||It has been suggested that Wellesley Centers for Women be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since June 2013.|
|Motto||Non Ministrari sed Ministrare (Latin)|
|Motto in English||Not to be ministered unto, but to minister|
|Established||Chartered in 1870; commenced classes in 1875|
|Endowment||$1.44 billion |
|President||H. Kim Bottomly|
|Academic staff||347 full-time and part-time faculty|
|Location||Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA|
|Campus||Suburban, 450 acres|
Wellesley College is a private women's liberal-arts college in the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States, west of Boston. Founded in 1870, Wellesley is a member of the original Seven Sisters Colleges and is consistently ranked among the top 10 liberal arts colleges in the United States. In 2011, The Best 376 Colleges named Wellesley’s faculty number one in the country. The College enrolls approximately 2,400 students from all 50 states and 75 countries.
Wellesley was founded by Pauline and Henry Fowle Durant, believers in educational opportunity for women. Wellesley was founded with the intention to prepare women for "...great conflicts, for vast reforms in social life." Its charter was signed on March 17, 1870, by Massachusetts Governor William Claflin. The original name of the college was the Wellesley Female Seminary, and its renaming to Wellesley College was approved by the Massachusetts legislature on March 7, 1873. Wellesley first opened its doors to students on September 8, 1875.
The first president of Wellesley was Ada Howard. There have been twelve more presidents in its history: Alice Elvira Freeman Palmer, Helen Almira Shafer, Julia Josephine Thomas Irvine, Caroline Hazard, Ellen Fitz Pendleton, Mildred H. McAfee (later Mildred McAfee Horton), Margaret Clapp, Ruth M. Adams, Barbara Wayne Newell, Nannerl Overholser Keohane (later the president of Duke University from 1993–2004), Diana Chapman Walsh, and H. Kim Bottomly.
The original architecture of the college consisted of one very large building, College Hall, which was approximately 150 meters in length and five stories in height. The architect was Hammatt Billings. From its completion in 1875 until its destruction by fire in 1914, it was both an academic building and residential building. On March 17, 1914, College Hall was destroyed by fire, the precise cause of which was never officially established. The fire was first noticed by students who lived on the fourth floor near the zoology laboratory. It has been suggested that an electrical or chemical accident in this laboratory—specifically, an electrical incubator used in the breeding of beetles—triggered the fire.
A group of residence halls, known as the Tower Court complex, are located on top of the hill where the old College Hall once stood.
After the destruction of the central College Hall in 1914, the college adopted a master plan developed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Arthur Shurcliff, and Ralph Adams Cram in 1921 and expanded into several new buildings. The campus hosted a Naval Reserve Officer training program during the Second World War and began to significantly revise its curriculum after the war and through the late 1960s.
The college is known for the picturesque beauty of its 500-acre (200 ha) campus, which includes Lake Waban, evergreen and deciduous woodlands, and open meadows. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Boston's preeminent landscape architect at the beginning of the 20th century, described Wellesley's landscape as "not merely beautiful, but with a marked individual character not represented so far as I know on the ground of any other college in the country." He also wrote: I must admit that the exceedingly intricate and complex topography and the peculiarly scattered arrangement of most of the buildings somewhat baffled me. The original master plan for Wellesley's campus landscape was developed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Arthur Shurcliff, and Ralph Adams Cram in 1921. This landscape-based concept represented a break from the architecturally-defined courtyard and quadrangle campus arrangement that was typical of American campuses at the time. The 720-acre (2.9 km2) site's glaciated topography, a series of meadows, and native plant communities shaped the original layout of the campus, resulting in a campus architecture that is integrated into its landscape. The most recent master plan for Wellesley College was completed in 1998 by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA). According to the designers, this plan was intended to restore and recapture the original landscape character of the campus that had been partially lost as the campus evolved through the 20th century.
Wellesley is home to Green Hall, the only building bearing the name of famed miser Hetty Green; Galen L. Stone Tower, in which a 32-bell carillon instrument is housed and which members of the Guild of Carillonneurs routinely play between classes, is part of the building.
Organization and administration
The current president of Wellesley College is H. Kim Bottomly. The previous president was Diana Chapman Walsh, class of 1966. As of June 30, 2008, Wellesley's endowment was approximately $1.63 billion. Wellesley's last fund-raising campaign, in 2005, set a record for liberal arts colleges with a total of $472.3 million, 18.1% more than the goal of $400 million. According to data compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wellesley's campaign total is the largest of any liberal arts college.
