Founder's Day

Bradley is the only university in the United States that was founded by a woman who funded it from her own means. Established by Lydia Moss Bradley in 1897, the University is arguably the longest-lasting and most influential legacy from the life of a woman who used her ability and her fortune to make a difference in hundreds of lives around her.

Her vision was to create a co-educational institution where students would learn “the means of living an independent, industrious and useful life by the aid of practical knowledge of the useful arts and sciences. To teach everybody to work, not only with his or her head, but with hands.”

Each year we mark the University’s anniversary with Founder’s Day. It’s our opportunity to honor Lydia’s wisdom, generosity and leadership with events and celebrations. We recognize alumni, faculty and staff who continue her vision, and the community gathers for Homecoming events like Bradley Fest and Lighting of the B.