Wittenberg University, located in Springfield, Ohio, is a private, four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The college was founded in 1842 by Ezra Keller in Wooster, Ohio, and moved three years later to its present location. The college is named after the University of Wittenberg in Germany, where Martin Luther was professor at the time he posted his 95 theses on Schlosskirche's (Castle Church) door.
In its early years Wittenberg wavered on a permanent home. The first class sessions for the college were held in Wooster, Ohio. It wasn't until Ezra Keller, Wittenberg's founder and first president, stepped upon the highest point in South-Central Ohio that Wittenberg would have a permanent place to lay its first cornerstone. Springfield was considered a boomtown in the mid-1800s and had many resources to offer the college. The city was conveniently located on the National Road and was easily accessed by travelers as they made their way through the Ohio Valley. The city was also a crossroads for rail shipping and received hundreds of trains each day, another benefit for a blossoming institution.
Wittenberg's original focus was the training of Lutheran ministers. The Hamma Divinity School remained on campus until 1978. Wittenberg's earliest curriculum was rooted in the classics. Latin, Greek, moral philosophy, religion and mathematics were the primary focus of the college. In the 1880s Wittenberg began to integrate science into the curriculum. A sizable gift from Andrew Carnegie gave the college the ability to build its first science hall, Carnegie Hall in 1908.
By the turn of the century, the pressures for curricular reform that were being experienced all across the country began to be felt at Wittenberg. Course selection, graduate work and new courses such as art, music and science were among the most significant modifications. At the turn of the century, Wittenberg enjoyed a prosperous year in which major gifts and outstanding faculty were easily attracted. Wittenberg attained a national perspective and found a place in the mainstream of American higher education. When the accreditation movement emerged, Wittenberg became one of the first Lutheran colleges to be fully accredited.
Wittenberg has more than 60 majors and special programs from which students may choose to focus their studies. Wittenberg is distinguished by its strong interdisciplinary programs such as East Asian Studies and Russian Area Studies.
Although Wittenberg's traditional strengths have been in the liberal arts, recently the sciences, management and education have also developed into popular majors for students. Eight thriving pre-professional programs contribute to the educational experience of Wittenberg students, 70 percent of whom eventually pursue graduate studies." These students who pursue graduate studies place Wittenberg at the top of the national list in the percentage of graduates who attain the highest degree in their selected fields of study (JD, MD, PhD, etc.). The University made major renovations to its science facilities with the opening of the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center in 2003. In 2006, US News & World Report ranked Wittenberg the 118th best Liberal Arts college in the US. This lower rank from previous years was addressed in the student run newspaper, "The Torch," on 11/9/06.
Activities that Wittenberg offers include 12 fraternities and sororities as well as over 150 student organizations. Activities include Student Senate, Anime Club, Chemistry Club, Body Beautiful Club, Chinese Dragon Dance Team, Cigar Club, Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life, College Democrats, College Republicans, Comic Book Club, Wittenberg Student Dance Company (WSDC), Wittenberg Dance Team, Dodgeball Club, East Asian Studies Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, Intramural Sports, Martial Arts Club, New York Times Discussion Group, Outdoor Club, Pep Band, POWER (Parliament of the Wittenberg Environmental Revolution), Pre-Health Club, Residence Life, Role-Playing Guild, Ski Club, Society of Physics Students, Student Global AIDS Campaign, Swing Dance Club, Union Board, Wittenberg Art League, Wittenberg Rugby, WUSO radio station, Younglife, and many more. More information about Wittenberg's Student Activities can be found at the Student Activity Website:
Wittenberg is also known for its very old secret society. The Shifters have been around for a long time and there is much speculation to their activities. They are easily identified by the paper clips worn on their clothing, usually around the collar of their shirts.
Fraternities include Alpha Phi Alpha, Beta Theta Pi, Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, and Phi Kappa Psi. Sororities include: Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Delta, and Sigma Kappa.