|Motto||Mens Sana In Corpore Sano
(Sound Mind in Sound Body)
|Established||1821, Preparatory school
|Endowment||$73 million (2012)|
|President||James T. Harris III|
|Academic staff||326 full-time|
|Undergraduates||3,204 (2,790 day, 414 evening)|
|Postgraduates||3,260 (1,598 law students)|
|Location||Chester, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Campus||Urban, 108 acres (.44 km²)|
|Colors||Widener Blueand Gold|
|Athletics||20 varsity teams, Division III (MAC)|
|Nickname||Pride (introduced in 2006), formerly the Pioneers and the Cadets (when PMC)|
Widener University is a private, coeducational university located in Chester, Pennsylvania. Its main campus sits on 108 acres (.44 km²), just 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Philadelphia. The university has three other campuses: two in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg and Exton) and one in Wilmington, Delaware.
Founded as The Bullock School for Boys in 1821, the school was established in Wilmington, Delaware. It became the The Alsop School for Boys from 1846–1853, and then Hyatt's Select School for Boys from 1853-1859. Military instruction was introduced in 1858 and in 1859 the school changed its name to Delaware Military Academy. It moved to Pennsylvania in 1862 and became Pennsylvania Military Academy. It was known as Pennsylvania Military College after 1892 and adopted the Widener name in 1972.
About 3,300 undergraduates and 3,300 graduate students attend Widener in eight degree-granting schools. The university offers associate's, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in areas ranging from traditional liberal arts to professional programs. The Carnegie Foundation classifies Widener as a Doctoral/Research University and a Community Engagement Institution. Widener was ranked #181 in the National Universities category by US News & World Report for 2012.
- 1 History
- 2 Campuses
- 3 Academics
- 4 Athletics
- 5 Student life
- 6 Community
- 7 Notable alumni or attendees
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
Founded in 1821 as a preparatory school for boys in Wilmington, Delaware, the institution now known as Widener University moved to Pennsylvania in 1862 and was granted collegiate powers and privileges via universal charter by the Pennsylvania legislature in April of the same year. It was known from 1892 to 1972 as Pennsylvania Military College, though it had officially become PMC Colleges in 1966 when a nonmilitary, coeducational component was added. Graduate programs were also introduced in 1966.
In 1972 the name Widener College was adopted after the prominent Widener family of Philadelphia and the Corps of Cadets disbanded (an Army ROTC program still exists). The School of Law was acquired in 1975. In recognition of its comprehensive offerings, Widener College became Widener University in 1979. Today, Widener is a four-campus university offering more than 80 programs of study.
Throughout its long history, the university has undergone several name changes. The following table details the various names Widener has held over the years as well as any significant organizational changes that occurred during each period.
|1821–1846||The Bullock School for Boys, founded by John Bullock in Wilmington, Delaware|
|1846–1853||The Alsop School for Boys|
|1853–1859||Hyatt's Select School for Boys
|1859–1862||Delaware Military Academy|
|1862–1892||Pennsylvania Military Academy|
|1892–1966||Pennsylvania Military College (also known as PMC)|
|1966–1972||PMC Colleges (for Pennsylvania Military College and Penn Morton College, the civilian component)
Widener consists of four campuses, the Main Campus in Chester, Pennsylvania, plus campuses in Wilmington, Delaware, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Exton, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1866 after the school moved to Chester, the 108-acre (0.44 km2) Main Campus consists of over 100 buildings and serves all undergraduate day students as well as Continuing Studies, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) students, and graduate students. Widener's graduate programs include business, education, engineering, nursing, social work, physical therapy, and clinical psychology.
The School of Law, opening in 1976 on the Delaware Campus, consists of 16 buildings across 40 acres (160,000 m2) and is 12 miles (19 km) from the Main Campus. It contains the School of Law (shared with the Harrisburg Campus) as well as the Legal Education Institute. Some classes for Continuing Studies students and graduate business students are also held here. The 21-acre (85,000 m2) Harrisburg Campus, opening in 1989, contains the School of Law (shared with the Delaware Campus) and has graduate programs in nursing and social work held there. Starting in 2004, the Exton Campus was added to Widener's growing institution. It is located in a business park 25 miles (40 km) from the Main Campus. It primarily serves Continuing Studies students and contains Widener's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which provides continuing education programs for retired adults.
