History of the Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences

The Roots of the College

Buchtel College in 1889

Buchtel College was founded in 1870 with financial support from John R. Buchtel, an Akron manufacturer of farm equipment. In 1913, under the leadership of President Parke R. Kolbe, the college became the Municipal University of Akron. That same year, the liberal arts department is renamed the Buchtel College of Liberal Arts (now the Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences). Over the next 50 years, University enrollment grew from 198 to nearly 10,000, paralleling the dramatic growth of the entire region during that period. 

From 1910 to 1920, Akron was the fastest-growing city in the United States, and the home of innovation rooted in ongoing and productive collaborations between what was Buchtel College and the rapidly expanding rubber industry. The world’s first courses in rubber chemistry were offered by Professor Charles Knight through Buchtel College in 1909 and would provide a solid foundation for the emergence of The University of Akron with the Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences as its cornerstone.

Buchtel College Today

Buchtel College is dedicated to the mission of The University of Akron: ensuring  student success and leveraging our region’s unique assets in the creation of knowledge and application of research that benefits humankind. Our students explore the world across the Fine Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences.

In the Fine Arts, students develop skills in performance and arts education through challenging and energizing studies in art, arts administration, dance, music, and theatre. Other students in the Fine Arts enhance the quality of life for themselves and society through studies in child and family development, interior design, and fashion merchandising.

In the Humanities, students study the human condition, learning about the development of history, cultures, languages, communication, literature, and how individuals in diverse times and places have understood themselves and their environment, thereby preparing to be informed, articulate, involved, and humane citizens and leaders in a global society.

In the Natural Sciences, students explore physical, chemical and biological aspects of our world, learning to use mathematical models and advanced technologies and equipment to investigate phenomena ranging from the smallest of scales to the global and beyond. Research and teaching emphasize synthesis, integration and immersion of students in the process of science, giving them the tools to create new knowledge and technologies that will improve our world in the future.

In the Social Sciences, students examine individuals and groups, organizations and societies in order to advance our understanding of the social and psychological, economic and political, geographic and cultural forces that affect these populations and improve our capacity to participate in democratic decision making as informed and effective citizen agents seeking to maximize liberty, justice, and cooperation.

Learn more about the history of the University.