Motto in English
|Let there be Light|
|Campus||small town, 574 acres (2.32 km2)|
|Colors||Purple and Gold |
|Mascot||Brit the Briton|
Albion College is a private liberal arts college located in Albion, Michigan. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, it was founded in 1835 and was the first private college in Michigan to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Its student population during the 2013-14 academic year was approx. 1,350.
As of 2013, Albion College was ranked No. 100 in the U.S. News & World Report list of national liberal arts colleges, and 115th in the Forbes list of America's Top Colleges, which includes universities as well as colleges. U.S. News also includes a high school counselor ranking, in which Albion placed 85th among national liberal arts colleges.
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. 
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 expansive 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.
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 in state-of-the-art facilities. 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 self-guided trails, 400 plant species, 168 bird species, 25 acres (100,000 m2) 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 (140,000 m2) of farmland and research projects, and an interpretative building with classrooms, observation room, porch, and restrooms. Every spring a controlled burn is performed in the prairie section of the nature center in order to restore and perpetuate the native prairie ecosystem.
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.
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 Department is currently chaired by Dr. Maureen Balke.
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 Pinnocchio Theatre.
2006 was the beginning of significant change at Albion College starting with a movement to create a more sustainable environment, for both the students and residents of Albion. The Dining and Hospitality Services and the grounds department at the college were the first to make the transition. Dining services introduced organic foods into the diets of students on campus while making an effort to purchase from Michigan-based suppliers. Baldwin Dining Hall replaced the napkin baskets with napkin dispensers to eliminate waste. The grounds department made an impact by installing new sprinkler systems that use significantly less water. In the fall of 2009 the sports fields and athletic department branch of the grounds department installed rain gardens. The gardens simply collect the surface water from the outdoor tennis courts. Of leaves collected, 99% are mulched into the grass around campus, saving a half pound of nitrogen each year. The grounds department went from throwing away 700 cubic yards of leaves to only 7 cubic yards.
All academic, administrative, and residential buildings are controlled through the Siemens Building Automation System, the college's central plant system. Kresge Hall, the college's primary athletic gym, uses a heat recovery system to maximize energy efficiency in a building which requires 100% makeup air. Whitehouse Hall, Seaton Hall, and Baldwin Hall have all been refitted with thermal pane windows and new washers and dryers to maximize energy efficiency. During academic break periods, buildings are closed, equipment is shut down, and temperatures are lowered to help reduce energy consumption.
Lighting on campus has been updated to more environmentally friendly and economically efficient systems. The first stages of this plan included making lighting more economically and environmentally beneficial in the Dow Center's Lomas Field house, Kresge Gymnasium, Whitehouse Hall, Robinson Hall, and the six fraternity houses. The Dow's 150 lights were replaced by 100 fluorescent lights, using two-thirds the energy and emitting almost double the amount of light.
Buildings have been outfitted with state-of-the-art light sensor equipment. The sensors turn on lighting only when a room is occupied. The conversion of exterior lighting to HPS (high pressure sodium) is made for maximum energy efficiency. Interior lights turn off when the monitors in the room sense a certain amount of daylight, saving energy by utilizing natural light. This reduces the number of bulbs and increases light.
By 2010, the Albion College sustainability movement was in full swing. This marked the launch of the college's "Year of Sustainability". The themed year was created to make students aware of their impact. The year-long theme was incorporated to nearly every aspect of life on campus. The year began with a "Week of Impact", a celebration designed to kick off the life-style change. The week included days aimed at physical health, waste-management, and open discussion presentations. Other events are scheduled throughout the academic year.
Students have taken the initiative to help Albion College to become a self-sustaining campus. Such programs include various groups and clubs with the same goals as the college, creating inventive ways to maintain a sustained living environment. The Sustainability Council, the Albion College Environmental House, The Whitehouse Nature Center, and the Ecological Awareness Club were created to educate and entertain the students, the faculty, and the general public about sustainability and reducing environmental impacts.
In October 2009 Albion College made history by receiving certifications from both The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP) and The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). The MTESP recognizes environmental achievements, and the MAEAP "develop and implement a proactive environmental assurance program ensuring that Michigan farmers are engaging in cost-effective pollution prevention practices and working to comply with state and federal environmental regulations". Albion College is the first college among higher education institutions to earn these state certifications.
The "Year of Wellness" kicked off at Albion College for the 2011 year, and is the second of three themed years, following the success of the college's "Year of Sustainability" in 2010. The themed year was created to expand awareness of all aspects of health and wellness, focusing on six general areas: Physical, Psychological, Occupational, Cultural, Environmental, and Spiritual. Students at Albion College have stepped up to make the themed year a dramatic success which is supported by all aspects of the campus life. The Dow Recreation and Wellness Center and Kresge Gymnasium are the two athletic facilities on campus which see increased use as students work on the physical aspect of wellness. Free yoga classes help to reinforce the idea of physical wellness, as well as link the idea of physical wellness to that of psychological wellness.
