Urbana University was founded in 1850 by followers of the 18th century Swedish philosopher and scientist, Emanuel Swedenborg. The university was the second institution of higher learning in Ohio to admit women; the first was Oberlin College. The groundwork for the founding of the university was in part laid by John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, who became the inspiration for the Johnny Appleseed Museum founded for his extraordinary history. While more famous for spreading apple seeds throughout the East, Chapman was also a Swedenborgian missionary and helped spread this faith among the early settlers around Urbana. Chapman encouraged his friend and fellow Swedenborgian, John Hough James, to donate the land on which Urbana University was built. To this day, the University maintains an informal relationship with the Swedenborgian General Convention of the Church of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America. The university is also home to the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center & Museum to honor John Chapman.
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