It began as Houlton Academy in 1848, before being subsequently renamed Ricker Classical Institute in 1887. It became Ricker Junior College in 1934 and operated as a four-year liberal arts college between that point and its closing in 1978.
As with many other small, private colleges in the US, Ricker College faced financial difficulties in the 1970s and was forced to close its Houlton campus in May 1978. Other off-campus programs in continuing education remained operational after the main campus's closing, but not at the collegiate level.
- Bob Davoli, venture capitalist
- Paul Duffie, Canadian politician
- Ira G. Hersey, politician
- Henry L. Joy, politician
- David Parks, photographer
- Steve Shea, professional baseball player; pitcher with the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, and Montreal Expos
- Roger Sherman, politician
- Daniel Wathen, Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
- Allan Weiner, pirate radio operator; owner of WBCQ, WXME and WBCQ-FM; started WRNE, the Ricker College radio station
- Ricker.net - historical information website
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