The College has a pioneering heritage, originally serving the educational needs of settlers' children and Indians alike. Albion also is one of the earliest Midwest schools to introduce coeducation.
Thanks to the efforts of Methodists who were early settlers of Michigan Territory, the College was awarded a charter by the Michigan Territorial Legislature in 1835. Early attempts at coeducation were made in 1850 when the legislature approved the founding of the "Albion Female Collegiate Institute." This school for women was controlled by the Wesleyan Seminary corporation until 1857 when the two schools merged under the name of "The Wesleyan Seminary and Female College at Albion."
On February 25, 1861, Albion was fully authorized by the State legislature to confer a full four-year college degree upon both men and women.
From the time the cornerstone was laid for the first permanent building in 1840 until today, Albion College has remained on the same site, the original part of which is now affectionately called "the Quad." In 1861 there were only two classroom buildings. By 1901, Albion had added a chapel, an observatory, a gymnasium, a chemistry building and a library.
Today Albion stands on 225 acres with more than 30 major buildings, and from 500 students in 1901, enrollment has grown to 1,900 students. Full-time faculty today number 126, and the College has over 17,000 living alumni.
Emphasis on excellence in liberal arts education became the Albion College hallmark through the years, and in 1940 Albion was the first private college in Michigan to be awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Today the College remains true to its liberal arts commitment.
Following an in-depth planning process under the leadership of President Peter T. Mitchell, Albion has developed a distinct and compelling Vision for its future. Central to "Liberal Arts at Work" is the enhancement of the College's liberal arts curriculum with the addition of the First-Year Experience, preprofessional Institutes, and the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. The Vision implementation plan was formally adopted by the Board of Trustees in April 1999.
The campus itself has also changed dramatically in recent years. Since 1975, Albion has built the Herrick Center for Speech and Theatre, Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium, the Whitehouse Interpretive Center, Dean Aquatic Center, Mudd Learning Center, Olin Hall, Dow Recreation and Wellness Center, Kellogg Center, the Mae Harrison Karro Residential Village, the Ferguson Student, Technology, and Administrative Services Building and Kresge Hall. In addition, Robinson and Vulgamore halls have been thoroughly renovated.
Albion's Principals and Presidents
Charles F. Stockwell, Principal, 1843-1845
Clark T. Hinman, Principal, 1846-1853
Ira Mayhew, Principal, 1853-1854
Thomas H. Sinex, President, 1854-1864
George B. Jocelyn, President, 1864-1869 and 1871-1877
J. L. G. McKown, President, 1869-1870
William B. Silber, President, 1870-1871
Lewis R. Fiske, President, 1877-1898
John P. Ashley, President, 1898-1901
Dr. Samuel Dickie, President, 1901-1921
John W. Laird, President, 1921-1924
Dr. John L. Seaton, President, 1924-1945
Dr. William W. Whitehouse, President, 1945-1960
Dr. Louis W. Norris, President, 1960-1970
Dr. Bernard T. Lomas, President, 1970-1983
Dr. Melvin L. Vulgamore, President, 1983-1997
Dr. Peter T. Mitchell, President, 1997-