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
MottoLux Fiat
Motto in English
Let there be Light
Endowment$185 million
PresidentMauri Ditzler
Academic staff
Students1,500 full-time
30 part-time[1]
Location, ,
United States

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.


The origin of Albion College lies not in the city of Albion, but about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of the present location of the college. On March 23, 1835, Methodist Episcopal settlers in Spring Arbor Township obtained a charter for the Spring Arbor Seminary from the Michigan Territorial Legislature. Foundations for a building were begun in 1837 at a location about 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of the current village of Spring Arbor but were soon abandoned due to the economic turmoil caused by the Panic of 1837. No classes were ever held at the Spring Arbor location. The trustees applied to move the seminary to Albion in 1838, and the legislature approved the move in 1839.

With 60 acres (243,000 m²) of land donated by Albion pioneer Jesse Crowell, the cornerstone was laid for the first building in 1841. The seminary, now named the Wesleyan Seminary, first held classes in 1843, in the local Methodist Church. In 1844, classes began in the newly constructed Central Building, which was rebuilt as the present Robinson Hall in 1907.

The Albion Female Collegiate Institute was founded in 1850 by the Wesleyan Seminary Corporation. The two schools merged in 1857 under the name The Wesleyan Seminary and Female College at Albion.

On February 25, 1861, both schools were completely merged under the name Albion College when the school was fully authorized by the State legislature to confer a full four-year college degree upon both men and women.


The Albion College student body is composed of approximately 1,500 students. The student–to–faculty ratio is 11:1. The average class size of under 19 is comparable to other small liberal arts colleges. Albion College employs more than 100 full-time faculty, of whom more than 95% have earned the highest degree offered in their field.

Albion College appears on the U.S. News & World Report list of America's Top Liberal Arts Colleges. Also, Albion is a member of The Princeton Review's 376 Best Colleges and Best Midwestern Colleges list.

Academic programs

Albion College offers approximately 30 academic majors leading to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. In addition to the academic majors, numerous concentrations, academic institutes, and special programs are offered. These include the Prentiss M. Brown Honors program, The Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Fritz Shurmur Education Institute, the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service at Albion College, the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, and pre-professional programs in engineering, medicine, and law.

In addition to the facilities on Albion's campus, Albion College also offers many opportunities for students to travel and study at other institutions. Programs are offered in Philadelphia, Chicago, London, Heidelberg, Tübingen, Tokyo, Seoul, Cape Town, Aix-en-Provence, Ballyvaughan, Athens, Brussels and Paris, to name a few. Albion offers more than 100 different off-campus programs in over 60 countries on six continents.

Academic facilities

Of the numerous academic buildings at Albion College, the largest is the Science Complex. The Albion College Science Complex comprises four academic buildings: Norris Hall, Kresge Hall, Putnam Hall, and Palenske Hall, which house the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science. The four buildings are connected by a 7,000-square foot Atrium. Kresge Hall features labs for introductory chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry on the third floor. Downdraft hoods in the intro and inorganic chemistry spaces help to maintain air quality. The organic labs are equipped with 12 six-foot ventilation hoods so students can learn chemical techniques and transformations. Research space for organic and inorganic chemistry faculty can also be found on the third floor. Biochemistry research and teaching spaces are found on the second floor. These spaces were designed to share a central preparation space that houses equipment used in both research and teaching applications. Proximity to the biology department encourages collaboration between students and faculty in the different disciplines. The first floor contains various classrooms and zoology and research labs for the biology department, as well as a greenhouse. The ground floor contains a majority of the biology labs, including an aquatic lab and temperature-control suite.

Putnam Hall features research labs for analytical and physical chemistry, and an analytical chemistry teaching lab on the third floor. The second floor has three "Enhanced Classrooms" with fixed projectors for computers, DVDs, and a port to plug in additional equipment, as well as the building's primary computer lab. All four levels of Putnam Hall feature faculty and staff offices, with the third floor home to chemistry faculty offices, second floor home to biology and computer science offices, and the first floor home to the main building office. Palenske Hall features the physics, geology, and math departments. The third floor features physics faculty offices, as well as the main physics labs and electronics lab. The second floor contains the math faculty offices as well as the classrooms for math and computer science. The first floor contains the faculty offices for the geology department, as well as the main geology labs and the GIS lab. The ground floor also has several specialized geology and physics labs. Norris Hall is home to several multi-use lecture classrooms, which hold between thirty and one hundred students. The classrooms in Norris are used for a number of classes, as well as for after-hours study sessions and special programs. In addition, the Science Complex has been awarded silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system.

