walsh offered a liberal arts curriculum with majors in secondary education and business administration, as well as pre-professional programs in dentistry, medicine and law. Today, nearly 3,000 students can select from more than 70 undergraduate majors and seven graduate degrees.
This wonderful Catholic higher-education resource has continued to grow and prosper for more than 50 years because the Brothers of Christian Instruction, and those who have built on their efforts, had a vision - a vision that built Walsh University.