Agnes Scott College

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Agnes Scott College
Former names
Decatur Female Seminary
Agnes Scott Institute
Motto "Educating women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times."
Type Private liberal arts college
Women's college
Established 1889
Affiliation Presbyterian
Endowment $261.4 million (2015)[1]
President Elizabeth Kiss
Academic staff
Undergraduates 902 (Fall 2015)[2]
Location Decatur, Georgia, USA
Campus Suburban; total 91 acres
Athletic complex (7 acres)
Bradley Observatory and Delafield Planetarium (1.5 acres)
Newspaper Agnes Scott Profile
Colors Purple and White         
Athletics NCAA Division IIIGSAC
Nickname Scotties
Mascot Scottie dog
Affiliations APCU
Annapolis Group
Oberlin Group
Agnes Scott College.jpg
Agnes Scott College Mission Statement

Agnes Scott College (commonly known as Agnes Scott) is a private liberal arts college in downtown Decatur, Georgia.

Agnes Scott currently enrolls 914 students. In 2006, the student to faculty ratio was 10:1.[3] Eighty-seven percent of the faculty are full-time, and 100% of the tenure-track faculty hold terminal degrees.

The college offers 34 majors and 31 minors[4] and is affiliated with numerous institutions. Students who graduate from Agnes Scott may receive a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree, depending on major. Also offered are dual degrees in Nursing and Computer Science through Emory University,[5][6] a dual degree in Engineering through Georgia Institute of Technology,[7] and a Bridge to Business Program[8] in partnership with the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. There are two masters partnerships offered with Georgia Institute of Technology’s M.B.A. program and Emory University’s Master of Public Health Program.[9]

Agnes Scott is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is considered one of the Seven Sisters of the South.[10][11] The current mission of the college, adopted in 2002, states: Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.[12]

Despite such affiliations and its claim to honorably empower women, the college became controversial in the small urban community after restricting community access to parts of its campus, and for persecuting, through the courts, a young woman who was wrongfully arrested by campus police for an alleged sexual assault. In 2014, the woman, Amanda Hartley, sued the university with various legal arguments reaching the supreme court.

Hartley was held for almost a month in a local jail. She was proven to have been out of state when the assault on campus occurred and was released, but only after a lengthy detention and claims that she lost academic funding, job etc. The campus police investigation was criticized for its incompetency at various levels in the legal process. Local leaders encouraged the college to do right by the young woman; however, the college fought at multiple court levels to avoid legal responsibility. The trial is scheduled for 2016.


Agnes Scott College educates students to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location— offering myriad cultural and experiential learning opportunities. A diverse and growing residential community of scholars, this highly selective liberal arts and sciences college is known for its dynamic and challenging intellectual community. With a curriculum driven by an intentional focus on leadership development and global learning—including opportunities for students to study in a country other than origin beginning in their very first year—Agnes Scott College prepares students to lead—everywhere.

Curriculum and Academics[edit]

Summit, Agnes Scott’s signature approach to a liberal arts education, reinvents the liberal arts for the twenty-first century by preparing every student to be an effective change agent in a global society

Guided by a personal board of advisors, every student, regardless of major, designs an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and an understanding of complex global dynamics.

All students:

  • Complete a core curriculum suffused with leadership development and global learning
  • Kick-off their college career with a three-day leadership immersion
  • Participate in a faculty-led global study tour in the Spring of their first year
  • Build a personalized board of advisors consisting of a SUMMIT advisor, a peer advisor, a major advisor, and a career mentor to guide them in crafting their unique educational journey
  • Create a digital portfolio in which they collect, reflect upon and showcase their achievements
  • Engage a cutting edge leadership curriculum that includes coursework, practica and opportunities to meet extraordinary leaders from all walks of life and a global curriculum that builds inter-cultural understanding and grapples with global issues at home and abroad
  • Complete a culminating project that synthesizes and contextualizes their four years of learning at Agnes Scott College
  • Have the opportunity to complete a specialization in leadership development or global learning and earn a notation on their transcript Equipped with a rigorous liberal arts and sciences education, an understanding of complex global issues and the ability to lead strategically and honorably, Agnes Scott graduates are ready to scale the next SUMMIT.[13]

Rigorous academics and faculty investment have produced Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Recipients, Kemper Scholars, Hubert Scholars, and more.