Wellesley's average class size is between 12 and 24 students, with a student-faculty ratio of eight to one. Wellesley's libraries contain over 1.5 million catalogued books, journals, media recordings, maps, and other items. Wellesley has 32 academic departments, each offering a major, as well as 22 interdepartmental majors and an option for an individual major, designed by the student.
Wellesley offers support to nontraditional aged students through the Elisabeth Kaiser Davis Degree Program, open to students over the age of 24. The program allows women who, for various reasons, were unable to start or complete a bachelor's degree at a younger age to attend Wellesley.
Although its traditional affiliation has been with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the college now also offers research collaborations and cross-registration programs with other Boston-area institutions, including Babson College, Olin College, and Brandeis University. Wellesley students participate in 13 varsity sports in the NCAA Division III's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference.
According to the 2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Wellesley College is the number 7 liberal arts college in the United States. In addition, Forbes' 2013 "America's Top Colleges" ranked Wellesley College 23rd. In January 2013, The Global Language Monitor ranked Wellesley College as the number 4 college in the U.S., based on an analysis of appearances in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the blogosphere, and social media such as Twitter. The college is ranked 10th in the 2010 Washington Monthly ranking of liberal arts colleges, which purports to measure "Social Mobility," "Research," and "Service."
According to The Wall Street Journal, Wellesley College also ranks fifth in the top liberal arts colleges (15th as one of the top total undergraduate colleges) for sending more students to the selected 15, elite graduate school programs in medicine, law, and business. Wellesley College is one of the Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence in a college educational guide published in 2000.
According to the New York Times, Wellesley College produces the most female Fortune 500 directors, more than any other college. Of the three female Secretaries of State, two were Wellesley College graduates.
Wellesley's 2,400 students come from more than 62 countries and all 50 States of the United States.
Approximately 98% of students live on campus. Some cooperative housing is available, including a sustainable living co-op and a French language house located slightly off-campus. Wellesley offers housing for Davis Scholars as well, though not for their children or spouses, which is a point of frequent debate on campus.
The college has five dining halls, one each in Pomeroy, Tower Court, Stone-Davis, and Bates Halls, and another in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center. Additional food options on campus include a convenience store/coffee shop in the Campus Center, a bakery in Claflin Hall, Collins Café outside the movie theater, El Table, a student-run sandwich shop located in Founders Hall (an academic building housing many of the humanities classes), and Café Hoop, a student-run cooperative cafe in the basement of the Campus Center that is known for its late hours and queer-friendly environment. Next to Café Hoop is the pub, Punch's Alley, which serves alcohol to those over 21.
For more than 30 years, Wellesley has offered a cross-registration program with MIT. In recent years, cross-registration opportunities have expanded to include nearby Babson College, Brandeis University, and Olin College of Engineering. To facilitate cross-registration, the Wellesley College Senate bus runs between Wellesley and the Harvard University and MIT campuses in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the college also operates a shuttle to the Olin College campus in Needham, Massachusetts.
Wellesley College does not have any fraternities or sororities; it does, however, have a number of societies, technically social and academic clubs that fulfill many of the same functions as sororities. The societies sponsor many lectures and events on campus, and contribute funding to events sponsored by other departments and organizations. They hold a process similar to "rushing" a sorority that is called "tea-ing," and organize on-campus parties.
Parties are also held by many of the student organizations on campus. Remix, one of the most well-attended parties on campus, is the traditional first party of every school year. It is hosted by the Schneider Board of Governors (SBOG), Wellesley's college government event-planning committee, which works to create a diverse and inclusive social life on campus. Every spring semester, SBOG holds Spring Week, which includes popular traditions such as Marathon Monday and Hoop Rolling. SBOG also hosts the second biggest party of the year, Block Party, during this week-long event. Additionally, SBOG throws several concerts during Spring Week (past acts have included Macklemore + Ryan Lewis, Baauer, Jeremih, Cold War Kids, Turqouise Jeep Records, Matt & Kim, Major Lazer, Big Sean, Passion Pit, and more). The Wellesley College radio station, WZLY 91.5 FM, also holds a party every semester.
Publications on campus include Counterpoint, the monthly journal of campus life; The Wellesley News, the campus newspaper; and The Wellesley Review, the literary magazine.
