Lake Erie Female Seminary

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Lake Erie Female Seminary formed in 1856 as a seminary for women in Painesville, Ohio. The institution, now known as Lake Erie College, first offered classes in 1859, with 137 students initially enrolling. During its early years of existence, Lake Erie Female Seminary offered its graduates seminary diplomas, but by 1899, the institution, which had become known as Lake Erie College in 1898, awarded its first college degrees.

During the first decades of the 1900s, Lake Erie College continued to expand its campus and its course offerings. In 1931, the college implemented a day program for residents in surrounding communities. Previously, only students housed in the college's residence halls were eligible to take classes. To further assist local residents, Lake Erie College implemented evening classes in 1935. This same year, the institution enrolled its first men, two brothers. During World War II, the college's enrollment increased, while most institutions of higher education experienced a decline. The principal reason for this growth was the enrollment of middle and upper-class women, who sought training so that they could help the war effort by finding employment in factory and government positions.

Following World War II, Lake Erie College continued to grow. The college formed partnerships with other institutions, granting men greater access to degrees at Lake Erie College. Students played an active role in the Equal Rights Movement and in protesting the Vietnam War. By the start of the twenty-first century, Lake Erie College had developed well-respected programs in business, equestrian studies, and education. In 2006, more than one thousand students attended Lake Erie College, with over three-quarters of the students being women.

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