BP Blog

Dear Mr. President

Does the name "Mahan" sound familiar? It should if you are a student at AC. Mahan Hall (located between the Caine Student Center and the Shipman Library) is home to the Art and Interior Design departments.

Photo Credit: Adrian College Archives

Photo Credit: Adrian College Archives

But where did the name Mahan come from?

Asa Mahan was AC's first president.

Born on November 9, 1799, Asa Mahan grew up a devout Christian and studied at Hamilton College and Andover Theological Seminary. Asa was an abolitionist and a firm anti-slavery supporter. Before coming to AC, he was the first president of Oberlin College in Ohio. 

While president at Oberlin, he opened the college to students of all races only two years after its founding. This was the first college to do so in the US.

Oberlin College
Photo Credit: www.chabad.org

Eventually, he left Oberlin College and founded Cleveland College, also located in Ohio. This was Cleveland's first institute of higher learning. However, after a few years this college went bankrupt and closed. Sad story, right? But it's cool, because then he came to AC.

He joined the faculty at AC, which was just starting out as a college after having been given the assets from the failed Michigan Union College. This was in 1859. Under Asa, AC flourished and even was home to the Michigan regiments during the beginning of the American Civil War. Their base camp was located where Valade Hall now stands.

Mahan Hall Photo Credit: Adrian College 

Mahan Hall
Photo Credit: Adrian College 

In 1974, Asa moved to England where he would live for the remainder of his life. During this time, he published many papers having to do with philosophy and theolohy. He died in Eastbourne, England on April 4, 1889 at 89 years of age. He had been married twice and had 7 children, and had been the first president of three different colleges.

n 1965, AC named the newly built art builing "Mahan Hall" after Asa.