Chartered on March 28, 1859, Adrian College traces its origins back to a Wesleyan Methodist theological institute founded at Leoni, Michigan in 1845. This institution later became Michigan Union College. Strongly antislavery in its sentiments, the school was moved to Adrian in 1859 through the efforts of the antislavery leader and educator, Rev. Asa Mahan, who was elected first president of the new Adrian College. The college was transferred to the Methodist Protestant Church in 1868, and here for 71 years, leaders of this denomination were trained. In 1939 a denominational union of American Methodism resulted in the establishment of the Methodist Church. Adrian College is affiliated with this great church body.