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University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College (Paperback) (Jacob L. Bapst & Ivan M. Tribe)

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On September 13, 1876, the bell on Atwood Hall rang, students assembled, and Rio Grande College began its 140-year search for identity and its struggle for existence. Ira Haning, a Freewill Baptist minister, conveyed the idea of a college to a prominent couple, Nehemiah and Permelia Atwood. Nehemiah passed away in 1869, and supposedly, his last words were “Permelia, build the college.” Permelia deeded 10 acres and financed Atwood Hall and the Boarding Hall, and Rio Grande College became a reality. Upon Permelia’s death in 1885, Rio Grande faced the first of many financial pitfalls. Her estate was willed to the college, but the heirs of her second husband contested it in an action that would be resolved by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1896. As a college, junior college, community college, and currently, as a university, Rio Grande continues to seek a definitive identity.

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