In 1885, the Presbyterian Synod of Michigan appointed a committee to consider the establishment of a Presbyterian College within the state and to secure funds for its foundation.
This committee included notable names such as J. Ambrose Wight, who preached about the need for such a college, inspiring wealthy lumberman Alexander Folsom to pledge $50,000 to the cause.
With additional pledges, the committee found Ammi W. Wright, an Alma lumberman with several business interests who was eager to promote religious causes. He offered two buildings to the College and about 30 acres of land.
On Sept. 12, 1887, Alma College opened, with 95 students at the time.
Prior to 1934, the Alma mascot was the Fighting Presbyterians, which became the subject of debate in 1931 due to a series of stories by the The Almanian, a student-run newspaper, expressing discontentment over the limitation on cheers to “Go Presbyterians” or “Go Campbellites,” the latter in support of then current football coach, Royal Campbell. While still maintaining a close relationship with the Presbyterian Church, Alma College offers an environment that welcomes students of all religious backgrounds.
In more than 100 years since its founding, Alma has stayed true to its roots by keeping its Scottish heritage alive. Today, Alma features a marching band clad in kilts, a Scottish Highlands dance troupe, and even its own official tartan. Each year, the College hosts the Alma Highland Festival and Games which feature traditional Scottish games and revelry. In 2011 Alma expanded its Highland Arts Program and participated in its first Piping competition at the 2011 Alma Highland Festival and Games. And of course Almas teams are known as the Scots.
Alma has an enrollment of 1,464 students (46 percent men and 54 percent women).
125 Defining Moments from Accents the Alma College Alumni Magazine, Winter 2011