Middlebury is a liberal arts college of the first rank, an achievement that is the result of a process of growth and change that began in 1800, when a few men of the town of Middlebury took upon themselves the challenge of building a college in a small New England town, on what was then the American frontier. Over the more than two centuries since it was established, Middlebury has developed from "the town's college" into an institution of international renown.Middlebury's original purpose was to train young men from Vermont and neighboring states for the ministry and other learned professions of the early 19th century. The College began modestly, with seven students enrolling in November 1800. These first students were expected "to read, translate, and parse Tully, Virgil, and the Greek Testament, and to write true Latin in prose, and shall have also learned the rules of Vulgar Arithmetic." The entire course of study was taught by the College's founding president, Jeremiah Atwater, who had come to Middlebury from Yale.