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DePauw University was founded in 1837, by the Methodist Church. It was originally named Indiana Asbury University by Francis Asbury. Greencastle, Indiana, was the chosen site because the community worked diligently to raise $25,000 - a huge sum in those days - to convince the Methodists to establish their college in the rough, frontier village.
In January of 1837, the General Assembly of the State of Indiana granted a charter for the establishment of the university, and the cornerstone of the first building was laid that year.
Three years later the first president of the university, Matthew Simpson, a friend and counselor of Abraham Lincoln, was inaugurated and the first class graduated.
Over several decades, the curriculum developed from a traditional, classical one to a set of courses that included history, composition, and the natural sciences.
Indiana Asbury University grew quickly, although many men left the university to fight for either North or South during the Civil War. In 1867, the college admitted a small group of women. This was with strong support of the faculty and Board of Trustees.
In 1871, the construction of East College began. It took 13 years to build, but East College still remains the centerpiece of the campus.
Washington C. DePauw and his family generously gave more than $600,000 to the university during the economic hardships of the 1870s, and out of gratitude the trustees authorized the change in name to DePauw University.
W.C. DePauw and his family took a special interest in the formation and progress of the School of Music, which was founded in 1884, and is one of the oldest in the country.
DePauw University has a distinguished faculty and an academically talented student body. Although the university has undergone many changes over the last 150 years, the sense of its history is still obvious on the campus and in its traditions.
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