In September 188,8 the predecessor of the University of Charleston was founded in Barboursville, West Virginia as Barboursville Seminary. Affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the first campus was located in the courthouse complex and abandoned when Cabell County moved its seat of government to Huntington.

  • Entrance of UC
    Entrance of UC
  • View from the river
    View from the river

At its founding in 1888, 25 students enrolled in the first term of Barboursville Seminary. Soon after, the school began to struggle financially. A substantial gift from a Fayetteville coal operator, Morris Harvey, helped the struggling school eliminate its substantial debt. In gratitude, the school was renamed Morris Harvey College, and school officials embarked on a building and renovation program in the early 1900s.

Under the guidance of Leonard Riggleman, the school’s 19th president, the college went from the depths of the Depression to a fully accredited institution located on a growing campus. In a major decision that saw the board of trustees reverse itself three times within one week, the college accepted an invitation from the Charleston Education Center and opened in temporary quarters in downtown Charleston on September 11, 1935.

On September 8, 1947, the University moved to the south bank of the Kanawha River, its current location. At the time the campus consisted of five government surplus buildings, three barracks-type buildings, a Quonset hut, small frame building and a cafeteria/assembly hall.

The small, private Morris Harvey College became University of Charleston in 1978. Under the capable leadership of President Ed Welch, UC has continued to experience growth and significant changes. In 2000, the University initiated the Independent College Enterprise which provides shared academic and administrative computing hardware to eight schools in four states.  The school now offers graduate education in pharmacy and business.

The main entrance to campus was moved to improve traffic flow. Football returned to campus in 2003, and recent new structures include Brotherton Hall, Ratrie Hall, Middle Hall, East Apartments and the parking garage. Morrison Fitness Center was completed in 2007, providing students and staff a state of the art facility.  In 2016, the old Eddie King Gym is undergoing a substantial renovation.

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