Widener's comprehensive offerings range from liberal arts to professional programs and include over 50 undergraduate majors, 40 minors, and more than 30 graduate programs of study. In particular, programs in engineering, computer science, business, nursing, and hospitality management have generated the most praise from students according to a survey conducted by The Princeton Review. On top of that, Widener offers a variety of majors and minors that suit everyone's educational goals, from creative writing, psychology, and physics to biology, English, and political science. Widener has an undergraduate student to faculty ratio of 12:1 with 90% of the full-time faculty having doctorates or the highest degree in their field. In addition, class sizes are kept small with 60% of all classes containing less than 20 students.
The university comprises the following schools:
- College of Arts and Sciences: The largest undergraduate school at Widener provides 30 majors and 33 minors within its three divisions: Humanities, Science, and Social Science. The college is also home to pre-professional programs in law and medicine. All undergraduates within the college fulfill general education requirements in all three divisions as well as take an interdisciplinary values seminar during their junior or senior year. The college mainly consists of undergraduate programs, however a few master's programs do exist (including MPA and MALS programs). The most popular undergraduate majors within the college are psychology, criminal justice, computer science, biology, communication studies, government & politics and English.
- School of Business Administration: The School of Business Administration, accredited by the AACSB, provides undergraduate programs in management, accounting, international business, and economics as well as graduate programs in information systems, business administration, financial planning, and human resources. The school's MBA program offers dual programs in engineering (MEng/MBA with the School of Engineering), law (JD/MBA with the School of Law), clinical psychology (PsyD/MBA with the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology) and medicine (MD/MBA with Thomas Jefferson University).
- School of Education, Innovation & Continuing Studies: The SEICS school is a collection of professional programs in education, as well as the home for Widener's Continuing Studies program, a system specifically geared to the needs of adult undergraduate students. It comprises the following academic units:
- Center for Education: The center provides bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs in education within a variety of areas including elementary education, special education, educational psychology, human sexuality, and school administration. The center serves as the home of the only nationally accredited doctoral program in human sexuality, having acquired the program from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.
- Continuing Studies: Continuing Studies serves part-time adult undergraduate students and offers both associate's and bachelor's degrees. Classes are held during the evenings or weekends and focus mainly on professional areas such as nursing, business, education, and information systems.
- Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI): The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute provides continuing education classes to mature adults, offering them the opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation, and social interaction. OLLI educational programs are centered around classes developed and taught by its members who volunteer their time and talents to share their knowledge and interests with other members.
- School of Engineering: The school offers ABET-accredited undergraduate programs in chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. as well as a major in biomedical engineering (added fall 2011) and a minor in bio-engineering. Master's (MEng) programs exist in all of the same fields in addition to engineering management and dual specialization. A dual MEng/MBA program also exists with the School of Business Administration.
- School of Hospitality Management: Widener is one of the earliest schools dedicated to hospitality management. It provides undergraduate (B.S.) and graduate (M.S.) study in areas such as hotel and resort management, private club management, tourism, and casino and gaming operations. Its facilities include fully equipped production and demonstration kitchens as well as a restaurant, the Marriott Dining Room, which is open to the public and is student run.
- School of Human Service Professions: Founded in 1993, the Widener University School of Human Service Professions offers baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees in the fields of clinical psychology, human sexuality, physical therapy, and social work.
- Center for Social Work Education: The center provides bachelor's (BSW), master's (MSW), and doctorate programs (PhD) in social work.
- Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology: Founded in 1970 by Hahnemann University's medical school, the program moved to Widener in 1989 and became the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology. The institute houses the second oldest PsyD program in the United States. The PsyD program is accredited by the APA and allows a variety of concentrations including family therapy, forensic psychology, and organizational psychology. The institute is also home to the Neuropsychology Assessment Center and the Biofeedback Clinic and Certification Center, which provides services and treatment to the public.
