FENN COLLEGE, the private college predecessor of CLEVELAND STATE UNIV., was originally part of the Cleveland YMCA's educational program, begun in the 1880s. In 1906 a newly instituted day school program joined the evening school program as the Assn. Institute. The YMCA's educational branch was reorganized as the Cleveland School of Technology in 1921. The first college courses in engineering and business were offered in 1923. Classes were held in the Central YMCA Bldg. at Prospect Ave. and E. 22nd St. and three former residences on Prospect. The college conferred its first degrees in 1927.
The YMCA reorganized its educational program again in 1930, changing the school's name to Fenn College, in honor of SERENO PECK FENN, and creating Nash Junior College. In 1932 Nash became Fenn's school of arts & sciences, joining the original engineering and business schools. In line with its goal of offering a quality educational program to those for whom a college education might otherwise be unattainable, Fenn became the second college in Ohio to adopt the cooperative education program. By alternating classroom work with employment, the program enabled Fenn students to finance their education while gaining practical work experience.
In 1937 Fenn acquired the National Town & Country Club building (Fenn Tower) at E. 24 St. and Euclid, moving the center of campus to Euclid Ave. In 1940 Fenn received accreditation from the North Central Assn. In 1951 Fenn separated its operation from the YMCA. In 1963 financial hardships resulting from increasing operating costs and competition from CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE prompted Fenn to publicly release a plan urging the development of a state university in Cleveland, using Fenn as its nucleus. In 1965 Fenn and the state concluded an agreement for the state to assume operations of Fenn College on 1 Sept. as Cleveland State Univ.
Earnest, G. Brooks. The History of Fenn College (1974).
Cleveland State Univ. Archives.