About Our College
The college was founded in 1867 as Western Maryland College, and was named for the Western Maryland Railroad because the college's first Board chairman, John Smith of Wakefield, was also the president of the railroad. (Neither the railroad nor the Methodist Protestant Church contributed funds to facilitate the establishment of the college. Some contributions, however, were received from Methodist Protestant laymen, including John Smith.) It had a voluntary fraternal affiliation with the Methodist Protestant (later United Methodist) Church from 1868 until 1974; the adjacent but separate institution, the Westminster Theological Seminary, was a principal site for training Methodist Protestant (later United Methodist) clergy in the Maryland region. The ties with the United Methodist Church were cut over a court case in which Western Maryland and other religiously affiliated schools in Maryland were being challenged over state funding received by the colleges because of their religious ties. The other schools retained their affiliations and won the case.