Campus and Location[edit]

Located in Decatur, Georgia, Agnes Scott is just minutes away from downtown Atlanta. Students have immediate access to the resources of one of America’s most culturally rich and economically vibrant cities. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which serves more than 75 international destinations, is located a quick drive or train ride away. Internships and jobs are available at the Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, UPS, CNN, or many of the other global companies that call Atlanta home. Atlanta is also home to 20 colleges and universities that participate in the ARCHE (Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education) cross-registration program, enabling Agnes Scott students to study at other schools.

Student Life[edit]

There is never a dull moment on campus with 100+ student organizations offering a variety of entertainment and activities. The buzzing athletics scene offers six varsity teams and plenty of intramurals.

Agnes Scott students witness and participate in cherished traditions such as signing the honor code, taking part in Black Cat week, which marks the end of orientation, receiving the Black Ring during Sophomore year, or ringing the bell on receiving a job offer or graduate school acceptance.


The college was founded in 1889 as Decatur Female Seminary by Presbyterian minister Frank H. Gaines. In 1890, the name was changed to Agnes Scott Institute to honor the mother of the college's primary benefactor, Col. George Washington Scott. The name was changed again to Agnes Scott College in 1906, and remains today a women's college.

Agnes Scott is considered the first higher education institution in the state of Georgia to receive regional accreditation.[14][15] The current president is Elizabeth Kiss, the founding director of Duke University's Kenan Institute for Ethics.

On July 27, 1994, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Candler Street-Agnes Scott College Historic District.[16] The historic district boundaries are East College Ave., South McDonough St., S. Candler St., East Hill St. and East Davis St. It includes the entire campus, as well as historic homes adjacent to the campus. The campus is also designated by the City of Decatur as a historic district.

Special Curricula[edit]

Undergraduate programs:

Coeducational graduate programs:

  • Master of Arts in teaching secondary English (program ending May 14, 2011)
  • Master of Arts in teaching secondary math and science (program ending May 14, 2011)
  • Post-baccalaureate pre-medical program


Downtown Decatur[edit]

Agnes Scott College is located within walking distance of downtown Decatur. A MARTA subway station, located in downtown Decatur, allows students to travel to Atlanta.

Agnes Scott (Main) Hall, the oldest building on campus, was built in 1891 and once housed the entire school. This is documented in the history of Agnes Scott by Dr. McNair entitled Lest We Forget published in 1983.

Buttrick Hall
Looking across the quad
McCain Library at dusk

Agnes Scott occupies more than 90 acres (360,000 m2) in Decatur. The college also owns the Avery Glen apartments as well as more than a dozen houses in the surrounding neighborhoods housing faculty, staff, and students. There are also six dedicated undergraduate dormitories located on campus.

The Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott houses the Beck Telescope, a 30-inch (760 mm) Cassegrain reflector, as well as a planetarium with 70-seat capacity and a radio telescope. Recently Agnes Scott College and the Georgia Tech Research Institute have collaborated on a project that added a LIDAR facility to the observatory.[17]

The college's science building contains a three-story rendering of part of the nucleotide sequence from Agnes Scott's mitochrondrial DNA. The DNA came from a blood sample of an ASC alumna who is a direct descendant of the college's namesake.

American poet Robert Frost was an annual visitor at Agnes Scott from 1945 to his death in 1962.[18] During his visits, he would read poetry in Presser Hall. A statue of the poet sculpted by George W. Lundeen sits in the alumnae gardens. A collection of Frost's poetry and letters can be viewed at McCain Library.


