Founders Day

Borrowed from our founding institution, Mount Holyoke, this tradition was first celebrated in 1894. The day is marked with a special program to help students learn about the founding and the traditions of the College they call home. A prominent speaker delivers the keynote address and descendants of the original founders are recognized.

The Founders

These founders became the first trustees of what would later become Lake Erie College. Each of them sent at least one daughter to the Seminary, Ladd and Wilcox each sent five. Founders Day was celebrated November 8, 1894 to commemorate the important work of these men. All founders are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Painesville.

Timothy Rockwell (1798-1881) had been a trustee of Willoughby Female Seminary. He produced pig iron at the Concord Furnace Company and was also a trustee of Western Reserve College in Hudson. William Lee Perkins (1799-1882) had also been a trustee of Willoughby Female Seminary. A long-time lawyer, he had served as a prosecuting attorney for Lake County, generally opposing Judge Hitchcock in prominent lawsuits.
Silas Trumbull Ladd(1810-1879) ran a general store with Rockwell, which was lost in a Main Street fire in 1858. He moved to Hudson around 1842 to serve as treasurer of Western Reserve College. Aaron Wilcox (1814-1881) served as mayor of Painesville several times and was president of a society that operated the Painesville Academy. A wealthy judge until the failure of his Lake County Bank in the 1870s, Wilcox served as secretary-treasurer of the trustees at the time of his death.
Reuben Hitchcock (1806-1883) was a Lake County Common Pleas Court judge when the Seminary was established. He served as president of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad in addition to serving as president of the Willoughby Medical College and later a trustee of the Willoughby Female Seminary. His daughter, Melissa, attended Mount Holyoke, along with his niece. Hitchcock was fondly remembered throughout the years by the chanting of "Reuben, Reuben" at many founders' events and alumni weekend activities. Charles Austin Avery (1816-1909) supervised the construction and was largely responsible for securing the grounds on which the College stands. Inspired by his work with the Seminary, he later added a tower to his own home, similar to the one on College Hall. He was a self-made man who came to Painesville from Connecticut in 1837, traveling by canal and lake boat to Conneaut. From there he took a covered wagon to Painesville, completing the last leg of his journey.