There are several a cappella groups at Wellesley. These include the Wellesley College Tupelos, known for their red and black attire; the Blue Notes, known for their black and blue clothing and their more jazzy style of music; and the Wellesley Widows, known for wearing all black. Awaken the Dawn, a Christian a cappella group, is the newest group on campus, and the only one with a religious affiliation. The Wellesley/MIT Toons provide an opportunity for co-ed a cappella for Wellesley students.
Wellesley fields 14 varsity sports teams – basketball, crew, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. Wellesley does not have a mascot in the traditional sense – its sports teams are referred to both individually and collectively as the Blue. The school colors are royal blue and white.
Wellesley is a member of the NCAA Division III and the Eastern Conference Athletic Conference (ECAC) and competes primarily as a member of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). Additionally, the fencing team competes as a member of the Northeast Fencing Conference (NFC) and the golf team became an associate member of the Liberty League during the 2012-2013 school year.
Wellesley is also a member of the Seven Sisters consortium of women's colleges, and participates in competitions in cross-country, volleyball, crew, swimming & diving, squash, and tennis.
Wellesley Athletics is headquartered out of the Keohane Sports Center (the KSC), named for former college president Nan Keohane. Built in 1985, the KSC features a field house, a pool, squash and racquetball courts, a 200m track, a climbing wall, four indoor tennis courts, and various other exercising areas. It also houses the administrative offices. The campus also has four outdoor playing fields and an outdoor track, as well as eight outdoor tennis courts and a boathouse.
The Wellesley College Crew Team, affectionately known as "Blue Crew," was founded in 1970 and was the first women's intercollegiate rowing team in the country.
Wellesley also fields club team in archery, alpine & Nordic skiing, equestrian, ice hockey, rugby, sailing, ultimate Frisbee, and water polo.
Wellesley has had two national champions in its history. In 1991, Karyn Cooper was the NCAA Tennis Singles Champion. In 2011, Randelle Boots was the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Champion in the mile.
As is the case with all of the Seven Sisters, Wellesley College has many traditions, many of them carried over from the late nineteenth-century.
Hoop rolling is a highly anticipated annual tradition at the college dating back to 1895. Each upperclasswoman has a wooden hoop, often passed down to her from her "big sister". Before graduation, the seniors, wearing their graduation robes, run a short race while rolling their hoops. The winner of the race is said to be the first woman in her class to achieve success, however she defines it. (In the early 20th century, however, the winner was said to be the first in her class to marry; in the 1980s, the winner was said to become the class's first CEO.). She is awarded flowers by the president of the College, and then tossed into Lake Waban by her classmates. The tossing of the winner into the lake began several decades ago when a Harvard University male, dressed as a Wellesley student, won the race. When, upon his victory, it was discovered that he wasn't a Wellesley student, he was thrown into the lake. The night before the race, many "little sisters" will camp out on the racecourse near the Library to save a good starting position for their "big sisters."
Some other traditions include step-singing, dorm and class crew races, "Lake Day," "Spring Week," and "Marathon Monday." Class trees are one of Wellesley's more visible traditions; each graduating class plants a tree during its sophomore year. Class trees, as they are called, can be found all over the campus, marked with each class year on a stone at the base of the tree. During sophomore year, students also design and purchase class sweatshirts.
Step-singing is one of the college's oldest traditions and occurs twice during the year. Each graduation class has its own color (purple, red, green, or yellow). Students dress in their class colors and they sing songs on the steps of the chapel. In-between some of the songs, the classes shout cheers that make fun of the other classes.
Each fall, on a date that is not announced until the night before, students celebrate Lake Day. The event consists of fun outdoor activities ranging from fried-dough stands to moonwalks and is deejayed by the college radio station, WZLY. In the past, students skipped classes on Lake Day, but in recent years professors have objected to the practice and held classes as planned. (Students attend class on Lake Day with varying degrees of diligence, however.)
One of the most popular traditions is the celebration of Marathon Monday, which occurs on Patriots Day each spring, and is highlighted by the Boston Marathon. The route of the Boston Marathon passes through the town of Wellesley, with the college situated about half a mile prior to the race's halfway point. Students line up along the street with posters and cheer for the runners. Since they are so loud, the students have created what is widely known as the "Wellesley Scream Tunnel".
