Cleveland University was the first college established in Cleveland, Ohio.
Founded in 1851, Cleveland University survived just two years. The college's trustees, which included William Case, Samuel Starkweather, Ahaz Merchant, and Truman P. Handy, purchased 275 acres of land in western Cleveland. This area eventually became known as Tremont. The college's organizers named streets in the community after academic terms, such as Professor Street, College Street, and Literary Street. Cleveland University first held classes at a temporary site on Ontario Street in Cleveland, but a permanent home, a three-story building, was quickly built on the 275 acres of land.
Asa Mahan, former president of Oberlin College, served as Cleveland University's first president. Many of the initial students came from Oberlin College. Unusual for institutions of higher education at this time, Cleveland University was a secular school and was not connected to any religious faith. At the end of its first academic year, the college graduated eight students. Unfortunately for the institution, during the 1852-1853 academic year, turmoil erupted at the college. Mahan resigned after an apparent disagreement with the school's trustees, and a major financial backer died unexpectedly. Following this academic year, the trustees sold Cleveland University's building and land. While the college no longer existed, its brief existence left a lasting impact on Tremont's development.