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Oxford Female College

Oxford Female College was chartered Jan. 19, 1854, and operated from 1855 until 1859 under the leadership of the Rev. John Witherspoon Scott, president. After a dispute with trustees, Scott left Oxford Female Institute to form Oxford Female College in what later became Fisher Hall on the Miami campus.

In June 1867, Oxford Female College and Oxford Female Institute united under the name Oxford Female College. In 1882, the merged institution (Oxford Female College) moved back to the original Oxford Female Institute building at the southwest corner of High Street and College Avenue. April 29, 1890, the name was changed to Oxford College. June 6, 1906, a new corporation was formed as the Oxford College for Women. The school property and debts were assumed by Miami University in an agreement signed Dec. 8, 1928. According to a 1928 news report, "negotiations with Western [College] for purchase or affiliation, which had been going on practically all summer, were dropped on the request of the Oxford College Board when overtures were received from Miami."

The Oxford College building -- originally used by the Oxford Female Institute -- at the southeast corner of High Street and College Avenue remained a Miami University residence hall, familiarly known as "Ox College," for 70 years. It was believed to be the oldest surviving women's college building in the United States in the 1990s. It was used as a residence hall until about 1998. Fisher Hall -- built in 1854 -- was the Oxford Retreat, a sanitarium for mental patients operated by Dr. George F. Cook and family, from 1882 until 1925. Its buildings and grounds were deeded to Miami Aug. 15, 1925. It was converted to Miami residence hall and renamed Fisher Hall, after a former Miami trustee, Elam Fisher of Eaton, Ohio. It was renamed the U.S.S. Fisher Hall after naval training programs began on the Oxford campus in June 1942.

During World War II. more than 7,800 men and women were trained at Miami in a variety of skills through the spring of 1945. The number included 4,397 men and 1,529 women schooled in the naval radio and code course. Other programs included a cook and baker school and the Navy's V-12 program, which combined some college instruction with basic naval training. It reverted to Fisher Hall and a dormitory from 1945 to 1958 when it was converted to a theater until the opening of the Center for the Performing Arts in 1969. Fisher Hall was demolished in 1979. It had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places the previous year.

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