Spring Week, held in April, is a week-long series of concerts sponsored by SBOG (Schneider Board of Governors), a committee of College Government responsible for planning and executing campus-wide events.
The Alumnae Achievement Awards, begun in 1970, are another annual tradition; each year, three alumnae are recognized for outstanding achievements in their respective fields. Recipients have included Lynn Sherr, Diane Sawyer, Pamela Melroy, Judith Martin, Nora Ephron, Ophelia Dahl, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Madeleine Korbel Albright, among many others.
The Ruhlman and Tanner Conferences, supported by Wellesley alumnae, are held every year for students to share their learning experience within the college community. Classes are usually canceled on these days. The Tanner Conference is held in the fall to celebrate outside-the-classroom education, including internships and summer or winter session research projects. Ruhlman, in the spring, is a chance for students to present projects they've been working on in courses or independent research during the year. Both conferences encompass panels, readings, and multimedia projects.
During reading period before finals each semester, Wellesley holds "Midnight Breakfast," where students can take a break from studying and eat late-night munchies with classmates. Additionally, at midnight on the night before the first final exam, students participate in "Primal Scream," a chance to vent some of their stress at high volume.
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Fifty-six percent of all Wellesley students receive financial aid. In February 2008, the college eliminated offering financial-aid loans to students from families with incomes under $60,000 (and for international students and Davis Scholars) and it lowered the total amount of student loans by one-third (to a maximum of $8,600 total over four years) to students from families with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000. The maximum loan level for other students on aid is $12,825 total for four years. Wellesley is one of few colleges or universities to meet 100% of a student's demonstrated financial need, thereby opening its doors to young women of promise, regardless of their financial situations.
Wellesley's student body is extremely diverse. Less than half of students are Caucasian, with nearly a quarter of the student body identifying as Asian, and a significant number of Latina and African-American students. Students come from over 60 countries and all 50 states, with 90% of students hailing from outside of Massachusetts.
Noted faculty currently at Wellesley include:
- Frank Bidart, a poet whose work has been nominated for the Pulitzer prize.
- Karl Case, an economist who researches real estate and developed the Case-Shiller index with Robert Shiller from Yale and Allan Weiss.
- Alan Schechter, former Chairman of the Fulbright and mentor to Hillary Rodham Clinton during her years at Wellesley.
- Susan Reverby, a Women's and Gender Studies professor who uncovered the U.S. 1946-48 syphilis experiments in Guatemala.
Many of Wellesley's alumnae work in a variety of fields, ranging from government and public service to business to the arts. They include mountain climbers (Heidi Howkins, class of 1989, the only woman to lead expeditions to both Everest and K2), authors (such as Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, class of 1914, pen name Carolyn Keene), astronomers (including Annie Jump Cannon, class of 1884, who developed the well-known Harvard Classification of stars based upon temperature), astronauts (Pamela Melroy class of 1983), screenwriters, (including Nora Ephron, class of 1962, famous for such films as When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattle), journalists (Linda Wertheimer, class of 1965, Lynn Sherr, class of 1963, Diane Sawyer, class of 1967, and Cokie Roberts, class of 1964, being a few notable examples), entrepreneurs (including Robin Chase, class of 1980, the co-founder of ZipCar), mathematicians (Winifred Edgerton Merrill, class of 1883, was the first woman to ever receive a PhD in mathematics), judges (including Jane Bolin, class of 1928, the first African-American woman to become a judge, and current federal appeals judges Reena Raggi, Amalya Kearse, and Susan P. Graber). From the field of communications, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, class of 1991, CNBC Chief International Correspondent. Secretaries of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, class of 1969, and Madeleine Albright, class of 1959, have spoken with enthusiasm about the formative impact their Wellesley experiences had on their later careers. Soong May-ling (also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek or Madame Chiang), the former First Lady of the China, attended Wellesley College studying English literature and philosophy; she graduated as one of the 33 Durant Scholars on June 19, 1917. On February 18, 1943, she became the first Chinese national and the second woman to address both houses of the U.S. Congress. She played a prominent role in the US-China relationship during World War II.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wellesley College.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article Wellesley College.|
- Wellesley College official website
- Wellesley College official athletics website
- The Swellesley Report blog, covers Wellesley MA news, including Wellesley College news
- List of Notable Alumnae
- "Wellesley". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911