Buchtel College was founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1870. The school was named after industrialist John Buchtel, who was a prominent figure in the community and was associated with the Universalist Church. By the early twentieth century, Buchtel College was not as closely linked to the interests of the Universalist Church. The school chose to become non-denominational in 1907. Financial problems caused its trustees to turn the school over to the city of Akron in 1913. At this point, Buchtel College was renamed the University of Akron.
The university grew rapidly over the next several decades. Local taxes helped to put the institution on a stronger financial footing, and enrollment climbed from less than two hundred to approximately ten thousand students following World War II. Because rubber companies such as Goodyear, Firestone, and Goodrich were located nearby, the university became known for its research into rubber chemistry and eventually the development of synthetic rubber. In 1942, the University of Akron created the Rubber Technical Institute. In 1967, the University of Akron became a state university.
In more recent years, the University of Akron has become known for its scientific research in a variety of areas, including polymers and nanotechnology. In addition, it has a number of other strong programs of study, including in the business and legal fields.
- Knepper, George. Summit's Glory: Sketches of Buchtel College and the University of Akron. Akron, OH: University of Akron Press, 1991.