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Adrian College
"Adrian College, a liberal arts College in the United Methodist tradition, is committed to...

Adrian College

Adrian, Michigan

Adrian College is a private college in the liberal arts tradition affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The college was founded in 1859 by Asa Mahan.


With over 40 majors and pre-professional programs to choose from, more than 80 student organizations, and 22 varsity sports, the opportunities to achieve and excel are limitless at Adrian College. Whether students are applying their liberal arts education in AC’s innovative Institutes, directing a play in historic Downs Hall Studio Theatre, or scoring in new athletic facilities like the Arrington Ice Arena, Adrian College students are a part of a 151-year history as it surges into the future.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
1,622 undergraduate students
95% of undergrad students are full time
52% male — 48% female
21% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
91 full-time faculty
90 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Residential: 83% of students live on campus

School Location

Adrian College is located in the Adrian, MI. Known as the Maple City, Adrian is the seat of Lenawee County and is nestled among southeast Michigan’s farmland. The college is about 50 miles from Detroit’s airport, 35 miles from Jackson’s (MI) Amtrak station, and 35 miles from Toledo (OH).

Retention Fall 2014

60% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate

57% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 5%
Black or African American 9%
White 71%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 11%


Adrian College is a Division III school.  The Bulldogs compete in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).  Over 50% of students participate in varsity, club, and intramural sports.

Women’s Varsity sports include basketball, bowling, cross-country, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, outdoor track and field, and volleyball.

Men’s Varsity sports include baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and outdoor track and field.

Other notable intercollegiate club sports include ACHA men’s hockey, women’s figure skating, mixed cheerleading, and women and men’s equestrian teams.

Intramural offerings range from traditional sports to ultimate frisbee, badminton, and racquetball.

Mascot: Bruiser the Bulldog
Colors: Black and Gold

New athletic facilities include the Arrington Ice Arena, the Multi-sport Performance Stadium (football, soccer, and lacrosse), Nicolay Field (baseball), the Craft Tennis Complex, and the Track and Field Complex.  The Softball Field was also given an extensive renovation.

To add to the excitement of Adrian College Athletics, the Adrian College Marching Band has been performing since 2007 at football games and local celebrations.

Other Information

Adrian College is a private college in the liberal arts tradition affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The college was founded in 1859 by Asa Mahan.

Academic Programs

Accounting, Arts Administration, Arts Management, Athletic Training, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication Arts and Sciences, Criminal Justice, Economics, English, Environmental Geology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Exercise Science, French, Geology, German, History, Interior Design, International Studies, Japanese Studies, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Musical Theatre, Music Performance, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Accounting, Religion, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Studio Art, Teacher Education (Biology, English, French, German, Health Education, History, Integrated Science, Language Arts, Mathematic, Music, Physical Education, Social Studies, Spanish, and Visual Arts), Theatre

In addition to offering minors in several of these subjects, Adrian College also offers minors in Art History and Women’s Studies

In Fall 2010, Adrian College began a 5-year combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Athletic Training.

More Distinctions

  • “Military Friendly School”
    G.I. Jobs listed Adrian College as a “Military Friendly School” in its 2011 and 2012 rankings.

Student engagement at Adrian College involves cutting edge teaching and learning for students. Research today shows that students who “do” learn best. From service learning opportunities to class projects to lecture series, students learn in an environment rooted in a philosophy called the Ribbons of Excellence. These values are taken from the long-standing tradition of attaching ribbons with graduates names to the shepherd’s crook during graduation ceremonies. These ribbons of excellence support the College’s mission – a mission rooted in personal and professional excellence standards.  Just as the Latin inscription on the shepherd’s crook suggests, the Ribbons of Excellence cannot be achieved without hard work. The Ribbons of Excellence are:

  • Caring for humanity and the world
  • Crossing boundaries and disciplines
  • Thinking critically
  • Developing creativity
  • Learning throughout a lifetime

Caring for Humanity and the World

Students learn and live this ribbon at Adrian College through various courses involving outreach to the local and global community. For the past two years, students enrolled in a “Global Health Experience” apply their knowledge and skills to a medical and dental outreach trip each December to Nicaragua.  In Nicaragua, students work with medical professionals helping to organize, advertise and assist in mobile health clinics, reaching the neediest sections of the population. Over 40 Adrian College students and staff have taken advantage of this opportunity and students recently presented their work at the annual student conference on campus, “Ribbons of Excellence Day.”

Crossing Boundaries and Disciplines

For the past three years, Adrian College’s “Model Arab League” course has offered students an opportunity to study international politics, hone their research and speaking skills, and travel to Washington D.C. to compete with other nationally recognized schools in a simulation experience.  Model Arab League is a student leadership development program administered by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations. Participants learn about the politics and history of the Arab world and the arts of diplomacy and public speech. It is also a gateway to exchange programs in the Arabic world.  The Adrian College delegation won outstanding delegation in 2011 during the Michigan competition and competed in the national session.  Numerous students were recognized as “outstanding chairs” of countries and “outstanding delegates” during the competitions.

Thinking Critically

The Honor’s Program at Adrian College offers an opportunity it its colloquium for students to embed themselves into 19th century England and the evolution debate. Using role-playing simulation pedagogy called Reacting to the Past, students play characters, research key debates around a topic, and present their perspective in an interactive game. Over the many weeks of the course, the historic event unfolds before their eyes, as its relevance today is reinforced through reflection papers and class discussion.  