- Institute for Physical Therapy Education: The institute offers a full-time, 3-year doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. The program is available for entry-level students as well as transitional students who are already licensed physical therapists. A pre-physical therapy program exists for undergraduates who wish to pursue the DPT degree.
- School of Law: The school is home to an ABA accredited J.D. program and operates on two of Widener's campuses: Wilmington, Delaware and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
- School of Nursing: Accredited by the NLN, the school has bachelor's (BSN), master's (MSN), and doctorate (PhD) programs in nursing. A part-time, evening, or weekend BSN program and accelerated programs for RNs are also available. Founders Hall, home to the nursing school, was opened in 2012, housing a state-of-the-art simulation center, where nursing students have the opportunity to work hands-on with nursing equipment and lifelike models.
Rankings and classifications
In 2010, Washington Monthly magazine ranked Widener 56th out of all national universities in the country. These rankings are based on how well a university benefits the country including such factors as promoting social mobility, scientific and humanistic research, and service, including ROTC and the Peace Corps.
In 2013, Widener was named a finalist for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Presidential award - one of only 14 institutions in the nation to receive that honor. The university has made the honor roll every year since its inception in 2006. The 2012 Best Colleges list from U. S. News and World Report ranked Widener 181st among national universities. It also ranks Widener's undergraduate engineering program 79th among all programs whose highest engineering degree is a bachelor's or master's. Out of the 262 national universities ranked, Widener is 55th in the category "Highest Proportion of Classes Under 20 Students". The U.S. News and World Report's 2008 Best Graduate Schools ranks several of Widener's graduate programs: clinical psychology → #145, health care management → #49, nursing → #141, physical therapy → #173, and social work → #140.
The Carnegie Foundation classifies Widener as a Doctoral/Research University whose undergraduate population is highly residential and selective. It also one of 76 institutions classified as a Community Engagement Institution; only 2 other schools in the Philadelphia region share this classification, University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College.
The co-op program is available as an option for all undergraduate students within the School of Engineering and School of Business Administration, as well as for computer science majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. This program enables a student to earn their degree in 4 years while gaining up to 1 year of work experience.
All students in the School of Hospitality Management are required to enroll in a co-op for a single semester (16 weeks) during their junior or senior year. The co-op work is full-time and counts for course credit. The school also has its own restaurant, the Marriott Dining Room, which is open to the public and run by the students.
All undergraduate students in engineering and computer science are required to complete a year-long research and design project during their final year of school. The projects are usually done in teams with a faculty advisor and culminates in a final presentation and demonstration. Other science majors have the option to participate in research with faculty members. This research is often presented at local or national conferences and can be published in scientific journals if applicable.
The Honors Program in General Education (HPGE) consists of approximately 200 undergraduate students and provides its students with seminar courses that fulfill the university's general education requirements. Students in the program must take at least 5 honors courses and also attend at least 8 cultural events held on campus or in the Philadelphia area. Students who complete the program are awarded a Certificate of Honors in General Education at graduation. Admission to the program is based on the student's SAT scores, high school GPA, and ranking. Students who prove their academic standing within the first year of attending Widener may be asked to join the HPGE during the summer of their freshman-to-sophomore year.
The Army ROTC program traces its origins back to when the university was a military college. Today, the Army ROTC program offers 2, 3 and 4-year scholarships, as well as traditional instruction in military science. The program also sponsors students from the following local area schools: Villanova University, Penn State Abington, West Chester University, Cheyney University, Penn State Brandywine, and Neumann College. About 25% of students in the program are nursing majors. The university produced more Army Nurses than any other school in the 2006-2007 academic year.
