The Oberlin School of Commerce
North Central Ohio Biographies





The Oberlin School of Commerce. Some surprise has been expressed that in a small city like Oberlin, with a population of between five and six thousand, should be located one of the best known and most successful schools of business training in the entire country, a school whose graduates are holding splendid positions in all parts of the country, a school which has been under its present management for nearly a half century, and a school which attracts high school graduates from all over Ohio and from many other states. Under these conditions it is not surprising that the Oberlin School of Commerce has come to occupy its great place in training young men and women for the better class of business and office positions, and that its graduates are in demand by leading business firms.

It is one of the few business training schools in the entire country having the college entrance requirement. Another policy which has had much to do with the quality of work done in this school comes from the fact that students are admitted only at the beginning of terms and are formed into classes just as is done in all high schools, colleges, and universities. As this school admits only high school graduates, application for admission is required. It was the first business school in Ohio to be placed upon the Accredited List of Ohio Colleges by the State Department of Public Instruction at Columbus, by which it was authorized to offer a two year normal teachers training course, leading to the state certificate. This course was given from 1914 until 1926, at which time the State adopted a four year course. Since the above date no business school in Ohio is permitted to offer the course. It is now one of seven business schools in Ohio, accredited by the State Educational Department with the grade of Junior College. It is also a member in good standing of the National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools of the United States. Its courses have been examined and approved by officials of this association. It is also a member of the Ohio Business Schools Association.

The history of business education in Oberlin dates back to the very earliest period when such instruction was given anywhere in this country. Oberlin College was founded in 1833 and almost at once became a noted institution because of its anti slavery attitude, and because it opened its doors to both men and women of every race the first college in the world to admit women upon equal terms with men. As early as 1845 E. G. Folsom taught classes in bookkeeping and writing. By 1860 the business school had become firmly established and for several years following the Civil War the attendance reached 100 students or more annually. Since the early days of Mr. Folsom some of the most prominent business educators of the country have been associated with the school as instructors. Among these are: Platt R. Spencer, S. S. Calkins, the Drake Brothers, C. P. Griffin, W. F. Lyon, H. T. Tanner, Uriah McKee, and in more recent years, George L. Close, and J. D. Yocom. The names of these men stand high in the annals of business education in this country. In 1884 J. T. Henderson entered upon his long career as a teacher in this school.

The incorporation of the school in 1895 marked the beginning of a long step in advance and a new period in the history of the school. In 1927 the name of the school was changed from the Oberlin Business College to the Oberlin School of Commerce. This was made necessary because of the fact that the school had advanced beyond the business college stage, and into the field of higher business education. It offers a two year business administration course, a fifteen months' secretarial course, as well as other courses requiring a student body of college grade.

On Jan. 1, 1896, the school moved into its new building on South Main Street, which it has now occupied for a period of 34 years. By 1915 the school had outgrown this building and the second building was erected just south of the main building. Present facilities will accommodate about 200 new students each year, and consequently the attendance is limited.

The class method of instruction, supplemented by individual instruction during the study periods, has had much to do in giving this school its great reputation for sending out successful graduates.

From:
History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931


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