Alma College / Old Main Fire
On October 26, 1886, the Presbyterian Synod of Michigan accepted gifts of thirty acres of land from Ammi W. Wright of Alma and $50,000 from Alexander Folsom of Bay City to establish Alma College. The Synod resolved: "We will, with God's help, establish and endow a college within our bounds." The college received its state charter on April 15, 1887. It opened on September 14, 1887 with a religious service and welcome from the President, Reverend George F. Hunting. There were thirty-five students: nineteen men and sixteen women.
Old Main Fire
On the morning of March 10, 1969, Old Main, one of Alma College's first academic and administrative buildings, caught fire and burned down in about an hour. Students and faculty evacuated the building but reentered to carry out equipment and records until firemen stopped them. The fire destroyed classrooms, faculty offices, manuscripts, research documents and other records. In 1974 the college built an Academic Center just north of here, near the site of Old Main, and named it for Robert Swanson, Alma College's president from 1956 to 1980.