Goucher College

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Goucher College
Goucher College Seal
Motto Gratia et Veritas
Motto in English Grace and Truth
Established 1885
Type Private
Endowment $149.4 million[1]
President José Antonio Bowen
Academic staff 146
Undergraduates 1,475
Postgraduates 900
Location Towson, Maryland, United States
Campus Suburban 287 acre (1.2 km²)
Athletics 17 varsity teams
Colors Blue and Gold            
Mascot Gopher
Website www.goucher.edu
Goucher College
Haebler Memorial Chapel, a non-denominational chapel in the heart of Goucher College
Location 1021 Dulaney Valley Rd., Towson, Maryland
Area 287 acres (116 ha)
Built 1921
Architect Moore & Hutchins; Sasaki, Hideo, et al.
Architectural style Modern Movement
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 07000885[2]
Added to NRHP August 28, 2007

Goucher College is a private, co-educational, liberal arts college in the northern Baltimore suburb of Towson in unincorporated Baltimore County, Maryland, on a 287 acre (1.2 km²) campus. The school has approximately 1,475 undergraduate students studying in 33 majors and six interdisciplinary programs and about 900 students studying in graduate subjects. It is the only college in the country that requires a study abroad experience.


In 1881, the Baltimore Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church passed a resolution to found a conference Seminary. This momentum went largely unquestioned with the first recorded objection being in 1884, when Bishop Andrews stated, "I would not give a fig for a weakling little thing of a seminary. We want such a school, so ample in its provisions, of such dignity in its buildings, so fully provided with the best apparatus, that it shall draw to itself the eyes of the community and that young people shall feel it an honor to be enrolled among its students." Methodist ministers Dr. John Franklin Goucher, (1845-1922), and John B. Van Meter fought hard in favor of founding a college rather than a seminary, eventually winning unanimous agreement at a later conference.[3] It succeeded an earlier ground-breaking institution known as the Baltimore Female College, from 1849 located originally on St. Paul Street near East Saratoga Street (present site of Preston Gardens), and later relocated to Park Avenue/Place near Wilson Street in Bolton Hill. Also sponsored by the local Methodist Episcopal Church and under the leadership of noted classics scholar, Dr. Nathan C. Brooks, (1809-1898), (also first principal of the state and city's first public high school and the third oldest in America, founded 1839, now known as The Baltimore City College), it closed in the late 1880s. The new Methodist-sponsored women's college was founded as the "Women's College of Baltimore City" on January 26, 1885. Though students of all religious backgrounds were accepted, as founders, the national denomination, the Methodist Episcopal Church and its Baltimore Annual Conference had a large impact on the college and its campus.[4]

The school was renamed in 1910 to "Goucher College" in honor of its founding member, Dr. John Goucher and benefactors.[5] It was one of only six "Class I" women's colleges in the US.[6]

The original campus was on St. Paul Street at 23rd Street of the neighborhood of north Baltimore, then known as Peabody Heights since the 1870s in the southern part of what is now the Charles Village neighborhood (renamed in 1967) in Baltimore City. Goucher moved to its present suburban location northeast of the county seat of Towson in Baltimore County in 1953. The college has been co-educational since 1986. Its former city home campus, is now known as the "Old Goucher College Historic District", adjacent to the old First Methodist Episcopal Church of 1884 at St. Paul Street and 22nd Street, (constructed as the Centennial Monument of the foundation of American Methodism - later renamed to its original founding colonial title of Lovely Lane), was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[2]

Campus demographics[edit]

Goucher has one of the highest percentage of Jewish students in the country with 30% identifying as Jewish.[7] Female students predominate on the undergraduate level at 65%. About 11.5% of the undergraduate population are either African-American, Asian, Hispanic or Native-American. At the graduate level, the number is about 8.5%.


The Goucher College campus is proximate to downtown Towson, though the 287-acre (1.16 km2) campus is separated from it by surrounding woods owned by the school. The academic buildings appear generally at the north side of campus, and the residential buildings are located to the south. Most buildings are clad in tan-colored stone called Butler Stone. As a part of a recent expansion plan, a new residence hall, Welsh (a.k.a. The "T"), was built in 2005. The Athenaeum, a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) multipurpose facility featuring an expansive modern library, was constructed in 2009. The grounds are slightly hilly and include hiking and riding trails in the woods. Newsweek magazine described the campus as "unusually bucolic".[8]

In a marked shift away from traditional collegiate layout characterized by symmetry and quadrangles, the designing architectural firm Moore and Hutchins elected to group buildings together into informal zones based on function and took a departure from the Romanesque design of the previous campus. The notion that the design of individual buildings was less important than their interrelationships was progressive at the time. Consequently, over the years, the architecture and development of the campus has won many awards,[4] and in 2007 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[9]

Deer population[edit]

In a fenced area with no natural predators, 200 deer roamed the wooded campus. In 2007, a biologist for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources estimated the 287-acre (1.16 km2) woods as only being able to support 40 deer. Goucher's response that winter was to hire bowmen to thin the population by about 50 deer, and success of this approach has resulted in a yearly culling of the population since then. Reasons cited are to maintain the health of the remaining deer and other animals, reduce the risk of car crashes, protect landscaping and prevent the spread of Lyme disease, and the meat of the deer has been donated to local homeless shelters. Some students and community members, however, have objections to the population reduction.[10]


Rankings and notable faculty[edit]

In 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Goucher college #105 in its annual rankings of national liberal arts colleges. The college's ranking has fluctuated from #93 to #111 in recent years. Its most well-known faculty members include Jean H. Baker and Julie Roy Jeffrey of the History Department; President Sanford J. Ungar; and authors Madison Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Spires, who oversee the college's Kratz Center for Creative Writing. Goucher is one of 40 schools profiled in the book Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope.

