JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY was founded in 1886 as a liberal arts college for men, initially under the name St. Ignatius College. It was operated by priests of the Buffalo Mission of the German Province of the Society of Jesus who had accepted the invitation of Bishop RICHARD GILMOUR to open a college in Cleveland. The first classes were held in a temporary two-story frame structure located on West 30th and Jersey Street (Carroll Avenue). A five-story brick structure housing both high school and college courses was completed in 1890. Administratively separated from ST. IGNATIUS HIGH SCHOOL in 1902, the college had been chartered to grant degrees in 1890 and was accredited by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools & Colleges in 1922.
In 1923 the school purchased land in UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS for its eventual relocation, and in May of that year changed its name to Cleveland University. In September 1923 its present name was adopted in honor of Archbishop John Carroll, the founder of Georgetown University. Construction began on JCU's University Heights property in 1931, but the buildings were not ready for classes until 1935. The Graduate School began admitting women in 1934, several decades before the undergraduate college became coeducational in 1968. Gradual additions to JCU campus from the late 1940s through the 1990s included a library, science center, religious center, five dormitories, an athletic field, recreation center, and the O'Malley Communications and Language Arts Center. In 1999 the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship was established as part of the university's Boler School of Business.
As of 2006, JCU's curriculum was divided into three major academic areas: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Boler School of Business, and the Graduate School. Undergraduate degree programs were offered in 44 major fields of the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and business, along with pre-professional tracks for law, medicine, dentistry, engineering, and teaching. A number of exchange programs with other Jesuit institutions included a consortial agreement with Loyola University's John Felice Rome Center in Italy. In 2006, JCU's enrollment stood at 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students, with 240 full-time faculty. At that time Reverend Robert L. Neihoff held the position of university president.