Geneva College

About Geneva

History & Heritage


For 160 years, Geneva College has shaped the lives and careers of generations of students. The idea of Geneva College actually was expressed as early as 1836 by James Stewart Johnston, keeper of a general store in New Richland, Ohio, where the Scotch-Irish community came to buy tea, calico, gun powder and utensils. The residents also exchanged ideas here on everything from seed corn to the Kingdom of Heaven, and many liked the idea of a Christian liberal arts college.

Johnston's brother, the Reverend John Black Johnston, pastor of the Miami Reformed Presbyterian Church, began holding a Latin class in his study at Northwood, Ohio, in 1837. Initially, seven young men attended. The class soon grew, opened to include young women, and eventually moved to a log school in the village.

On April 20, 1848, Geneva Hall opened in Northwood, Ohio. The school was named in honor of Geneva, Switzerland, center of the Reformed faith movement. Under the sponsorship of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America , Geneva moved in 1880 to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, to a parcel of land donated by the Harmony Society, a German religious group.

Geneva continues today as a leader in Christian education--developing servant-leaders who can transform society for the kingdom of Christ. Our goal is to empower graduates who will positively impact their workplaces, communities, churches, families and world.