Who Is Cliff College?

"When people ask me what Cliff College is, I say, 'You mean who Cliff College is,' because to me, it's like a person. It's warm, it's funny, it's smart, it's definitely got a personality. Cliff is like my best friend, my lover and my mother, all rolled into one, Freud notwithstanding."

Carly Cliff, Freshman Drama Major

Cliff College

is a private, liberal arts, co-educational college dedicated to a well-balanced education for generally well-balanced students. The campus itself is semi-rural, surrounded by rich woodlands and modest residential neighborhoods in the namesake town of Cliffton, Ohio. Downtown Cliffton offers numerous eateries and shops for virtually anything a student may need for day-to-day campus living. Cliffton is in the northwest area of the state, which we consider the most beautiful quadrant, both physically and spritually. Nearby is nothing to speak of, which is just fine with us. We are a world unto ourselves, and that's the way we like it.

A Proud Heritage

Cliff College was founded, along with the surrounding town of Cliffton, in 1849 by Clifford Cliff, a young immigrant from Banska Bystrica, Czechoslovakia (Cliffton's sister city, now in Slovakia). Mr. Cliff's name was undoubtedly spelled differently in Banska Bystrica, but the immigrations officer in New York transliterated it phonetically into American English, and Mr. Cliff, in his zeal to adopt the culture of his new homeland, never again wrote his name in its original form (the original spelling and pronunciation has been lost to posterity).
Mr. Cliff was a teacher in his native land, and it was to teaching that he turned when he arrived on American soil. Unfortunately, there was not much call for educators who spoke only Slovakian, so Mr. Cliff struck out on his own, seeking an environment that he might find more hospitable than he did New York. He found his calling in Northwest Ohio, where he met a fellow Slovakian with 17 children in a desperate state of ignorance. Mr. Cliff pitched his tent and opened the "Cliff Academy".
By the time the first of the 17 had finished high school, Mr. Cliff had so enamored them all with the joy of learning (and they, in turn, had taught him English) that he was forced to expand his curriculum to include college-level courses. Word traveled fast throughout the wilderness about the college in the woods bringing culture to a territory that had previously known only the Nez Percé traveling dance academy. Before long, Mr. Cliff would find prospective students arriving on his doorstep almost weekly.
The tradition of rugged individualism mixed with a classical education has endured for almost 150 years, kept alive by a strong Cliff family influence. In fact, the widow of Mr. Cliff's great-great-great-great grandson is the current Chairwoman of our Board of Trustees, and two of his great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren are currently enrolled in the College. We are proud of our history at Cliff, and grounded by its continuity.


Our undergraduate student population

Percentage of Students from Outside Ohio

Student Clubs and Organizations

Number of Majors

Number of Courses

9 to 1
Student/Faculty Ratio

87 to 1
Student/Dog Ratio

Reported Cafeteria Food Poisonings Last Year