Taylor University traces its beginnings to 1890, when the North Indiana M.E. Conference sold its Fort Wayne College to the National Association of Local Preachers (NALP) of the M.E. Church.
The NALP was a strong organization representing two-thirds of Methodist preachers in the country. It had an interest in acquiring a college which would provide local preachers with more training. Their acquisition of the school carried with it the right to rename the institution.
The name Taylor University was chosen to honor M.E. missionary bishop William Taylor, an exceptional preacher who had planted or spread the gospel in South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. However, because of his unorthodox behavior, the 1884 General Conference reduced Rev. Taylor to the status of a local preacher, but he unexpectedly won election to the episcopacy. To the Church's local preachers, he was a hero, and his character and piety placed an indelible stamp on the re-emerging institution which bore his name.
Unfortunately, the financial situation did not improve under the NALP. A chance meeting between President Thaddeus Reade and the minister of the Upland, Indiana, M.E. church, John C. White, eventually resulted in an agreement to move the college to Upland in exchange for a $10,000 donation and ten acres of land. In the summer of 1893, the move was made.
Upland had two attractive assets, deposits of natural gas which were fueling the "gas boom" of the era, and the Indiana Central Railroad which stopped in Upland in route to Chicago from Columbus, Ohio. In time, the NALP lost interest in the school, and in 1920 the Taylor Foundation was formed and took control.
With a continuing emphasis on religious training, the University graduated numbers of ministers and missionaries, many of whom became associated with M.E. conferences in Indiana. Historically, Taylor University has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Methodism in the state and the former North Indiana U.M. Conference in particular. However, Taylor remains independent and is highly regarded among private schools.
GPS at the Chapel: 40 27 33.01, -85 29 50.44