Both the college and the town of Oberlin were founded in 1833 by a pair of Presbyterian
ministers, John Shipherd and
Philo P. Stewart. The
ministers named their project after Jean Frederic
Oberlin, an Alsatian minister they both admired. Oberlin attained prominence
because of the influence of its second president, the evangelist Charles
Finney.The college was built on 500 acres (2 km²) of land specifically donated by the previous owner, who lived in Connecticut. Shipherd and Stewart's vision was for both a religious community and
school. For a more detailed history of the founding of the town and the college, see Oberlin, Ohio.