On March 7, 1850, the Swedenborgian Church founded Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio. Swedenborgian John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, convinced local landowner John James to donate land to establish the college. Urbana University was only the second college in Ohio to admit women into classes with men.
Urbana University grew slowly. In 1905, the institution employed only eight professors. In 2006, over 1,500 students enrolled at Urbana University. During the first years of the twenty-first century, the college experienced one of the fastest-growing student-enrollment rates in the United States. The institution also offered two dozen degree programs. Urbana University remains affiliated with the Swedenborgian General Convention of the Church of the New Jerusalem in the United States of America today.