1855 – Maine State Seminary gets charter and $15,000 from Legislature. Town of Lewiston and the Water and Power Company give 20 acres.

1857 – Opens doors to 115 students.

1861 – Students lobby for college courses; Legislature amends charter the next year.

1864 – Name changes to include “Bates College” after philanthropist Benjamin Bates.

1869 – First woman graduates.

1874 – First black student graduates.

1874 – Tuition: $36. Tuition at Bowdoin up the road: $75.

1878 – $100,000 donation promised by Benjamin Bates at his death is fought by heirs in court; heirs win, no donation.

1903 – Founder Oren Cheney dies. Spent 40 years as president.

1921 – Bates sends first American debate team to Oxford. Bates lost.

1924 – Bobcat wins mascot vote. Losing: moose and stork.

1925 – Rumored addition of boy-girl dance to curriculum has local minister warning it’ll threaten college’s financial future. Dance stays.

1934 – Bowdoin College men steal stuffed bobcat, parade around Portland and guard own polar bear mascot against counter-theft. Returned 24 hours later.

1947 – Almost half of student body volunteers to fight fires in Maine’s worst natural disaster to date.

1949 – Tuition: $500 a year.

1954 – Businesses and chamber of commerce start tradition of welcoming freshmen class with chicken barbecue.

1961 – Two Bates teams compete on College Bowl TV quiz show, seven straight victories, a show record.

1962 – After dispute about streetlight electricity and water fees, Lewiston councilmen suggest draining Lake Andrews and making Bates students “walk in the dark.”

1962 – Tuition: $1,350 a year.

1968 – Varsity athletics, including hockey and badminton, offered to women.

1970 – Students vote for three-day strike to nonviolently protest the war and deaths at Kent State.

1971 – Start of co-ed housing.

1980 – 12 students, battling hallucination, set Guinness Book world record playing volleyball for 71 hours straight.

1982 – Tuition: $10,500.

1985 – Bates junior arrested in the shooting of Dean James Carignan, who was shot while in his kitchen, just off campus. The student had a jury trial and was found not guilty.

1998 – Bates President Donald Harward starts L/A Excels; goal of the group is to enhance the community.

2002 – Senior Morgan McDuffee killed trying to break up a fight between college and local kids. Brandon Thongsavanh found guilty, now facing retrial.

2003 – Jan. 11 rally draws 4,000 people to campus to counter a rally by white supremacists at a different locale in Lewiston.

2005 – Tuition, room, board and fees: $42,100.
Source: Newspaper archive; Bates College; “The Story of the Life and Work of Oren B. Cheney” by Emeline Burlingame-Cheney; “Faith by their Works” thesis by Bates senior Tim Larson


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