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. [2]

Campus life

Residential life

Albion College's 225-acre (0.91 km2) campus houses 89% of the students that attend the college in four dormitories (Wesley Hall, Seaton Hall, Whitehouse Hall, and the Mitchell Towers), upper-class apartments (the Mae Harrison Karro Residential Village, Munger Place, the Burns Street Apartments, and the Briton House Apartments), nine women-only housing options (Ingham Hall, Fiske Hall, Dean Hall, and six women-only annexes), one men-only housing option (711 Michigan Avenue), and six fraternity houses. In addition to campus housing, students live at The Goodrich Club, a housing cooperative founded in 1932. Wesley Hall traditionally houses mostly first-year students. Wesley Hall is, by far, the largest residential building on campus with over 450 residents. Mitchell Towers and Whitehouse Hall typically are home to Sophomores and some Juniors. The Burns Street Apartments and the Briton House Apartments house mostly Juniors and some Seniors, while The Mae Karro Residential Village (commonly called "The Mae") and Munger Place house Seniors. Fiske Hall is open to Sophomore, Junior, and Senior women, while Ingham Hall is open to only Junior and Senior women. The majority of rooms in Wesley and Seaton Halls house two students with residents of each hallway sharing one community bathroom. All other dormitories have suite-style housing with two rooms sharing one bathroom between them.

In 2006 Albion College designated one of the schools annexes as the "Environmental House". Since then the students who live in the house have worked towards self sustainability and raising environmental awareness on campus.

Student groups and organizations

Albion's campus is home to well over 100 student organizations. These groups—dedicated to academia, politics, sports and recreation, diversity awareness, and community service—are a large part of student life at Albion College. Groups such as Student Senate, The Nwagni Project, Karate Club, Canoe & Kayak Club, Anime Club, Medievalist Society, Habitat for Humanity International, and LGBriTs are examples of some of the prominent groups on campus. Intramural sports are another large part of campus life, with four seasons and about ten sports offered annually. One of the most engaging groups on campus is Union Board, a student run organization responsible for bringing entertainment to students, both on and off campus. Union Board brings a number of comedians, hypnotists, and other small performers to campus. They also bring to campus giant inflatable obstacle courses, climbing walls, masseuses, and dancers. Every April they host "The Big Show" at the Dow, which features a big name performer. In recent years, Albion has hosted 3 Doors Down, Dane Cook, O.A.R., Sean Kingston, and Seth Meyers. Union Board also sponsors a number of off-campus trips, most notably trips to Cedar Point and Chicago, as well as trips to see the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. All of the events and programs Union Board sponsors are free of charge to students.


The Albion College Music Department offers students numerous ensembles in which to participate. The British Eighth, the Albion College Marching Band, is one of the most visible examples of the school's mascot. The British Eighth wears uniforms reminiscent of those worn by the British Royal guards at Buckingham Palace. Under the direction of current Director of Bands Dr. Sam "Mac" McIlhagga, the band has increased in size to approximately 80 members. The British Eighth achieved national recognition by marching in the 2006 Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Albion College Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Concert Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and Briton Singers perform regularly throughout the school year. The Jazz Ensemble is particularly active in performing in the Albion community. There are a number of vocal groups on campus as well, most notably co-ed Bella Voce and co-ed Euphonics, which are both a cappella music groups that perform throughout the semester.


The Albion College Department of Theatre is a producing department that offers both a Theatre Major with a concentration track in Acting/Directing, Design/Technology, or General Theatre Studies, as well as Theatre Minor. A typical season includes 4-5 mainstage shows which are produced in the Herrick Theatre (a 280-seat proscenium) and Black Box (a multi-use space that can seat up to 150). Both theaters are located within Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. Additionally, student workshops and staged readings are produced with some frequency. In addition to the Department of Theatre, there are three theatre related student organizations: Theta Alpha Phi, Albion Players, and the Dead Pinocchio Theatre.


The Albion College Britons field 22 intercollegiate teams, eleven for men and eleven for women. Albion College is a charter member of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and competes in the NCAA. The school's Lacrosse team also competes in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference. Men's sports at Albion include cross country, football, golf, and soccer in the fall, basketball, swimming and diving in the winter, and baseball, tennis, track and field, and Lacrosse in the spring. The Albion women compete in cross country, golf, soccer, and volleyball in the fall, basketball and swimming and diving in the winter, and softball, tennis, track and field, and lacrosse in the spring. As of the 2011 Men's and Women's Lacrosse season, Albion is one of only four NCAA sanctioned Lacrosse programs in the state of Michigan with Adrian College, The University of Detroit-Mercy, and the University of Michigan.

Albion won the NCAA Division III football championship in 1994. During the 2005 season, both the men's and women's basketball teams advanced to the Division III playoffs.

Men's sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Equestrian Hunt Seat
  • Football
    • 1994 NCAA Division III National Champions [3]
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field


Women's sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Equestrian Hunt Seat
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Greek life


Albion College is home to six social fraternities:[4]

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.


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 fraternities

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

Notable alumni and faculty

Notes and references

  1. "Albion College, Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools". Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  2. "Whitehouse Nature Center". Albion College Whitehouse Nature Center. Albion College. 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  3. "Football Championship History". NCAA Football Championship History. NCAA. 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  4. "Greek Life - Albion College". Retrieved November 3, 2013.
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