Presidential Service Corps (PSC) / Bonner Leaders Program
Widener University is a member of the Bonner Foundation and is devoted to civic engagement. PSC members are undergraduates who contribute their time to the Chester community through service and are examples of Widener's civic engagement strategies. Incoming members to the PSC program are required to complete 300 hours of service each year in order to receive a $5,000 scholarship towards their tuition. Members are chosen based on academic performance in high school and civic leadership. Only 15 members out of the incoming freshman class are selected to join the program.
Widener has 20 varsity teams (10 for men and 10 for women) participating in Division III within the Commonwealth and Middle Atlantic Conferences (MAC). Formally known as the Pioneers, their mascot changed to the Pride in the Fall of 2006 after a student poll. Widener sports teams include:
- Men's and Women's varsity: basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field
- Men's varsity: baseball, football, and golf
- Women's varsity: field hockey, softball, and volleyball
- Club sports: men's ice hockey, men's volleyball, men's rugby union, women's rugby, and cheerleading
The football team has had recent success winning the MAC championship in 2012 and an "Elite 8" appearance in the Division III Playoffs, the ECAC Southwest Bowl in 2011, and the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl in 2005. Its greatest success has been winning the NCAA Division III National Championship in 1977 and 1981 under long-time coach Bill Manlove and reaching the semi-finals in 1979, 1980, and 2000. Widener also reached the quarterfinals of the tournament in 2012 before losing to eventual NCAA D-III National Champion, Mount Union, by a lopsided 72-17 score. Additionally, Widener football has won 17 MAC championships, the most of any team in the conference. Billy "White Shoes" Johnson played for Widener in the early 70s. He went on to be an all-pro NFL player and was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team as well as the College Football Hall of Fame.
The men's basketball team has won 15 MAC titles and appeared in the NCAA Division III Tournament 17 times, advancing to the "Sweet 16" in 1987 and 2006, the "Final 4" in 1985, and the championship game in 1978. The men's lacrosse team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 8 times since 2000 and has won 12 MAC titles since 1996. The men's swimming team has won 12 MAC titles since 1994.
The Schwartz Athletic Center is home to basketball, swimming, indoor track, and volleyball. It houses a newly renovated 25-yard (23 m) by 25 meter 10-lane competition swimming pool, squash/racquetball courts, and administrative offices for the athletic department. Schwartz is also home to the new Wellness Center, opened in April 2006 to provide the faculty, staff, and students with additional recreational and fitness opportunities. In addition to exercise equipment, the Wellness Center provides fitness classes and a 24-foot (7.3 m) rock climbing wall.
Opening in 1994, Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium seats over 4,000 people and has a turf playing field surrounded by an 8-lane track. The stadium houses the football, soccer, men's lacrosse, and outdoor track & field teams. In addition, Edith R. Dixon Field, opening in 2005, houses the women's field hockey and lacrosse teams. It sports an artificial turf, lighting, and a scoreboard. The field is also used for the intramural teams.
The Philadelphia Eagles held their summer training camp on Widener's campus between 1973 and 1979. The 2006 movie Invincible depicts the campus during the Eagles' 1976 summer training camp. Since 2006, the Philadelphia Soul have held practices at Widener as well.
Widener enrolls approximately 6,300 total students including 3,600 undergraduate, 1,700 graduate students, and 1,000 law school students. Among full-time undergraduate students, the male/female ratio is nearly 1:1 (44% male, 56% female). 48% of undergraduates choose to live on the Main Campus while the remaining students live off-campus or commute. Approximately 54% of all full-time undergraduates are from Pennsylvania with 45% coming from the rest of the country (predominantly Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia), and 1% of students originating from outside the U.S. The acceptance rate for undergraduate applicants in fall 2013 was 65.5%.
Student clubs and events
The university has over 100 student clubs including honor societies, religious organizations, media groups, and special interest clubs. Greek Week, Spring Carnival, and Homecoming are among the popular events on campus. Graduate students are currently not allowed to participate in club sports activities.
Media is big on Widener's campus. The Blue&Gold: Widener University's Student Media Site was established in spring 2013. This outlet for student reporting has been growing ever since, telling the news and giving students a voice on campus. TV Club is Widener's student-run television program. WDNR is the student-run campus radio station that plays a variety of music including hip-hop, rock, metal, and punk.