Agnes Scott has committed to becoming a carbon-neutral institute by the college's 150th anniversary in 2039 and has taken steps such as partnering with the Clean Air Campaign to reduce its impact on the local environment.[19]

As of 2015, the college has five solar arrays, four of which are part of Georgia Power's Advanced Solar Initiative. The fifth array is on the rooftop of the Bradley Observatory and is also used for student research. The renovation of Campbell Hall into a mixed use residence hall, learning center, and office space was concluded in 2014 and included installation of a hydro-geothermic HVAC system.[20]

The college hosts a Zipcar.[21]

Student life[edit]


Non-commuter students are expected to live in on-campus housing for all four years as an undergraduate at Agnes Scott College.[22] There are six resident halls situated around the Northern edge of the campus: Winship, Walters, Inman, Rebekah, Campbell and Agnes Scott Hall (nicknamed "Main"). Agnes Scott also owns off-campus apartments one block from campus called Avery Glen. Winship and Walters are traditionally reserved for first-year students. Upperclasswomen participate in a numeric room selection process, where students choose to live in loft-style dorms, tower rooms, or apartments with their friends. Single rooms are available in Inman, Main and Rebekah, while triple rooms are available exclusively in Main.[23] Beginning in August 2014, Campbell offers students suite-style rooms for four, with two students per room and a shared restroom.[24] Hopkins Hall was retired as a residence hall after the 2014–2015 academic year due to increased need for office space on campus.

Campus organizations[edit]

Due to the small size of the Agnes Scott College community, students are encouraged to start any organization or group that does not yet exist on campus.[25] Students are also welcome to join the diverse group of organizations recognized by the school's student government, including a secret society or two.


The Silhouette is the yearbook published by the students of Agnes Scott College. All students are invited to join the staff.

Aurora is the Agnes Scott literary magazine. The magazine is published once a year and includes student poetry, prose, and artwork. In the past, the magazine has also considered publishing musical compositions.

Psychobabble is the student-run newsletter of Agnes Scott's Department of Psychology. The newsletter’s goal is to create an informed and united community within the discipline by promoting coordinated activities and facilitating communication and relationships among faculty, students and staff. Psychobabble gives psychology majors and minors an opportunity to involve themselves in their interest and form an identity as undergraduate students, while benefiting the department as a whole and supporting the educational experience of their peers.

The Profile, the college's independent student newspaper, is published bi-weekly during the academic year. All students interested in writing, photography, editing, layout and design, cartoons, advertising or circulation are encouraged to join the staff.


Agnes Scott is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III which fields six sports teams including basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. All teams compete in the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South). The tennis team is arguably Agnes Scott’s most successful team, having won the conference championship and advanced to the NCAA national tournament six times: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The newest team is cross country, which was restarted in 2014 after being cut during the 2008 school year.

Agnes Scott uses the tune of the Notre Dame Victory March as their fight song and to rally the students together during the annual Black Cat Spirit Week. The Agnes Scott mascot is a "Scottie," a Scottish Terrier named Victory.


Mascot and School Colors
The school colors of Agnes Scott are purple and white and the school mascot is the Scottie, a Scottish Terrier.

Class Colors
Each incoming class is assigned a class color—red, yellow, blue, or green—and votes on a class mascot that correlates with that color. The colors and mascots are intended to establish class pride, particularly during one week of activities called Black Cat.

Black Cat
Black Cat occurs every fall and is Agnes Scott's version of homecoming week. The week includes a number of class-focused games and activities and culminates in a series of skits written, directed, and performed by the junior class. Each class has the opportunity to showcase its mascot that features the class color. If there is dissatisfaction with a class mascot, the class is given the option to revote and choose a different mascot their second year.[26]

Pestle Board
A senior-only social and philanthropic society created to lampoon the campus chapter of the academic honor society Mortar Board. Whereas Mortar Board has strict GPA and extracurricular prerequisites for membership, Pestle Board's only entry requirement is the completion of a humorous initiation process known as "capping" that pairs junior "cappees" with graduating senior "cappers". Capping also involves Pestle Board's largest philanthropic fundraiser of the year.

Class Ring
The class ring is given to students during the spring of their sophomore year in a special ceremony. The ring is very distinctive with a rectangular engraved black onyx stone inscribed ASC and has remained essentially the same since its introduction in the 1920s with choices only in metal (white or yellow gold) and antiquing. Alumnae who wear the ring are recognizable to one another or those familiar with the college's tradition. Students and Alumnae alike dub themselves the "Black Ring Mafia".

