Ohio has a total of 202 colleges and universities throughout the state. Each one of these campuses holds something unique that differentiates itself from others. After reviewing the most beautiful campuses in Pennsylvania, we decided to evaluate the colleges in Ohio based on their architecture and grounds, as well as the location and environment, to come up with the 25 most beautiful college campuses.
The 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in Ohio
1. Kenyon College – Gambier, OH
The campus at Kenyon may very well be one of the most beautiful in the entire country. The “Middle Path” – a 10-foot-wide sidewalk – acts as a central tree-lined passageway for the entire campus. In the warmer months, it also serves the function of an outdoor communal space for socializing students. There are also many pieces of notable architecture, including Old Kenyon Hall, considered to be the oldest standing Gothic Revival building in the country.
2. Ohio State University – Columbus, OH
With nearly 60,000 students in total, the Columbus flagship of Ohio State is considered the third largest university campus in the country. Yet, even though it takes up a massive 1,765 acres, the campus has a number of elements that make it unique and inspiring for attending students. The central quad, known as the Oval, has four buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the legendary Ohio Stadium where the Buckeyes football team plays. On the other end of the architectural spectrum, the campus’s renowned Wexner Center for the Arts is set in a “deconstructivist” building and regularly brings world-class art to the university.
3. Miami University – Oxford, OH
Even though its name reminds one of a certain Southern oceanside city, this university’s campus has been integral to Oxford, Ohio for over two centuries. With more than 2,000 acres of campus, the school has a number of historic buildings, many of them in the Georgian Revival style. One notable building is Langstroth Cottage, designed in the the Greek Revival style and once home the home of apiarist L.L. Langstroth, considered the father of modern beekeeping. Another piece of history: Elliott and Stoddard Halls are known to be the oldest functional dormitories in the state.
4. Ohio University – Athens, OH
Bordered by the picturesque Hocking River, Ohio University’s campus stretches out to 1,800 acres in total. The river provides both tranquil scenery and recreation, with an extensive bike path that runs directly beside it. College Green, the central quad, is home to many of the notable buildings on campus, including the landmark Manasseh Cutler Hall, a cupola-topped National Historic Landmark in the late Federalist-style. The campus also has numerous gardens and tree-lined paths that make for great outdoor social spaces.
5. Antioch College – Yellow Springs, OH
The rural campus of this long-standing bastion for progressive education is one of the prettiest in the state. In the quaint town of Yellow Springs, the school is impressive in both its history and in its natural surroundings. The famed modern architect Eero Saarinen designed the stately Birch Hall dormitory and the Olive Kittering Library is well known as a repository for books, music and the renowned Antioch Review literary journal. The school also runs a successful sustainable farm on campus and is responsible for maintaining the nearby 1,000-acre Glen Helen Nature Preserve.
6. Oberlin College – Oberlin, OH
As one of the Midwest’s premiere liberal arts colleges, Oberlin’s campus has a lot to offer. Despite its small student population, the 440-acre school has a celebrated Conservatory of Music that attracts world-class performers and an excellent art museum that has been recognized as one of the top college museums in the country. The campus has a lovely Japanese-inspired pond that was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect behind the original World Trade Towers. Tappan Square, a 13-acre green that surrounds the college and connects it with the nearby town, is the location for many cultural events throughout the year.
7. Ohio Northern University – Ada, OH
Considered one of the prestigious colleges in the region, Ohio Northern’s campus has a beautiful rural setting and a cozy atmosphere in its 342 acres. The state-of-the-art Dicke College of Business Administration is one of the more recent buildings on campus and features a two-story, 160-long atrium. The stately Dukes Memorial Building is one of the older buildings on campus and now houses the English Department. The O.N.U. campus is dedicated to a variety of sustainability efforts, including the construction of wind turbines and the use of geothermal heating.
8. Otterbein University – Westerville, OH
Bordered by the gently flowing Alum Creek on one side and busy Ohio State Route 3 on the other, Otterbein’s campus packs a lot into a relatively small 140-acre space. The oldest building on campus is the 55,000 square-foot Towers Hall, which opened in 1871 and today houses several different academic departments. Just over a decade old, the Frank Museum of Art has an extensive collection of art from Africa, Japan and New Guinea in a former faculty house. Memorial Stadium, home to the school’s football team, has state-of-the-art locker rooms for athletes and the immense Rike Recreation Center has facilities for a number of sports for students.
