Western Reserve College was established in 1826 in Hudson, Ohio, about 30 miles southeast of Cleveland. The college—the first in northern Ohio—took its name from the surrounding region (known at that time as the Western Reserve of Connecticut) and emphasized standards, such as the classics, in its curriculum. Yet it stood out in the mid- and late-19th century as one of only a few institutions that sought innovation and embraced the sciences. By 1887, the college had begun hiring forward-thinking scientists, including Edward E. Morley, best known for his collaboration with fellow professor Albert Michelson on the Michelson-Morley Experiment, which inspired Albert Einstein’s work in relativity.
As the 20th century neared, the city of Cleveland, Ohio, was on the rise. A post-war economy vaulted Cleveland to the forefront of American cities with unprecedented population and financial growth. And it was hungry for a university. With funding from American industrialist Amasa Stone, the college moved in 1882 to “uptown” Cleveland, where it lives today, and assumed the name Western Reserve University.