On October 26, 1886, the Presbyterian Synod of Michigan accepted gifts of thirty acres of land from Ammi W. Wright of Alma and $50,000 from Alexander Folsom of Bay City to establish Alma College. The Synod resolved: "We will, with God's help, establish and endow a college within our bounds." The college received its state charter on April 15, 1887. It opened on September 14, 1887 with a religious service and welcome from the President, Reverend George F. Hunting. There were thirty-five students: nineteen men and sixteen women.