Bridgewater College

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Not to be confused with Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
Bridgewater College
Motto College of Character, Community of Excellence
Type Private, liberal arts
Established 1880
Affiliation Church of the Brethren
Endowment US $70.1 million[1]
President David W. Bushman
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,800
Location Bridgewater, Virginia, USA
Colors Crimson and Gold
Athletics NCAA Division III, Old Dominion Athletic Conference
Nickname Eagles

Bridgewater College, is a private, coeducational, four-year liberal-arts college located in Bridgewater, a town in Rockingham County, Virginia, United States. Established in 1880, Bridgewater College admitted women from the time of its founding and was the first private, co-educational, liberal arts college in Virginia to do so.[2]

Located in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley, Bridgewater enrolls more than 1,800 students with guaranteed on-campus housing.[3]


Bridgewater College was established in 1880 as Spring Creek Normal and Collegiate Institute by Daniel Christian Flory. Nine years later, the school was named Bridgewater College and chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia to grant undergraduate degrees. Bridgewater conferred its first Bachelor of Arts degree on June 1, 1891.

College gate

Bridgewater College became the first private, senior co-educational liberal arts college in Virginia and one of the few accredited colleges of its type in the South. The emphasis on ethical values in educational programs is a result of Bridgewater’s heritage and institutional idealism. The importance placed on these values can be seen through course offerings and convocation programs that encourage personal integrity and strong social consciousness.

The oldest portion of the Bridgewater College campus, consisting of five fine brick collegiate buildings constructed before 1911 is included in the Bridgewater Historic District.[4] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[5]


Bridgewater offers more than 60 majors and minors, awarding the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Bridgewater students have the opportunity to study abroad through the BCA Study Abroad program and Interterm travel courses.[6] Countries include Australia, Belgium, China, Cuba, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Wales.

Location and campus[edit]

McKinney Hall

Bridgewater College is located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The Bridgewater campus comprises 300 acres (1.2 km2) and the educational activities are focused on the primary campus of 40 acres (160,000 m2).

Students can choose to be involved in approximately 60 social, cultural, religious, and academic clubs and organizations on campus. In addition, the student-run Eagle Productions hosts a wide variety of free weekend activities available to students. Events range from comedians and musicians to Homecoming festivities and the Springfest Carnival.

The nearby cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Charlottesville provide numerous arts and cultural opportunities for students, while the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is only a two-hour drive away. Civil War battlefields, national parks, agriculture, and restaurants featuring local food are all part of the culture of the Shenandoah Valley, bounded by the Allegheny Mountains to the west and the Blue Ridge chain to the east, both of which are visible from campus.


Main article: Bridgewater Eagles

Bridgewater College is a Division III member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and follows guidelines and policies set forth by this governing body. The teams are members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), which has 14 member institutions.

Bridgewater College sponsors 22 NCAA intercollegiate sports, which include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, indoor track, and outdoor track for men, and basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, softball, soccer, tennis, indoor track, outdoor track, volleyball and swimming for women. Additionally, the athletic program supports cheerleading, a dance team and pep band, which perform at home football and basketball games.

Events and traditions[edit]

Annual events at Bridgewater College celebrate tradition, community, alumni, and culture. Founder's Day observance at Bridgewater commemorates the April 3, 1854, birth of Daniel Christian Flory, who began Bridgewater College in 1880, at the age of 26.

In 2008, civil rights activist Andrew Jackson Young, Jr. was honored during the celebration of the 128th anniversary of the college. President Philip C. Stone awarded Young an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in recognition of his devoted service to mankind and his country.[7]

Homecoming weekend in October welcomes alumni back to the college with class reunions, outdoor festivities, a home football game and the annual Athletic Hall of Fame banquet.[8]

Senior Week is the week before graduation, in which seniors celebrate with several organized events. Oracles at the Oak was a tradition originally carried out by the senior classes during the early to mid 1900s underneath an oak tree on campus. Students met to pledge their dedication to the school and to each other. After the lightning-damaged oak tree was cut down, the tradition subsided. However, the class of 2008 rekindled this tradition with the help of the Bridgewater College Alumni Association. The end of senior week is marked with the Bridgewater Ball, a formal dinner and dance usually held in Harrisonburg, VA.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Carl Bowman, Chair of the Department of Sociology from 1988-2007


  1. ^ As of February 14, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 19, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bridgewater College - About Us". Bridgewater College. Retrieved 2011-10-11. 
  3. ^ "Peterson's Bridgewater College - College overview". Peterson's, A Nelnet Company. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  4. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (1984). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Bridgewater Historic District" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  and Accompanying photo
  5. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "Bridgewater College - Innovative Programs" Retrieved on 2015-07-28.
  7. ^ "BC to Honor Andrew Young, Faculty on Founder's Day" Retrieved on 2011-10-11
  8. ^ "Alumni and Friends" Retrieved on 2015-07-28.
  9. ^ "Prof. Moses H. W. Chan @ Penn State Physics". Penn State Official Website. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  10. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress". US Congress BioGuide. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°22′45.7″N 78°58′10″W / 38.379361°N 78.96944°W / 38.379361; -78.96944