Oberlin College founded — December 3, 1833
This week marks the anniversary of when Oberlin College, a Christian school based in Oberlin, Ohio, was founded by the Rev. John Jay Shipherd and missionary Philo Penfield Stewart.
The goal of Shipherd and Stewart was to create a school and community “where they would train teachers and other Christian leaders for the boundless most desolate fields in the West.”
“With their own labor and faith, combined with funding from several wealthy sources, they established the town and the college on about 500 acres of donated land with about 40 other individuals,” explained the college on its website.
“In spring 1833, the first settler, Peter Pindar Pease, built 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.”
Originally known as the Oberlin Collegiate Institute, it was named after John Frederick Oberlin, a pastor known for his philanthropic work among lower-income communities in France.
Asa Mahan, abolitionist and pastor at Sixth Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, became the first president of the college, holding the post until his resignation in 1850.