Honor Code
The honor code is held in high regard among Agnes Scott students and faculty.[27] At the beginning of every academic year, new students must sign the honor code and recite a pledge promising to uphold the high academic and social standards of the institution.

"As a member of the student body of Agnes Scott College, I consider myself bound by honor to develop and uphold high standards of honesty and behavior; to strive for full intellectual and moral stature; to realize my social and academic responsibility in the community. To attain these ideals, I do therefore accept this Honor System as my way of life."

Students self govern themselves and ask violators of the code to turn themselves in to Honor Court. The trust the Honor Code builds between faculty and students allows for students to take self scheduled, unproctored, exams.

Senior Investiture
Senior Investiture is one of the college’s most cherished traditions. During the investiture ceremony in the fall of students' senior year, each student is capped with an academic mortar board as a symbol of her senior status at the college by the Dean.

Bell Ringers
Seniors at Agnes Scott traditionally ring the bell in Agnes Scott Hall's bell tower upon acceptance to graduate school or a job offer. This tradition dates from the early 1990s after the tower acquired its bell during the administration of President Ruth Schmidt. Students who ring the bell sign their names on the walls of the tower.

Alumnae Pond
Tradition dictates that students who get engaged are thrown into the alumnae pond by their classmates.[28]


University rankings
Forbes[29] 284
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[30] 67

U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 edition of “Best Colleges”

  • 4th in Most Innovative Schools (National Liberal Arts Colleges)
  • #70 among National Liberal Arts Colleges
  • #23 in Best Value Schools Liberal Arts Colleges[31]

Forbes Best Value Colleges 2016

  • #250 among America’s Best Value College[32]

The Chronicle of Higher Education

  • “Top Fulbright Producer”[33]

The Princeton Review Best Colleges 2017

  • "Best 381 Colleges"
  • "Best Southeastern Colleges"
  • "Green Colleges"
  • "Colleges That Pay You Back"

The 2004 edition of US News and World Report's rankings for best liberal arts colleges placed Agnes Scott as tied for number 50 in the country, and that year promotional information and school merchandise advertised the college's place among the "top 50."

In 2004, the college ranked second among women's colleges, seventh among national liberal arts colleges, and 27th overall in endowment per full-time enrolled student.[citation needed]

In April 2007, Kiplinger named Agnes Scott as one of the top 50 private liberal arts colleges.

Princeton Review's 2007 The Best 361 Colleges ranks the college as follows:
No. 4 for "Most Beautiful Campus"
No. 8 for "Dorms Like Palaces"
No. 11 for "Diverse Student Population"
No. 13 for "Students Happy with Financial Aid"

According to the 2010 US News and World Report, Agnes Scott is ranked the 59th best liberal arts college in the country. It is the highest ranked women's college in the southeast. The report also ranked Agnes Scott as No. 28 for "Great School, Great Price."

Princeton Review's 2011 The Best 373 Colleges ranks the college as follows:
No. 3 for "Easiest Campus to Get Around" (ASC’s second consecutive year in Top 10)
No. 8 for "Town Gown Relations Are Great" (ASC’s third consecutive year in Top 10)
No. 10 for "Best Quality of Life"
No. 19 for "Don't Inhale"
No. 20 for "Stone Cold Sober" (ASC traditionally places Top 20 in this category)[34]

Agnes Scott is one of forty colleges profiled in the book Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope.

Notable achievements[edit]