9. Ohio Wesleyan University – Delaware, OH
Adjacent to downtown Delaware, this small 200-acre campus has a lot to offer to its students and staff. One special architectural and scientific gem is the Perkins Observatory, which, when it was built in 1931, was home to the third-largest telescope in the world. The school also operates the local Strand Theatre, as well as the lush Kraus Wilderness Preserve and Bohannan Nature Preserve. Elliott Hall, which was the first building constructed on the campus, is the oldest Greek Revival in the state.
10. University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH
What began as the Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio in 1819 is today the modern 473-acre urban campus of the Univeristy of Cincinnati. Perhaps more than many universities in this country, the school is devoted to championing cutting-edge contemporary architecture. The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, designed by Frank Gehry and the firm BHDP, is an angular brick building that is remarkably distinct.
11. John Carroll University – University Heights, OH
A small campus in suburban Cleveland, the campus of John Carroll University is uniformly stately and elegant. The majority of the twenty main buildings on this 63-acre campus follow the popular Collegiate Gothic style. The Administration Building, done in a red brick design, is modeled to look similar to Hampton Court, the English royal palace. For outside recreational opportunities, students go to Thorne Acres, not far from campus in nearby Chardon.
12. Kent State University – Kent, OH
One of the largest universities in Ohio, Kent State has over 30,000 students on its main campus alone and another 10,000 throughout the surrounding regional campuses. Covering 866 acres in total, with over 100 buildings on its grounds, the campus in Kent is fairly sprawling. Kent Hall, the oldest building on campus, is a dignified structure replete with tall Grecian-style columns. Though despite its populated feel, the campus also has numerous gardens and green spaces, as well as wetlands and wildlife refuges near the school.
13. University of Akron – Akron, OH
Taking up over 200 urban acres, the University of Akron is one of the state’s more esteemed STEM-focused schools. When the university opened as Buchtel College in 1872, it was housed in a single building, now known as “Old Buchtel”. Today, the school has a number of sleek buildings that contrast with its early days, including the angular Student Union and the immense InfoCision Stadium. Perhaps the most eye-catching piece of architecture on campus now is the 12-story reflective glass building that holds the College of Polymer Science.
14. Xavier University – Cincinnati, OH
As both the sixth-oldest Catholic and fourth-oldest Jesuit university in the country, it’s no surprise that the architecturally stunning Bellarmine Chapel is a centerpiece of the campus. The school has six buildings with castle-like design, all of which overlook the nearby Victoria Parkway and resemble a united fortress. The oldest of these, Hinkle Hall, is a three-story Tudor-Gothic structure that was made to resemble a particular Spanish Castle. The Xavier Yard is a popular all-purpose green space that is used for casual socializing and scheduled events.
15. Baldwin Wallace University – Berea, OH
When the longstanding Baldwin Institute and the nearby Wallace College merged in 1913, they created this liberal arts college in the suburban town of Berea. Many of the campus buildings date from the mid-20th century and the school especially prides itself on its plentiful green space. The North Quad has an extensive tree collection, a greenhouse and a wide array of plants native to Ohio. The North Campus Historic District is home to the oldest architecture on campus, including the picturesque Wheeler Hall and impressive Carnegie Hall.
16. Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, OH
Only a handful of miles from downtown Cleveland, the Case Western campus is right next to the city’s park-like Wade Park District and has a number of significant buildings in a verdant setting of its own. The Mather Quad is the central concourse on the campus, with many academic department buildings, the library and the student center placed around its perimeter. The newest residential complex, called The Village, houses upperclassmen in sleek LEED-certified apartments near the athletic stadium. There are a number of tree-lined pathways around the campus that provide a great outdoor social space in warmer months.
