The Meadville Theological School was founded in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1844. Its founder was a prosperous businessman, Harm Jan Huidekoper, who had discovered Unitarianism and wanted to help spread its message of liberality and hope in the "west." From its very beginning, no doctrinal test has ever been made a part of admission to our theological school. To become less isolated and to find a more enriching intellectual environment, Meadville moved in 1926 to become a part of the University of Chicago academic community.
Lombard College, originally the Illinois Liberal Institute, was founded in 1851 in Galesburg, Illinois, and its Universalist Divinity School opened in 1881 in Chicago. When the undergraduate college discontinued operations during the Great Depression, the Divinity School began a merger process with Meadville.
From 1929 to 2011, Meadville Lombard was located at South Woodlawn Avenue in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Meadville Lombard began a new chapter with its relocation to Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago's South Loop.