The Western College, Oxford, Ohio (1906)
The predecessor to Western College originated in 1853, when the Western Female Seminary was established in Oxford, Ohio. It was a women’s college, which sought to provide religious instruction and a college education similar to one offered to men in other institutions. Over the next fifty years, the Western Female Seminary underwent two name changes, becoming The Western: A College and Seminary for Women in 1894 and the Western College for Women in 1904. The institution grew slowly, having only 156 students and sixteen instructors in 1886.
Throughout its first 120 years of existence, the Western College for Women emphasized a liberal arts education, desiring to create a well-rounded student body. During the 1950s, the institution increasingly sought students and faculty from foreign countries and offered its students numerous opportunities to travel overseas. Perhaps the institution’s most famous graduate was Donna Shalala, the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton.
One of the most dramatic changes for the Western College for Women came in 1971, when the institution became coeducational. At this time, the institution became known as the Western College. Unfortunately, difficult financial times struck the college, and in 1974, it merged with Miami University.
In 1974, Western College ceased to exist as a separate entity, however, Miami University established the Western College Program. Students in this program, in consultation with university officials, create their own degree requirements. Students admitted into this program usually are seeking to take classes across a wide range of departments, rather than focusing their studies in just one area. Approximately 250 students enroll in this program every year.