- Fraternities: Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Lambda Phi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Sigma, and Theta Chi
- Sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Phi Sigma Sigma, and Sigma Sigma Sigma
Widener is one of only 22 colleges that is a member of Project Pericles, an organization promoting social responsibility and addressing civic apathy among students. It is also one of only 76 institutions classified as a Community Engagement Institution by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Only two other schools in the Philadelphia region share this classification - University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College.
Widener has several initiatives aimed at benefiting the surrounding community. These include:
- Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center — The school opened the center in 2006 to provide consulting and educational programs to local small businesses and entrepreneurs. It is one of only 18 in the state and one of 3 in the Philadelphia region (with Temple University and University of Pennsylvania).
- Philadelphia Speakers Series — Since 2004, Widener has sponsored this series which has had such notable speakers as Steve Wozniak, Henry Kissinger, Walter Cronkite and Dave Barry.
- University Technology Park — A joint project started in 1999 between the university and Crozer-Keystone Health System to foster small business opportunities focusing on health care, science and technology. It currently consists of two buildings (with three more planned) on 20 acres (81,000 m2) and is located directly in between the Main Campus and Crozer-Keystone Medical Center.
- Widener University Observatory — The observatory has free public telescope viewings throughout the school year hosted by the physics and astronomy department.
In 2006, the university established a new charter school near the Main Campus in Chester to serve local residents from kindergarten to grade 5. Named the Widener Partnership Charter School, the school utilizes the university's programs in education, social work, nursing, and clinical psychology. This collaboration involves the participation of Widener faculty and students to not only provide educational support but also provide additional assistance outside of school through counseling and health services.
Classes in the charter school started in September 2006, enrolling 50 students in both kindergarten and grade 1. The school continued to add a new grade each year until grade 8 had been reached, surpassing the initial expectations of the project.
Chester revitalization project
A $50 million revitalization project was started in 2007. The project, named University Crossings, included the addition of a hotel, bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, and apartments. The project is expected to have an overall economic impact of $1 million to Chester, as well as creating 60 new jobs.
Notable alumni or attendees
As of 2011, there are 59,018 total living alumni.
- Rula Al-Saffar, former president of the Bahrain Nursing Society and current activist for Bahraini rights
- Richard Alloway, Pennsylvania state senator from 2006
- Rosalie Mirenda, current president of Neumann University
- David J. Brightbill, Pennsylvania state senator from 1982 to 2006
- Irving J. Carr, U.S. Army Major General.
- Mark B. Cohen, longest serving current member, Pennsylvania General Assembly
- Tom Deery, College Football Hall of Fame inductee (1998)
- Cecil B. DeMille, legendary Hollywood director
- Joe Fields, New York Jets all-pro center
- Robert Florczak, artist-in-residence, 1972-73
- John Lance "Jack" Geoghegan, 1963, Vietnam War hero, recipient of the Bronze Star
- Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, 1974, NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, College Football Hall of Fame inductee (1996)
- Brendan Kehoe, author of Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide and software developer
- Benjamin Ralph Kimlau, Chinese American World War II hero (1938–1942)
- Phil Martelli, St. Joseph's University head basketball coach
- Matthew McGrory, world's tallest actor
- Sylvanus Morley, archaeologist
- Patrick J. Murphy, U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania
- Burt Mustin, actor, Gus the Fireman on Leave it to Beaver
- D. Lane Powers 1915, represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1933 to 1945.
- Leslie C. Quick Jr., founder Quick & Reilly Inc.
- Pat Quinn, former NHL Coach and General Manager
- Brent Staples, 1973, New York Times editorial writer and author of Parallel Time
- Bill Stern, newsreel and sports commentator
- Brian Tierney, publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News
- John H. Tilelli, Jr., 1963, United States Army four-star general
- William John Wolfgram, 1943, World War II hero, recipient of the Bronze Star
- Dan Yemin, musician
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- David Lane Powers, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed September 9, 2007.