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Built on a Promise

The University of Dayton's history is one of perseverance, tenacity, ingenuity and transformation. The school began with an act of faith more than 170 years ago.

With a medal of St. Joseph and a promise of $12,000, Father Leo Meyer, S.M., purchased the 125-acre Dewberry Farm from John Stuart, who wanted to sell his Dayton property and return to Europe.

On July 1, 1850, St. Mary’s School for Boys opened its doors to 14 primary students from Dayton. Known at various times as St. Mary's School, St. Mary’s Institute and St. Mary’s College, the school assumed its present identity in 1920.

Today, the University of Dayton is recognized as a top-tier national research university rooted in the Catholic tradition.

Explore the interactive timeline for additional milestones in our history.