Henry Solomon Lehr founded Ohio Northern University in 1871 as the Northwestern Ohio Normal School. Its purpose was to train teachers and to provide higher education to the people in Northwest Ohio. In 1885, the school became Ohio Normal University. The new name recognized that the institution drew students from all over Ohio and the nation, and offered courses in many disciplines, including literature, music, business, telegraphy, and law, as well as teacher training. Beginning with 131 students, the institution's enrollment grew rapidly during its first thirty years of existence. Buildings on the early campus included Dukes Memorial (left), built in 1905; the Normal School Building, built in 1871 and demolished in 1915 to make way for Lehr Memorial (center); and Hill Building (right) finished in 1879. The Methodist Episcopal Church (predecessor to the United Methodist Church) assumed control in 1899. Ohio Normal University became Ohio Northern University in 1903. On June 3, 1910, President William Howard Taft delivered that year's commencement address near this spot.