Oberlin College opened its doors for classes on December 3, 1833. 175 years today! Frederick Scovill, the College’s first teacher, wrote in a letter to a friend dated December 13, 1833, “The grand object of this Institution is to educate those who shall be prepared physically, as well as intellectually and morally, to illuminate the world with the light of science and civilization.”
Learn more about science education at Oberlin at the College Archives, beginning with the very worthy Dr. James Dascomb, village and college physician, chemistry, botany and physiology professor, and, briefly, college librarian. Dr. Dascomb also taught sacred music, rhetoric, mathematics and civil law, among other courses, according to the 1836 Catalogue. This photo, courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives, was taken in the 1850s. The Archives department is a wonderful place to research our past.
The Oberlin Alumni Magazine for December 1961 includes a nice history of science education at Oberlin. It's available in the Archives or in the periodical stacks on the 2nd floor of the Main Library.