The “Cinderella College”
In 1941, at the beginning of its 75th year, Albany College had no permanent home and had lost accreditation as it struggled to transition from Albany to Portland. Trustees sought possible locations for the new campus, including the Frank family’s Fir Acres estate on Palatine Hill. At the same time, the Board of Trustees recruited Occidental College professor Morgan S. Odell to take the position of president. Odell accepted the appointment on the condition that delinquent faculty salaries be paid and sufficient funds be raised to purchase Fir Acres. The two sides agreed that if the purchase did not succeed the college would permanently close and Odell would return to Occidental.
Through fund raising and a generous contribution by the Albany Women’s League the college successfully acquired Fir Acres for the nominal sum of $46,000 on June 30, 1942. Odell wrote of the event: “We had a new campus at last[...]and of such quality, that suddenly little Albany College had new stature.” Shortly thereafter, the Board of Trustees voted to change the school’s name to Lewis & Clark.