First called New College, then Waynesburg College, this university was founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Hanna Hall at College and Washington streets was the first building constructed, in 1850. It was later named for Reverend William Hanna, who paid for a new roof in 1899. Similar to the courthouse, although without a portico, this tall Greek Revival structure has a simple pediment above the facade and a domed cupola, which has lost much of its original exterior detail. Originally, Hanna Hall housed a second-floor chapel that was reached by a pair of dogleg stairs at the south front of the building. Today, it is used as a classroom building.
In 1872, increased enrollment from returning Civil War veterans and the expansion of the five other colleges within a fifty-mile radius prompted the board of trustees to authorize the building of Miller Hall (1874–1890, James W. Drum; 51 W. College Street), ultimately named for the college president A. B. Miller. The student body made over 800,000 bricks between 1875 and 1877 for the building's construction. But the devastating economic depression of 1873, and a determination to build only what could be paid for in advance, delayed the building's opening for nearly twenty-five years. The commanding Second Empire structure of three-and-one-half stories has a mansard roof and central five-story tower. It is the tallest building in Waynesburg, as well as the symbol of the university. By the time it was completed, the Second Empire style was out of fashion, and its architectural details reveal the building as the product of an earlier time. On the third floor, a vaulted room called Alumni Hall can accommodate 1,000 people, and its stained glass windows, donated by alumni, depict the college's history. The adjacent five blocks of city parkland lend a picturesque quality to the
Additional buildings were constructed in the mid-twentieth century. Then, in 1992, the administration hired Carl Johnson, landscape architect of the Michigan firm, Johnson, Johnson and Roy, to create a twenty-year master plan, which the school implemented in five years. Two new campus buildings designed by Valentour English Bodnar and Howell of Pittsburgh began the most recent building campaign and changed the appearance of the college. The award-winning angular Performing Arts Center (PAC) of 1996 blends with the older campus in its use of banded red brick throughout and a tall pyramidal roof. The PAC's complex plan includes a 250-seat auditorium fitted with state-of-the-art electronic light and sound systems for lectures and conferences. To the east across a newly defined quadrangle lies the student center, Stover Hall (1998). Its postmodern design is highlighted by the oversized fanlight and colonnade on the west facade.