  • Agnes Scott College was the first college in Georgia to compost in its residence halls.[35]
  • Agnes Scott pulled off what is considered the biggest upset in the history of the televised quiz show College Bowl when they beat Princeton University, 220-215, on March 6, 1966.[36]
  • New York Senator Hillary Clinton delivered Agnes Scott's May 2005 commencement address.[37] At the ceremony, she and alumna playwright Marsha Norman received the first honorary degrees conferred by the college.
  • Distinguished alumnae include: Ila Burdette ’81 Georgia's first female Rhodes Scholar; Gates Millennium scholarship winners; the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court; the CEO of Ann Taylor; Pulitzer Prize and Oscar winners; and the first woman to chair the Federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission.[38]
  • In 2009, Agnes Scott students were recognized for excellence in many fields, with four Fulbright Scholars; two Goldwater Scholars (the same as Harvard [39]), recognizing work in mathematics, engineering or science; one Truman Scholar for public service leadership potential; one Kemper Scholar providing career development in business administration and one Jessie Ball DuPont Fellowship providing two-year work and study in philanthropy.[38]
  • Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State, delivered Agnes Scott's 121st commencement May 2010.[40] Agnes Scott's President Elizabeth Kiss has described Albright as, a "true trailblazer." "Her record of leadership, public service and commitment to creating a more just and humane world makes her a perfect role model for Agnes Scott students," Kiss said.[41]
  • Agnes Scott is ranked #2 among U.S. colleges and universities in economics Ph.D.s earned per undergraduate degree awarded.[42]

Notable alumnae[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Common Data Set 2015–2016" (PDF). Agnes Scott College. 
  3. ^ "Common Data Set 2006–2007" (pdf). 
  4. ^ "Search for your major at Agnes Scott College". Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  5. ^ "Dual-Degree Nursing Program". Agnes Scott College website. Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  6. ^ "Agnes Scott, Emory Partner on New Computer Science Degree | Emory University | Atlanta, GA". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  7. ^ "Agnes Scott College - Dual Degree Engineering Program". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  8. ^ "Georgia Tech Helps Create Bridge to Business for Agnes Scott Women". Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  9. ^ "Agnes Scott College - Public Health Program". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  10. ^ The Top Small Colleges and Universities in Georgia. [1], Retrieved on May 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Agnes Scott College. [2], Retrieved on May 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "Strategic Plan 2007" (pdf). 
  13. ^ "Agnes Scott College - Summit Elevator Speech". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  14. ^ "Agnes Scott College". Liberal Arts Colleges. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Member List" (PDF). Southern Association of Colleges. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "[3]" National Register of Historic Places: DeKalb County Retrieved: 18 August 2008.
  17. ^ Lidar Projects at GTRI, Georgia Tech Research Institute, retrieved June 15, 2010 
  18. ^ "Agnes Scott College - Previous Guest Writers". Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  19. ^ New grant boosts Agnes Scott green initiatives, Agnes Scott College, January 11, 2010, retrieved February 22, 2010 
  20. ^ "Renewable Energy on Campus". Agnes Scott College. Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Zipcar". Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Agnes Scott College Housing. [4], Retrieved on May 15, 2013
  23. ^ "Agnes Scott College – Main Hall". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  24. ^ "Agnes Scott College – Campbell Hall". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "Agnes Scott College - Clubs and Organizations". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Agnes Scott College – Page Not Found". Agnes Scott College website. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  29. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  31. ^ "US News College Rankings".  External link in |website= (help)
  32. ^ "Agnes Scott College". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  33. ^ Victor, Jason. "Top Producing Institutions". Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ Siegel, Alan (2012-05-03). "The Super Bowl of the Mind". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  37. ^ NPR Morning Edition, May 6, 2005
  38. ^ a b "Agnes Scott College". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  39. ^ "Harvard Schmarvard: A Small College Shines". The Washington Post. 
  40. ^
  41. ^ "DeKalb County GA neighborhood page – AJC". Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  42. ^ "Department of Economics" (PDF). Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  43. ^ "Agnes Scott College – Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC., Alum to Speak at Commencement". Agnes Scott College website. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 


  • Earnshaw, Rebecca Lee. Students at Agnes Scott College During the 1930s. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1988.
  • McNair, Walter Edward. Lest We Forget: An Account of Agnes Scott College. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1983.
  • Noble, Betty Pope Scott. The Story of George Washington Scott, 1829–1903: A Family Memoir. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 2002.
  • Pope, Loren. "Scott College." In Colleges That Change Lives. New York: Penguin, 2000.
  • Sayrs, M. Lee. A Full and Rich Measure: 100 Years of Educating Women at Agnes Scott College, 1889–1989. Atlanta, GA: Susan Hunter, Inc., 1990.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°46′13″N 84°17′36″W / 33.77016°N 84.29325°W / 33.77016; -84.29325