In 1895 the college was struggling. Enrollment was down and the college had a terrible reputation, stemming from the rowdy behavior of the male students and several severe health scares. New faculty were leaving MAC, often for other, newly established land-grant colleges. The nationwide depression further exasperated the situation. The Board of Agriculture appointed a committee to examine the institution and report on what was needed to change the current situation. One of their seven recommendations was the creation of a Women's Course.
The Women's Course recommended by the committee would be complete with dormitory, teaching facilities, and proper staffing. The creation of the course along with the dormitory would ensure that women would have a place at MAC and a course to study. The first Abbot Hall, a former men's dormitory, was remodeled and an addition built for the dining room and cooking laboratory. A room for sewing was set aside and lodging rooms for the women were ready in September 1896. With 42 women enrolling the first year the program was an instant success.