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Henry Baker Brown

Henry Baker Brown


Henry Baker Brown was serving as president of Valparaiso University when the school took its name in 1907.

The Ohio native began teaching school as a teenager and after college, traveled to Valparaiso in 1873 to open his own school, according to Valparaiso University's website.

He visited the dilapidated and defunct Methodist college and opened the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute in the fall on 1873 with 35 students, according to the university.

"Brown aggressively marketed the school as a populist, low-cost, 'no-frills' institution. Within one year, enrollment shot up to 300 and the Valparaiso City Council and Porter County government donated money to build up the campus. By 1875, enrollment was at 900 students, making Northern Indiana Normal School the largest of its kind in the nation."

"Classes began at 6:45a.m., chapel was at 8:30a.m., formal dress was required of all students, no matter how poor, and students could be instantly dismissed for gambling, visiting a saloon, or even for unexcused absences," the website said.

In 1900, the campus had 2,500 students and was rechartered as Valparaiso College, and then in 1907 as Valparaiso University.

By 1910, VU was one of the largest American universities, second in size only to Harvard, which earned it the popular description “The Poor Man’s Harvard,” the website said.

Brown died Sept. 16, 1917.


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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