Psychological wellness is also supported by Albion College Counseling Services (CS), which provides free counseling services to students on campus, as well as a number of support groups. The Office of Career Development offers a number of Career Spa Packages in what is called Occupational Wellness Month, and seminars on retirement readiness and financial planning are also offered. There are various lectures and seminars offered to support the ideas of cultural and spiritual Wellness, as well as additional support offered through a number of different clubs and organizations on Albion's campus. Environmental wellness is the college's way of maintaining the theme of wellness, while still keeping the idea of the "Year of Sustainability" in student's minds, so that the principles can be maintained and expanded upon. One of the most significant changes on campus during this themed year was the addition of Bon Appetit Management Company to the dining staff on campus. Since the addition of Bon Appetit, the dining on campus has undergone significant change, most notably the ideas of purchasing food from local farms and preparing food options from scratch as opposed to using prepackaged and less healthy foods.
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. Throughout the 2006 season, the men have been ranked in the top 10 by D3Hoops.com  since the beginning of the season.
Albion College has a number of athletic facilities which are in the process of a multi-step upgrade initiative. The first phase of the athletic upgrades finished just in time for the Fall 2011 athletic season. This first phase included a $1.1 million renovation of the football stadium and track. The old grass football field, named in honor of longtime Albion football and baseball coach Morley Fraser, was replaced with artificial turf, providing a first-class playing surface. Over the summer, workers installed a new drainage system for the field, topped with a crushed stone base, cushioned infill, and artificial turf. On September 24, 2011, the field was dedicated and renamed Schmidt-Fraser Field, retaining the name of the old football coach, but also honoring Pete Schmidt, the head football coach that guided the Britons to their 1994 NCAA Division III football championship. Surrounding Schmidt-Fraser field is the Elkin Issac Track, which also saw summer renovation. It was replaced with a new base and all-weather running surface. A cement footboard was installed to level the track with the field. The upgrade also included new cages for the discus and hammer, as well as a launch area for javelin throwing events. The stadium itself remains named Sprankle-Sprandel stadium in honor of two Albion athletic and academic legends: Dale Sprankle, who won 23 MIAA championships in four sports over a 26-year span as a teacher, coach, and athletic director; and Walter Sprandel, a championship coach in track and basketball while at Olivet and Albion, and later Albion's dean of students for parts of two decades. The average attendance at Sprankle-Sprandel stadium is about 3,000, which definitely helps with Albion's home-field advantage. In the 26-year history of the stadium, the Britons have won the league title 15 times.
Adjacent to Sprankle-Sprandle stadium is the Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. The Dow is devoted to educational and recreational purposes, which includes individual and group sports activities, physical conditioning, and health and wellness programs. Located at the Dow, the Lomas Fieldhouse contains flexible court space for intramural sports, such as basketball and volleyball, as well as two racquetball courts, a weight room, and various locker rooms, classrooms, and offices. Also located at the Dow is the Dean Aquatic Center. The Aquatic Center has a T-shaped pool, measuring 25 yards by 25 meters, and a hot tub. The diving area has 1- and 3-meter diving boards. Connected to the northern wall of the Lomas Fieldhouse is the Ungrodt Tennis Center, which has four indoor tennis courts, two coaches' offices, and an upper mezzanine viewing area. This more than 30,000-square-foot center is in addition to the six outdoor tennis courts which were reconstructed and enhanced in 1997. The enhancement project provided new fencing, windscreens, nets, and benches. It also provided for four sets of bleachers for spectators.
Behind both the Dow and Sprankle-Sprandel stadium is Albion's Alumni Field. Alumni Field houses several different fields, including Dempsey Field, home to the softball team, Joranko Field, home to the baseball team (named for Albion athlete and coach Frank Joranko), as well as practice fields for the lacrosse teams, soccer teams, and football team, as well as the British Eighth Marching Band and the intramural sports on Albion's campus. The field was renovated in 2003 with an underground irrigation system and a complete renovation of the soccer field. Dempsey Field is surrounded with portable fencing and also features pitching warm-up areas, a batting cage, permanent seating, and a press box which handles scoreboard, statistical and media functions, and capabilities for live radio, cable, and internet play-by-play. Similarly, Joranko Field features permanent seating, a press box, expanded dugouts with space for equipment storage, and an enclosed batting cage. Joranko Field is one of the best maintained playing surfaces in the MIAA.
Located apart from the other athletic facilities is Kresge Gymnasium. Kresge is located on the Quad on main campus and hosts the main gym for the basketball and volleyball programs at Albion College. Kresge Gymnasium was renovated in 1988 and expanded to hold two full volleyball courts for practices and tournaments, as well as retractable seating for 1,400 people and a regulation-length basketball court with expanded practice areas. Until the Dean Aquatic Center was built in 1979, the basement of Kresge was originally the pool. Since then, the old pool space in the basement was converted into a number of different things. New locker rooms were built as were two athletic training rooms. In addition, half of the basement was converted into a dance studio and classroom, which today is still used for various dance teams and recreational yoga classes. Also renovated was a classroom overlooking the old courts, which is now featured as coaches' offices and a lounge for visitors and guests to observe the game. In addition to being the home of three athletic departments, Kresge Gymnasium is used for a number of other events. Graduation at Albion College takes place on the steps of Kresge, with each student crossing the steps to receive their diploma. Also, contemporary artists Neil Diamond, John Denver, and the rock group Chicago have played for audiences at Kresge, and former President George Bush made the front steps of Kresge his platform as commencement speaker while serving as vice president in 1986.
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.
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.
Albion College is also home to nearly a dozen honorary, professional, service, and special interest fraternities, including: