Olivet College, Michigan’s first coeducational college and the first college to admit blacks, was established on this day in February 24, 1844.
The college — named for Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives — didn’t get a charter in 1845, likely because of its abolitionist views, but it ultimately received one in 1859.
The school was founded by the Rev. John J. Shipherd, a Congregational minister, who had cofounded Oberlin College in Ohio in 1833 and came to Michigan with 39 missionaries. The institution bought 40 acres for $100, and the first classes were held in a log cabin that December.
Olivet College Today
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Zlati Meyer, “Michigan’s 1st coed college, Olivet, founded in 1844”, Detroit Free Press, February 22, 2015.