When Davis College was founded in 1858, the United States was on the cusp of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln was two years from being elected president.
Back then it was known as Toledo Business College and had 35 students.
Today's Davis College has an average of 450 students pursuing 16 associate degrees.
The 150-year journey from then to now will be celebrated tomorrow on the anniversary of the college's founding.
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"The one thing that hasn't changed is our mission and that's preparing our graduates with marketable skills," college President Diane Brunner said. "As those have changed, we've changed with it."
The sesquicentennial celebration starts with a ceremony at 8 a.m. that will include unveiling engraved Heritage Bricks and opening the Heritage Museum.
The bricks, between the college's two buildings on Monroe Street and Sylvania Avenue, are to be permanent reminders of the college's impact on students and staff, and double as a scholarship fund-raiser.
The museum chronicles the college's history and includes textbooks, furniture, and "typewriters you won't believe are still in existence," Ms. Brunner said.
The festivities include campus tours, photos with "Abraham Lincoln," classic cars, and visits from the Toledo Mud Hens' mascots, Muddy and Muddonna.
Founder's Day is the main event of the year-long anniversary celebration.
Students have been given trinkets each semester, such as T-shirts and Frisbees, and each month the college is donating $1,858 - representing the founding year - to organizations such as the Ohio Business Teachers Association and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Involving the community in the sesquicentennial celebration is important because of the ongoing support, particularly from area businesses, over the years, Ms. Brunner said.
"There's hardly a doctor's office that doesn't have one of our graduates in it," she said, adding that medical assisting is the school's largest program.
Fallen Timbers Family Physicians in Maumee employs several Davis graduates and serves as an externship site for current students.
They are eager to learn and professional, office manager Donna Hostetler said.
"They get excellent training," she said. "The students come here very well prepared to step into a medical setting."
Davis College's anniversary celebration kicked off with a breakfast honoring Jamie Farr in October. A golf scramble is later this month and an alumni hayride will be in September.
Davis College memorabilia signed by celebrities will be on display during anniversary events and auctioned off later this year for scholarships.
"We've had so much fun," Ms. Brunner. "We've said, 'Let's just really celebrate this 150th year.'•"
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