D.L. Moody's interest in educational endeavors took root in the summer of 1870, when he met Miss Emma Dryer, principal and teacher at Illinois State Normal University. The following year, while ministering to the needs of thousands who were left homeless by the Chicago Fire, Dryer began developing a program of Bible study, teaching and home visitation for young women.
Mr. Moody persuaded Dryer to stay in Chicago and carry on her Bible work under the auspices of his church. During the next decade, Moody continued his involvement in evangelistic work, and Dryer developed the training program among women in Chicago. At every opportunity she encouraged Moody to start a training school for young men and women.
Early in 1883, several Chicago residents began meeting weekly with Dryer to pray that Moody would return to Chicago and develop the new school. During a Jan. 22, 1886 meeting in Chicago to discuss city evangelization, the subject of a training school again came up.
Thus the Chicago Evangelization Society, later renamed Moody Bible Institute, was born. In January 1901, the Moody Correspondence School was established . In October 1903, Moody's Evening School was created. In 1985, Moody Bible Institute started Moody Graduate School to provide excellent biblical leadership training. Two name changes have followed: in 2009, to Moody Graduate School and Seminary, then to Moody Theological Seminary in 2011.
In 2010, Michigan Theological Seminary merged with Moody Theological Seminary to become Moody Theological Seminary–Michigan. Since 1993, Moody Bible Institute has offered classes in Spokane, Wash., first as an extension site known as Moody Northwest Center for External Studies. In 2005, Moody Aviation—Moody's program focused on training missionary pilots—was relocated from Tennessee to its current site in Spokane.