Widener’s historical highlights are listed in the timeline below. For an overview of Widener’s history, refer to Widener’s vision and history

1821 – 1868


John Bullock establishes the Bullock School for Boys, in Wilmington, Delaware, to prepare young men for “entry to college.”


Samuel Alsop becomes new headmaster of The Alsop School for Boys.


Theodore Hyatt assumes leadership of Hyatt’s Select School for Boys after Alsop, and introduces military instruction in 1858.


Hyatt’s Select School for Boys gets incorporated under the charter of the Wilmington Literary Institute as the Delaware Military Academy.


With the move to a new facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Delaware Military Academy becomes Pennsylvania Military Academy.


Pennsylvania Military Academy relocates to Chester, Pennsylvania, the present home of Widener University.

1892 – 1972


Pennsylvania Military Academy becomes Pennsylvania Military College (PMC), modeled after West Point, the renowned U.S. military academy. Graduates serve honorably in the U.S. Army through many military conflicts, including the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

In 1946, non-resident veterans started attending PMC. The program expanded in 1958 to include non-veteran students enrolled in a newly instituted civilian program. They also did not live on campus. The Corps of Cadets were still the only students residing on campus.


In 1966, as a result of the lack of support for the Vietnam War and the need to increase enrollment, PMC Colleges was formed. It consisted of two parallel schools: Pennsylvania Military College and Penn Morton College. Penn Morton College, in 1966, enrolled civilian male resident students for the first time.

Although women had been attending PMC’s Evening Division, which started in 1954, a group of female nursing students started PMC, in 1966, as part of the College of Nursing of the Crozer Foundation. One year later, women joined the civilian male resident students at Penn Morton College and became the first female resident students on campus. With the co-educational component growing into a significant portion of the student body during the latter 1960’s Widener College was formed in 1972.


A nursing program with College of Nursing of Crozer Foundation starts. The first graduate program (engineering) is introduced. 


School of Nursing is established.

1972 – 1993


PMC Colleges becomes Widener College. PMC Corps of Cadets disbanded.


Academic programs organized into four schools: Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Management.


Delaware Law School acquired.


Delaware Campus opens as part of merger with Brandywine Junior College.


PMC Colleges renamed Widener University.


University College program starts.


School of Hotel and Restaurant Management opens; renamed School of Hospitality Management in 1996.


Harrisburg Campus opens.


School of Human Service Professions established.

2004 – Present


Exton Campus opens.


Metropolitan Hall, a new state-of-the-art apartment-style residence hall, is added to the Main Campus. New state-of-the-art Wellness Center (added to the existing Schwartz Physical Education Center) opens to the campus community; includes a 24-foot climbing wall.


Founders Hall, a 35,000-square-foot, three-story building is added to the Main Campus to house the School of Nursing and the Oskin Leadership Institute.


Widener's School of Engineering marks its 150th anniversary.


Freedom Hall, a state-of-the-art facility, built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards houses the communication studies, computer science, and digital media informatics departments.

August 2015

The James T. Harris III Hall, the new residence hall at Providence Avenue and 15th Street, will house 200 students and include space for a living-learning community.