Albion College

Albion College is a private liberal arts college in Albion, Michigan. The college was founded in 1835 and its undergraduate population was approximately 1,500 students in 2014.

Albion College
Albion College Shield.png
MottoLux Fiat
Motto in English
Let there be Light
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1835; 187 years ago (1835)
Academic affiliation
Annapolis Group
Endowment$161.1 million (2019)[1]
PresidentJoseph Calvaruso[2]
Academic staff
Students1,500 full-time
30 part-time[3]
Location, ,
United States

42°14′40″N 84°44′36″W / 42.2445°N 84.7434°W / 42.2445; -84.7434Coordinates: 42°14′40″N 84°44′36″W / 42.2445°N 84.7434°W / 42.2445; -84.7434
Campussmall town, 574 acres (2.32 km2)
ColorsPurple and Gold
MascotBrit the Briton

They participate in NCAA Division III and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). The college's athletic teams are nicknamed the Britons, and their colors are purple and gold.


19th-century drawing of Albion College

On March 23, 1835, Methodist settlers in Spring Arbor Township obtained a charter for a new seminary from the Michigan Territorial Legislature. Construction began in 1837 outside Spring Arbor but the Panic of 1837 ended the project. A petition to move the seminary to Albion was approved by the legislature in 1839.

Sixty acres (243,000 m2) of land were donated by Jesse Crowell to the renamed Wesleyan Seminary, and construction began in 1841. The first classes were held in 1843 in the local Methodist Church. In 1844, classes began in the newly constructed Central Building, rebuilt as the present Robinson Hall in 1907.

The Albion Female Collegiate Institute, founded in 1850, merged in 1857 under the name The Wesleyan Seminary and Female College at Albion; the merger was finalized in 1861, under the name Albion College. The legislature authorized the college to confer full four-year college degrees upon both men and women that same year.[4]

A marker designating the college as a Michigan Historic Site was erected in 1960 by the Michigan Historical Commission. The inscription reads:[5]

Methodists obtained a charter for Spring Arbor Seminary from the Territorial Council of Michigan in March, 1835. Later the institution was established in Albion on land donated by Jesse Crowell, a leading Albion pioneer and benefactor. In 1841 the cornerstone was laid for the first building, and in 1843, the institution opened as the Wesleyan Seminary. In 1861 the power to confer degrees was obtained and the school named Albion College. Support from the Methodist Church, a large endowment, and private sources have contributed to its growth as a strong liberal arts college.


Dr. Gene Cline, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, directs a seminar-style honors class

The 144-acre (0.58 km2) Whitehouse Nature Center plays an important role in classroom instruction at Albion College and offers its facilities and services as an environmental education area to public schools and the community. The Whitehouse Nature Center features six miles of trails, 400 plant species, almost 170 bird species, 25 acres of oak-hickory and flood-plain forest, a tall-grass prairie and spring in the Adele D. Whitehouse Wildflower Garden, an arboretum of Michigan trees and shrubs, 34 acres of farmland and research projects, and an interpretative building with classrooms, observation room, porch, and restrooms.[6]

A marker designating the college observatory as a Michigan Historic Site was erected in 1985 by the Bureau of History Michigan Department of State. The inscription reads:[7]

The Albion College Astronomical Observatory was built in 1883-84 at the urging of Dr. Samuel Dickie, who later became president of the college. Dickie helped raise $10,000 to build and equip the facility. The observatory still harbors its original telescope, transit circle, side-real clock and chronograph. The building has housed classrooms, a bookstore, faculty offices and the West Michigan Methodist Conference archives. In 1984, it was refurbished as the college Ethics Center.


Albion won the NCAA Division III football championship in 1994.[8]


Prior to the 2010s the enrollment was heavily white and non-low income. The numbers of black and Hispanic students increased, along with those of first-time university students and lower income students, due to a drive to increase enrollment.[9]

Greek lifeEdit


Albion College is home to six social fraternities:[10]

All six fraternities on campus are all members of the North American Interfraternity Conference and all comprise Albion College's InterFraternity Council (IFC). IFC governs and coordinates the activities of the fraternal chapters on campus. Approximately 46.6% of the male population on campus belongs to one of the six fraternities. Each of the fraternities leases a fraternity house from the college where the members of the fraternity are required to live. The song "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" was written in 1911 by Byron D. Stokes (Albion, 1913) and F. Dudleigh Vernor (Albion, 1914), and first performed by Harry Clifford (Albion, 1911) while undergraduates at Albion College.

A marker designating the college as a Michigan Historic Site for the origin of "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" was erected in 1960 by the Michigan Historical Commission. The inscription reads:[11]

It was in the spring of 1911 that two freshmen at Albion College, Byron D. Stokes and F. Dudleigh Vernor, wrote the words and music for a song they called "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi." The song made a hit with their fraternity brothers, and requests for copies came in from other chapters. Within a few years the melody and lyrics of "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" had become familiar to people around the world.


There are six general purpose social sororities. Of those six, five are members of the National Panhellenic Conference:

One of the six is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council:

The members of the six social sororities at Albion College do not live in their lodges, but rather hold meetings and other events there. All six of the sorority chapters are members of the Albion College Panhellenic Council, which governs and coordinates the activities of sorority chapters on campus. Approximately 42% of the female population on campus belongs to one of the six sororities.

Professional and honorary fraternitiesEdit

Albion College is also home to fifteen honorary, professional, service, and special interest fraternities, including:

Notable alumni and facultyEdit


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Archived from the original on August 25, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  2. ^ "Albion College president Mathew Johnson resigns, will lead new group affiliated with school". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on February 16, 2022. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  3. ^ "Albion College, Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools". Archived from the original on July 31, 2022. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  4. ^ "Albion College Overview". Albion Evening Recorder. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  5. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers - Albion College". Historical Marker Data Base. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  6. ^ "Whitehouse Nature Center". Albion College Whitehouse Nature Center. Albion College. 2019. Archived from the original on February 16, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers - The Observatory". Historical Marker Data Base. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  8. ^ "Football Championship History". NCAA Football Championship History. NCAA. 2019. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Jesse, David (February 11, 2021). "Michigan's small liberal arts colleges are in fight for survival". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  10. ^ "Greek Life - Albion College". Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers - Birthplace of Famed Song". Historical Marker Data Base. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  12. ^ "Phi Beta Kappa Founds Chapter". Michigan Daily. Vol. 51, no. 38. November 12, 1940. p. 6. Retrieved August 1, 2022.

External linksEdit