College History

Kalamazoo College is a premier liberal arts institution and one of the nation’s 100 oldest colleges and universities. K was founded by visionary Baptists in 1833 as The Michigan and Huron Institute.

It all started when a young minister named Thomas Merrill arrived in Michigan with $7.00 and a plan to establish a Baptist college on the frontier. In 1833, with the ambitious assistance of Judge Caleb Eldred, Merrill’s dream became real, and the history of Kalamazoo College formally began.

The institution changed its name to Kalamazoo College in 1855, when it earned the ability to grant degrees.

In the years that have followed, the College has gone through many eras of growth and change. Buildings, personalities, and academic programs have come and gone. Through it all, we have maintained a tradition of excellence second to none among liberal arts colleges.

Today, the College operates independently, acknowledging its historic link with the American Baptist Church.