Arminius, born at Oudewater, Utrecht, became an orphan while still in infancy when his father Herman (the name Arminius/Armin represents a Latinized form of Harmenszoon, “Hermannson”, Herman’s son) died, leaving his wife a widow with small children. A priest, Theodorus Aemilius, adopted Jacobus and sent him to school at Utrecht. His mother was slain during the Spanish massacre of Oudewater in 1575. About that year the kindness of friends (see Rudolph Snellius) enabled Arminius to go to study theology at the University of Leiden.
Arminius remained at Leiden from 1576 to 1582. His teachers in theology included Lambertus Danaeus, Johannes Drusius, Guillaume Feuguereius, and Johann Kolmann. Kolmann believed and taught that high Calvinism made God both a tyrant and an executioner. Under the influence of these men, Arminius studied with success and had seeds planted that would begin to develop into a theology that would later compete with the dominant Reformed theology of John Calvin. Arminius began studying under Theodore Beza at Geneva in 1582. He answered a call to pastor at Amsterdam and became ordained in 1588. He gained a reputation as a good preacher and faithful pastor. In 1590 he married Lijsbet Reael.
Source Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Arminius