In 1819, Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio were founded in Cincinnati. Local benefactor Dr. Daniel Drake founded and funded the Medical College of Ohio. William Lytle of the Lytle family donated the land, funded the Cincinnati College and Law College, and served as its first president. The college survived only six years before financial difficulties forced it to close. In 1835, Daniel Drake reestablished the institution, which eventually joined with the Cincinnati Law School.
In 1858, Charles McMicken died of pneumonia and in his will he allocated most of his estate to the City of Cincinnati to found a university. The University of Cincinnati was chartered by the Ohio legislature in 1870 after delays by livestock and veal lobbyists angered by the liberal arts-centered curriculum and lack of agricultural and manufacturing emphasis. The university's board of rectors changed the institution's name to the University of Cincinnati.