Roberts Wesleyan College was founded in 1866 by anti-slavery, social equality and women’s rights activist Benjamin Titus Roberts. Originally known as Chili Seminary, the institution was the first educational establishment affiliated with the Free Methodists in the USA. The seminary was built on farm land purchased in Rochester, New York by Roberts and his wife Ellen. Classes began for local children in one room of the farm house. The farm kept working and students learned by working on the land as well as studying in the classroom. In 1885 the school received a gift of $30,000 from A.M. Chesbrough and the institution was remained Chesbrough Seminary in his honour. In 1945 the college was renamed Roberts Junior College in honour of its founder and the role he played in establishing the Free Methodist Church. When the college received accreditation and began awarding four-year baccalaureate degrees it changed its name again, to Roberts Wesleyan College.
Today Roberts Wesleyan College is a private, coeducational college offering a Christian liberal arts and pre-professional education to roughly 2,000 students. There are a wide range of study options available with over 60 undergraduate degrees alone. The college offers 13 graduate level qualifications as well as online distance courses and a doctorate-level psychology degree. The college established the Northeastern Seminary in 1998 which offers Master of Theology, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.
The main campus features the college’s main academic and residential buildings as well as sports and leisure facilities for use by students. Campus also include a 1,000 seat auditorium, college bookshop and library as well as the Pearce Memorial Free Methodist Church.