Presidents of Goucher College[edit]

Contrary to popular belief, John Goucher was not the first president of Goucher College. Although offered the post as the first president Goucher refused the honor as he wished to continue as the pastor of First Methodist Episcopal Church of Baltimore (Lovely Lane Church) and continue his deep involvement in Methodist mission work around the world.

When William Hersey Hopkins resigned as the first president to join the faculty, the board of trustees nominated Dr. Goucher for the role and voted prior to giving the right to decline the nomination. With a unanimous vote from the board, Goucher felt obligated to serve the college as its second president.

Following his retirement in 1908, his successor Eugene Noble successfully led the movement to rename the college in honor of John and Mary Fisher Goucher in recognition of their involvement in the founding of the college, amazing financial support, and Dr. Goucher's role as president for eighteen years.

Dr. Dorothy Stimson, the Dean of the College, served as acting president from January to June 1930, the first woman to lead the college. However, the board named Dr. David Robertson as the permanent president of the college who led the college through the difficult years of the Great Depression and World War II and oversaw the beginning of college's move from Baltimore City to its current location in Baltimore County.

Rhoda Dorsey is notable for many firsts: she was the first female president of Goucher College, the first acting president to be elected president, and the first faculty member of the college to be chosen as president. She also is notable for serving the longest period as Goucher's president, twenty years.

List of Presidents[edit]

William Hersey Hopkins 1886–1890
John Franklin Goucher 1890–1908
Eugene Allen Nobel 1908–1911
John Blackford Van Meter 1911–1913 (Acting President)
William Westley Guth 1913–1929
Hans Froelicher May 1929–January 1930 (Acting President)
Dorothy Stimson January–June 1930 (Acting President)
David Allan Robertson 1930–1948
Otto Krausharr 1948–1967
Marvin Banks Perry, Jr. 1967–1973
Rhoda Mary Dorsey 1973–1974 (Acting President)
Rhoda Mary Dorsey 1974–1994
Judy Jolley Mohraz 1994–2000
Robert S. Welch 2000–2001 (Acting President)
Sanford J. Ungar 2001–2014[11]
José A. Bowen 2014–

Undergraduate level[edit]

In fall 2006, the college launched an education curriculum that outlines requirements that reflect the core values that underpin a liberal-arts education. These include: an international experience; proficiency in English composition and in a foreign language; and solid foundations in history, abstract reasoning, scientific discovery and experimentation, problem-solving, social structures, and environmental sustainability. There are special introductory courses for freshmen to orient them to the campus, as well as college life at Goucher. Undergraduate students are required to fulfill an off-campus learning requirement either through an internship or a study-abroad experience in order to graduate. A popular choice among many Goucher students is to participate in a "three-week intensive" course abroad made up of an on-campus classroom component followed by three weeks abroad during the winter or spring. Goucher also allows students to participate in semester and yearlong study-abroad programs offered by other schools. Goucher recently announced that starting with the class of 2010 all students will be required to have at least one study-abroad experience to graduate, thus making it the first college to require such an experience of its students. Goucher is also well known for its creative writing, dance, and pre-med departments.

Graduate level[edit]

Goucher has a small but vibrant graduate program, which is run by the Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies. The following graduate programs are offered at the college:

  • Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability
  • Master of Arts in Digital Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts
  • Master of Arts in Management
  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction
  • Master of Arts in Historic Preservation
  • Master of Arts in Arts Administration
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Education

Certificate and continuing education programs[edit]

  • Post-Baccalaureate Premed Program (having a 96% acceptance rate to medical school over its entire history)
  • Teacher's Institute
  • Educational Technology Certificate

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Goucher offers many student-run clubs in different areas such as the Chem Club (the oldest continuously-operating club on campus), Hillel activities, and a student-labor action committee. It has a bi-weekly school newspaper called The Quindecim, and a literary arts journal called Preface. Also notable is Goucher Student Radio, which contains a host of student, staff, and faculty programming and expands each year. It is accessible through Goucher's website as streaming media. Students from the college are also credited with founding Humans vs. Zombies, a game similar to tag that is played generally on college campuses.


Goucher athletic teams are known as the Gophers. The college competes in NCAA Division III, fielding men's and women's teams in lacrosse, soccer, basketball, track and field, cross country, swimming, and tennis, as well as women's teams in field hockey, volleyball, and coed equestrian sports (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone IV Region I/American National Riding Commission). In 2007 the college joined the Landmark Conference after competing as a member of the Capital Athletic Conference from 1991 to 2007.

Other programs on campus[edit]

Goucher has served as a campus for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth summer program for gifted students.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°24′31″N 76°35′33″W / 39.40848°N 76.59239°W / 39.40848; -76.59239