17. University of Dayton – Dayton, OH
The 388-acre campus at the University of Dayton is split into four distinct sections: Historic Campus, Campus West, River Campus and the Arena Sports Complex. The Immaculate Conception Chapel, within the area of the Historic Campus, is a local landmark and inspired the university’s outlined cupola logo. Alongside the numerous pieces of historic architecture are a handful of immense cutting-edge buildings, like the 125,000-square-foot RecPlex athletic center. Just outside of the campus is a large student neighborhood, where students can live in more than 300 university-owned houses.
18. Ashland University – Ashland, OH
A medium-sized private Christian college, Ashland has one primary campus and several other centers throughout the state. The 135-acre main campus carries a lot of history on its suburban grounds. The first buildings on campus, Founders Hall and Allen Hall, were even constructed from bricks made on the site in the 1879. After some financial problems in the 1970s, the school rebounded the following decade and began to grow exponentially, until several new academic buildings were made to accommodate growing interest in the school.
19. College of Wooster – Wooster, OH
For a small liberal arts college, the College of Wooster has a great deal of focus on its scenic beauty. The beautiful tree-lined south mall is a major pedestrian thoroughfare and is surrounded by several science-related academic buildings. Another notable outdoor space is the photogenic hilltop Oak Grove, which is often a location for weddings and other events. Wooster is considered a “Tree Campus USA” and has the goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 36% within the decade.
20. Capital University – Columbus, OH
The oldest university in central Ohio and one of the largest Lutheran-affiliated universities in the country, Capital has a small campus with plenty of amenities. The recently renovated Harry C. Moores Campus Center is one of the primary meeting spaces on campus; it contains both the mailroom and the main dining facilities at the school. The four-story Blackmore Library is another important building on campus, as it holds computer labs, library collections and the excellent Shumacher Gallery. A piece of the Berlin Wall is a popular attraction in the gallery, regularly drawing students and tourists alike.
21. Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, OH
The main campus for Bowling Green State is a diverse 1,338-acre space, populated by many historic buildings and open green spaces. The school takes up a one-and-a-half-mile-long by one-mile-wide rectangle and the oldest section of the campus is in the southwest corner of this space. With turn-of-the-century era buildings and tree-lined lawns, the area is home to academic buildings, offices and dorms. In Central Campus, the 95,000 square-foot Olscamp Hall is notable for its immense size; it can hold a total of 2,000 students in its 28 classrooms and lecture halls.
22. Walsh University – North Canton, OH
Founded in 1960 by the Brothers of Christian Instruction as a liberal arts college, the school became Walsh University in 1993. The main campus – there are others around Ohio and one in Italy – is set on a 136-acre plot of land in suburban North Canton. The Peace Pole on campus is meant to represent the many peace activists who have visited the school, ranging from Mother Teresa to Coretta Scott King. There are a total of 26 buildings on campus that hold a wide range of academic departments, including multiple graduate fields of study.
23. Denison University – Granville, OH
As the second-oldest liberal arts college in the state, Denison has a lot of history throughout its 1,100 acre campus. At the center of campus is the stately Swasey Chapel, the first building at Denison, which today hosts many events in its 990-seat interior. There are eighteen academic buildings at the university, many representing different architectural styles and historical periods. The school also maintains an adjacent 400-acre biological reserve, where science classes frequently go for research projects and students can explore in their free time.
24. Malone University – Canton, OH
On a modest 96 acres, Malone is a private school in urban Canton devoted to Christian study. The school follows a uniform red brick aesthetic throughout the campus, with a central quad that provides a central meeting place outdoors. One of the more prominent buildings on Malone’s campus is the Johnson Center, which doubles as the home for both religious studies and for the arts. The stained glass window above Mitchell Hall welcomes students who choose to take classes in the School of Education and Human Development.
25. Cedarville University – Cedarville, OH
As an independent Baptist school, Cedarville is one the more prominent religious universities in the state. Originally, the campus was solely in the village of Cedarville, but now it extends into what was once 400 acres of pastoral farmland. A handful of the buildings from that early period still remain – including Founder’s Hall, where the president’s office is located, and Collins Hall, which houses the History Department. The majority of campus buildings are from the mid-century period and follow that era’s low and flat style of architecture.