​Rev. John R. H. Latchaw​

President 1884-1893

Rev. John R. H. Latchaw grew up on a farm in Iowa. He attended the Wilton Collegiate Institute academy at Wilton Junction, Iowa, and then taught school in Minnesota before becoming a farmer in Iowa. Deciding to enter the ministry, he attended Hillsdale College in Michigan, receiving his A.B. with honors in 1881 and an M.A. in 1884. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1881 and became pastor of Barkeyville Church of God in the West Pennsylvania Eldership, later establishing Barkeyville Academy. His ministerial training, academic background and success in organizing a successful academy, made him an appealing candidate for the Findlay College presidency. At 33, he was supposedly the youngest college president in America. Named the first president of Findlay College on Nov. 14, 1884, he was delegated to raise money for the main building and a permanent endowment. In addition to his other duties, he took over the general supervision of the College grounds until classes began in 1886.

President Latchaw’s vision was for Findlay to become a first-class college, one that would rival any college in the country. Under his leadership, Findlay Colleg e acquired the Findlay Business College and the Findlay Music Conservatory, greatly expanding the curriculum. Latchaw was involved in the faculty selection, curriculum development, the support of the Findlay community and the recruitment of students. Though he enjoyed considerable support from both the board and the Findlay community, a poor economy and limited Church of God support placed significant financial strain on Findlay College and led some to call for his resignation. He resigned in 1893, took a faculty position at the College and was replaced by one of his students, William Nelson Yates. He left the Church of God and went on to serve as a Baptist pastor in Zanesville, Ohio and later became president of Defiance College in Northwest Ohio.