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Belt, Leroy A. (1837-1906)


Biographical Note

Leroy A. Belt was born in Delaware County, Ohio in 1837. Belt graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1861 after studying ministry. After graduation Belt served as a minister to several Methodist churches throughout northwestern Ohio, and in 1900 became the second President of Ohio Normal University. Under Belt, significant administrative changes included the reorganization of faculty members into standard departments under the supervision of department chairmen, the paying of professors through a stipulated salary from the University Treasurer, and the renaming of the university to Ohio Northern University in 1903. Additionally, Belt oversaw the addition of two buildings, Dukes Memorial in 1903, and Brown Auditorium in 1905, and purchased the former Tri-county Fair Grounds in 1903 for the construction of athletic facilities. In April 1904, Belt also worked towards the addition of a medical department to Ohio Northern University through an agreement to partner with Fort Wayne College of Medicine in Indiana, an attempt that was abandoned in October 1905 when the Fort Wayne College of Medicine merged with the Indiana College of Medicine to form the School of Medicine at Purdue University. During Belt’s presidency, Ohio Northern moved from its normal school roots toward a standardized institution of higher education. President Belt resigned on June 27th, 1905 and the following April passed away at his home in Kenton, Ohio.