was formerly the Maine State Seminary. It changed its identity and was incorporated in 1855. Located in Lewiston, it is recognized as one of the nation’s finest colleges of the liberal arts and sciences. In the U.S. News & World Report 2002 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” Bates was ranked 22nd among 218 national liberal arts colleges.
Bates at the outset was the first coeducational college in New England, admitting students without regard to race, religion, national origin, or sex. In the mid-19th Century, Oren B. Cheney, a Dartmouth graduate and minister of the Freewill Baptist denomination, conceived the idea of founding the Maine State Seminary in Lewiston. Within a few years the seminary became a college, and it was Cheney who obtained financial support from Benjamin E. Bates, the Boston manufacturer for whom the College was named.
Hathorn Hall, completed in 1857, is Bates’ first building and the campus’ most notable landmark. It is named for Seth and Mary Hathorn of Woolwich, whose several donations made its construction possible and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of its most famous alumni is former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie, whose official papers reside at the Muskie Archives on campus. U.S. Representatives who graduated from Bates include the following: Carroll Beedy graduated in 1903, serving in Congress from 1921 to 1935; Donald Partridge graduated in 1914, serving from 1919 to 1931. Governor Carl E. Milliken was graduated in 1897.
Congressman, and later federal judge, Frank M. Coffin graduated in 1940. He also served as deputy administrator of the Agency for International Development during the 1960’s. Maine photographer George French received his degree from Bates. Judith Isaacson, holocaust survivor and author, was Dean of Women, then Dean of Students at the College in the 1970’s..
Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, was founded in 1866 as a preparatory school for Bates.
The College manages the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area in Phippsburg.