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A Presbyterian minister and a missionary founded Oberlin in The duo, the Rev. John J. Shipherd and Philo P. Stewartbecame friends while spending the summer of together in nearby Elyria. They discovered a mutual disenchantment with what they saw as the lack of strong Christian principles among the settlers of the American West.
Stewart and Shipherd adopted some of the ideas of the man who inspired them: Alsatian pastor John Frederick Oberlinwho pioneered educational programs, established schools, built ro, and introduced the trades of masonry and blacksmithing throughout poor communities in France.
With their own labor and faith, combined with funding from several wealthy sources, they established the town and the college on about acres of donated land with about 40 other individuals. In springthe first settler, Peter Pindar Peasebuilt his log house at the center of Oberlin. That December, 29 men and 15 women began classes as the first students of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute. The concept attracted many bright young people who would otherwise not have been able to afford tuition.
Eventually this approach was discontinued, although the motto remained. Shipherd and Stewart soon gained the support of Charles Grandison Finneyone of the great revivalists of the 19th century. He later served as the second president of the college after social reformer and abolitionist Asa Mahanwho served from The college and community thrived on progressive causes and social justice. While Oberlin was coeducational from its founding inthe college regularly admitted black students beginning inafter trustee and abolitionist, the Rev. John Keep, cast the deciding vote to allow them entry.
Prior to that, they received diplomas from what was called the Ladies Course. The college admitted its first group of women in Caroline Mary RuddElizabeth PrallMary Hosfordand Mary Fletcher Kelloggalthough Kellogg did not complete her degree in along with the others. InGeorge B. The college experienced financial difficulties in its early years. Shipherd went on several fundraising tours out East, while trustees John Keep and William Dawes journeyed to Britain to generate financial support.
Keep and Dawes lectured about Oberlin in private homes, meeting houses, and church halls, raising funds primarily from the abolitionist community. The name reflected a gradual shift in the curriculum and educational focus, which transitioned the institution from a preparatory, manual labor, and theology-based program to one that offered formal instruction and coursework in the classics, sciences, the fine arts, and music, among other disciplines.
The conservatory became part of the college intwo years after its founding as a private school.
Oberlin was a key stop along the Underground Railroadan informal network of back-road routes and safe houses used to harbor escaped slaves seeking freedom in the Northern states and Canada. The liberators were jailed in Cleveland for violating the Fugitive Slave Act and for their part in the rescue but eventually gained release.
The case drew national coverage. The town and college continued to grow, adding academic divisions, modern public facilities, a water and sewage system, postal service, and such campus buildings as Peters Hall, Talcott Hall, Baldwin Cottage, Carnegie Library, Severance Chemical Laboratory, and Wilder Hall.
These thick, stately constructions were made of blocks of rough-textured buff Ohio sandstone, removed from a site just six miles north of Oberlin.
Intercollegiate sports made their way to Oberlin in The Cleveland native led the team to a record in his second year. Oberlin, though progressive in many ways, also had a history of temperance. This position led citizens to establish the Anti-Saloon Leaguewhich sought to keep the community tobacco and alcohol free. The group became one of the most effective single-issue lobby organizations in American political history and was active in the national drive for the Prohibition Amendment of the s.
They developed a business plan for a cooperative residence hall for men and women. College faculty approved the plan and Pyle-Inn became one of the first student-run co-ops in the country. The Chicago Tribuneafter a national survey, named Oberlin the one coeducational liberal arts college, ahead of such institutions as Swarthmore, Carleton, Reed, Lawrence, Kalamazoo, and Hope. From Henry Brownthe first acting president; to Henry Churchill Kingthe longest serving; to Nancy Schrom Dyethe first woman; each has offered reasoned initiatives and a unique style of leadership to address the demands of the time.
Ambar, the first African American and second woman to lead the institution, began her tenure September 1. Browse History of Oberlin Presidents. Carmen Twillie Ambar, president Leadership and Administration. Most faculty are active researchers and are among the foremost authorities in their fields.
The Allen Memorial Art Museum was established in and has collections that place it among the top five college art museums in the nation. The Apollo Theatre, one of the few continuously running, single-screen movie houses in the country, was established in The Mary Church Terrell Main library in Mudd Learning Center, and three other campus libraries specializing in music, art, and science, house more than 2.
The college and conservatory sponsor more than concerts and recitals, about 40 theater and dance productions, and two operas each year. Oberlin College Lanes is the only bowling center in northeast Ohio that is an alcohol-free and smoke-free facility. A student walks through Tappan Square considered the gateway between the college and city. Founders A Presbyterian minister and a missionary founded Oberlin in Origins Stewart and Shipherd adopted some of the ideas of the man who inspired them: Alsatian pastor John Frederick Oberlinwho pioneered educational programs, established schools, built ro, and introduced the trades of masonry and blacksmithing throughout poor communities in France.
A Town of Firsts The college and community thrived on progressive causes and social justice. Those donations saved Oberlin. Progressive Progress Oberlin, though progressive in many ways, also had a history of temperance.
Students 54 percent women; 46 percent men 20 percent students of colorSeeking over 40 woman for Oberlin
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