Developing Creativity

Upon arriving at Adrian College in the spring of 2009, Dr. Jennifer Ellsworth brought over twenty years of experience from the business world by working at internationally known companies such as American Girl, Patagonia and Williams-Sonoma. As a result of these experiences, Dr. Ellsworth knew that in order to succeed in business, students would need more than theories and concepts–they would need experiences directly tied to that world. So, she immediately procured a seed donation for a project and her students worked over the next fifteen weeks on developing, budgeting, marketing and selling the “Downs Hall Holiday Ornament” commemorating the oldest building on the Adrian College campus.  Since this class, every class has taken a project from conception to profit. Engaged learning at its best!

Learning Throughout a Lifetime

Engaged learning at Adrian College takes on special meaning during Homecoming, when alumni return for the popular, “Professor for a Day” program. This program invites alumni to come and teach a class to current students, share life lessons, and provide advice. “Professor for a Day” allows students and alumni to connect and continue to live this ribbon of excellence.

Engaged Faculty

Whether it’s in small classes (with a 15:1 student to faculty ratio) or in individualized, academic advising for each student, Adrian faculty always make students their top priority. They utilize innovative pedagogy, such as Reacting to the Past’s Darwin Games, and regularly take students into the field for hands-on and service learning. They have crafted a curriculum that balances traditional liberal arts inquiry with professional preparation.

Quality Education

Adrian faculty do not complacently reuse old lectures; they attend conferences in order to stay up-to-date on the latest ideas in teaching.  Additionally, they can also be found winning awards and giving presentations about their own teaching, research, and successes. For example, Art professor Garin Horner was recently the featured speaker at the Great Lakes Conference on Teaching and Learning, and Biology professor Marti Morales-Ensign participated in a teaching and research symposium held by the National Science Foundation.

Esteemed Professors

Research shows that the best teachers are also active and engaged scholars and creators. In addition to being award-winning teachers, Adrian College faculty have diverse and lively research and creative interests. Dr. Sarah Hanson recently discovered a new mineral, Allanite.  Drs. Carissa Massey and Fritz Detwiler attended NEH Summer Institutes to study Appalachian and Native American Pacific culture, respectively.  Recent faculty articles can be read in such places as Theology Today Journal and Journal of Comparative Neurology, and you can catch them making presentations to the Association of Asian Studies and the National Lawyers Guild.  Additionally, Adrian College has hosted several Fulbright scholars to teach Arabic language classes.

Life Outside the Classroom

There is never a dull moment on the Adrian College campus.   Nearly every day and evening students can hear engaging speakers, participate in community service, perform creatively, or be a leader in a student organization.  There is sure to be a community that meshes with your interests, so prepare to get involved at Adrian College

Adrian students belong to more than 80 student organizations, including religious, professional, academic, Greek, and special interest groups.  More than 50% of students participate in athletics, where 22 varsity sports are nationally competitive.  Rounding out these activities, there are also several music ensembles, theatrical productions, and visual art groups.

Speakers and events

Numerous organizations bring nationally-renowned speakers to campus. Recent speakers include Native American activist Charlotte Black Elk, investigative journalist Radley Balko, and humanitarian Steven Lewis.

The College also celebrates numerous annual events that bring together campus and community to engage in academic pursuits, to raise awareness, to give back to the community, and to simply have fun.  Right away during the Community Plunge, freshmen help out around the community as a part of Welcome Week activities. Conferences, speakers, and student group activities mark Women’s History Month, Black History Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month. The annual Dance Marathon and Gift of Life Ball are student-led events that raise awareness and money for selected causes. Military Appreciation Day honors student and community veterans. Ribbons of Excellence Day rounds out this calendar with a celebration of student research.

Exciting Opportunities

Students at Adrian College, both recent and past alum are living successful lives rooted in the school’s mission of personal and professional excellence. Current students demonstrate their excellent academic preparation through their ability to compete for national awards in fields from science to religion.  The following are a few highlights of their success:

  • Choir invited to perform at Carnegie Hall (NYC)
  • Perry Kuipers (political science) was selected to go to the University of Illinois in summer 2010 under a research for undergraduate experience funded through the Council on Undergraduate Research.
  • Shane Hinson (political science) was elected Chief Justice of the Arab Court of Justice for the 2011 National Model Arab League competition.
  • Kelly Eberhardt (Biology major) is a paid intern at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland working in a space exploration-related research facility this summer.
  • First cohort of 5 students in Athletic Training pass Board of Certification national exam in Athletic Training (national pass rate is 50%; Adrian is 100%).

Prestigious Graduate Schools

For the past two years over 25% of the graduating classes is attending graduate or professional school studying anything from law and medicine to ecology. The following is a short list of graduate schools our alums are attending:

  • University of Michigan, School of Law
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Loyola University
  • Xavier of Louisiana College of Pharmacy
  • University of Chicago

Achieved Alumni

From business, medicine, law and education to serving as a pastor at a church, Adrian College alum contribute to their fields and the world in general and as a result, shows the historic evidence of the impact of an Adrian College education.

The following is a short list of notable alum:

  • Charles Baer ’59, former President of the National American Diabetes Association
  • Doug Hudgins ’86, Ph.D. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astrochemist
  • Bob Miller ’86, U.S. Department of Foreign Service (Tanzania, Belarus)
  • Virgil P. Bernero, ’86 Mayor, City of Lansing Michigan
  • Melody Morris, ’05, U.S. Department of Justice Law Enforcement Officer



Admissions Fall 2014

5,153 Total Applicants
3,189 Total Admissions
487 Total Freshmen Enrollment

61.89% of applicants admitted

Freshmen Profile Fall 2014

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 460 540
SAT Math 450 530
SAT Writing 460 540
ACT Composite 19 24
ACT Math 18 25
ACT English 18 24
ACT Writing    




Tuition $31,870
Fees $790
Total $32,660
Room and Board (on campus) $9,740
Room Only $4,680
Board Only $5,060
Estimated Total On Campus $42,400

Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

99% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
81% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$21,356 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$7,691 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates