Castleton University

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Castleton University
Seal of Castleton University
Former names
Castleton Seminary, State Normal School at Castleton, Castleton Teachers College, Castleton State College
Type Public Liberal Arts
Established 1787 as Rutland County Grammar School; 1867 as State Normal School
Endowment US $7.5 million[1]
Chancellor Jeb Spaulding
President David S. Wolk
Dean Tony Peffer
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 2,191
Undergraduates 2,034
Postgraduates 157
Location Castleton, Vermont, U.S.
43°36′25″N 73°10′48″W / 43.607°N 73.180°W / 43.607; -73.180Coordinates: 43°36′25″N 73°10′48″W / 43.607°N 73.180°W / 43.607; -73.180
Campus Rural college town
165 acres (67 ha)
Colors Castleton green and white[2]
Athletics NCAA Division III
Nickname Spartans
Mascot Sparty
Affiliations New England Association of Schools and Colleges NCAA D-III, North Atlantic Conference
Castleton's former wordmark logo

Castleton University, formerly known as Castleton State College, is a public liberal arts college located in Castleton in the U.S. state of Vermont. Castleton has an enrollment of 2000 students and offers more than 30 undergraduate programs as well as master’s degrees in education and accounting. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

History and governance[edit]

Woodruff Hall

Castleton University traces its history to the Rutland County Grammar School, chartered by the Vermont General Assembly on October 15, 1787.[3] The Grammar School was a regional school, preparing young men for college through instruction in traditional academic subjects such as Latin and Greek. The institution changed its name frequently during the 19th century. At times it was known as Castleton Academy, Castleton Academy and Female Seminary, Vermont Classical High School, and Castleton Seminary.[4]

In 1823 instruction in “the solid branches of female education” began for “young Ladies and Misses.” By the Civil War, the majority of the students attending Castleton were young women.[5]

In 1829, a three-story brick building costing $30,000 was constructed on a small hill south of the village. Principal Solomon Foot (1826-1829), who was to be President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate during the Civil War, was the driving force in this expansion of the school. The Seminary Building (eventually known as the Old Seminary Building) was the most impressive structure in the village, but expensive to maintain and often too large for the school’s struggling enrollment.[6]

Castleton Medical College (1818-1862), was also located in the village. It graduated 1400 students, more than any other New England medical school at the time. Although Castleton Medical College and Castleton Seminary were separate institutions, they often shared faculty. Today the former medical college building, known as the Old Chapel, is the oldest building on the campus.[7]

The first woman principal was Harriet Haskell (1862-1867). She had attended the Seminary as a child, took classes at Middlebury College without being permitted to matriculate, and then attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which was not yet a college but offered a college-level curriculum for women. Although Haskell was in her 20s when she served as principal, the school flourished under her administration. With her departure to be principal of Monticello Ladies Seminary in Godfrey, Illinois, Castleton Seminary went into decline.[8]

Built in 1821, Old Chapel (Castleton Medical College Building) is the oldest building on the Castleton campus.

The school began its transition to a college in 1867, when the State Normal School at Castleton was founded as one of three state normal schools chartered by Vermont.

Normal schools educated students for teaching careers. For 30 years the Normal School property and grounds were privately owned by Abel E. Leavenworth and his son Philip. In 1912, the State of Vermont purchased the property.[9]

The College saw dramatic growth in students and its stature in the 1920s and 1930s under the direction of Caroline Woodruff. Woodruff modernized the school's curriculum, incorporating the theories of Vermont educator-philosopher John Dewey, especially his precepts of "learning by doing" and "learning by teaching." Caroline Woodruff hired staff with advanced degrees and broadened her students' exposure to the world by bringing people such as Helen Keller, Robert Frost, and Norman Rockwell to Castleton. Woodruff was the first and only Vermonter to become president of the National Education Association.[10]

In 1947, the Normal School became Castleton Teachers College. With increased enrollment from men, intercollegiate athletics began in the 1950s.[3]

In 1962 the institution became Castleton State College when it joined other state-supported colleges in becoming a part of the Vermont State Colleges, a consortium of colleges governed by a common board of trustees, chancellor and Council of Presidents, each college with its own president and deans.[11]

On July 23, 2015, the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees unanimously voted to change the name to Castleton University.[12]

Academic departments[edit]

Natural sciences department[edit]

Jeffords Science Center, showing new auditorium addition and greenhouse space

The Natural Sciences Department is located in the Jeffords Science Center, named after the late U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords. It is the largest department on campus, with 12 faculty members, all with terminal degrees in their field. Students have the option of seven different majors, in Biology, Chemistry, Ecological Studies, Environmental Science, Exercise Science, Geology and Health Science. The department is active with $538,823 in external grant funding from the National Institutes of Health-VGN and the National Science Foundation.[13][14]

Biology program[edit]

Students can receive a B.S. in Biology focusing on either Ecology and Evolutionary Biology or Molecular Biology and Biomedicine.[15]

Because of the small student/faculty ratio, students participate in independent research projects focused on salamander and snake ecology as well as microbial and plant genetics. Research is externally funded externally through grants supplied by the Vermont Genetics Network and the American Society for Microbiology.[16]

Chemistry program[edit]

The chemistry program allows for specialization in either Biochemistry or Environmental Chemistry.[17]


Castleton Spartans
Conference North Atlantic Conference
NCAA Division III
Athletic director Deanna Tyson
Location Castleton, VT
Varsity teams 20 (10 men's, 10 women's)
Football stadium Spartan Stadium
Arena Spartan Arena (ice hockey)
Glenbrook Gymnasium (basketball)
Baseball stadium Spartan Baseball Field
Soccer stadium Spartan Stadium
Lacrosse stadium Spartan Stadium
Mascot Sparty
Nickname Spartans
     Castleton green       White

The Castleton State Spartans compete in 20 NCAA Division III Varsity sports in the North Atlantic Conference and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC). Castleton was also the 1963 NAIA Division III Men's soccer National Champions. From 1983-1986, Stan Van Gundy (later head coach of the Orlando Magic) coached Men's Basketball at Castleton. Castleton started a football team for the 2009 season as a member of the newly formed Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.

Castleton's men's soccer team were declared 1963 NAIA co-champions (along with Earlham College of Indiana) after the championship and consolation games at Frostburg State University, Maryland were cancelled due to snow.[18]

The men's and women's Castleton State College Spartans hockey teams compete at the Spartan Arena in the Diamond Run Mall in Rutland.[19]

The Castleton Spartans football team represents the school in NCAA Division III college football. The team has been coached by Marc Klatt since 2011 replacing the very first head coach, Rich Alercio, who was suddenly forced out of the post after a scandal involving contact with a player.[20] It has been part of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference since its inaugural season in 2009.[21]

Notable alumni[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1994 film Time Chasers featured several Castleton T-shirts. According to director David Giancola, Castleton State College provided several free shirts for the film.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of December 31, 2014. "2014 Fact Sheet" (PDF). VSC. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "A Brief History of Castleton". Castleton State College. 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  4. ^ Tony Peffer, ed. (2012). Big Heart: The Journey to Castleton's Two Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Birthday. Castleton, Vt.: Castleton State College. pp. 317–318. 
  5. ^ Peffer, pp. 20, 42.
  6. ^ Peffer, pp. 21-25.
  7. ^ Waite, Frederick Clayton. The First Medical College in Vermont: Castleton 1818-1862. Vermont Historical Society (1949).
  8. ^ Peffer, pp. 36-45.
  9. ^ John Duffy, Samuel Hand, and Ralph Orth, ed. (2003). The Vermont Encyclopedia. Burlington, Vt.: University Press of New England. p. 78. 
  10. ^ Undergraduate Catalog 2011-12. Castleton State College (2011). pg. 5.
  11. ^ Vermont State Colleges Manual of Policies and Procedures, Section A: Statute and By-Laws. Vermont State Colleges (2003). pgs. 4, 21.
  12. ^ Crawford, Logan (July 23, 2015). "CSC becomes Castleton University". WCAX (Burlington, Vt.). Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  13. ^ "VGN Funded Faculty Pilot Project Grants at Baccalaureate Partner Institutions, INBRE 2014". Vermont Genetics Network. 2014. Retrieved Aug 14, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Award Detail: Vermont State Colleges". National Science Foundation. 2014. Retrieved Aug 14, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Bachelor of Sciences in Biology". Castleton University. 2015. Retrieved Aug 14, 2015. 
  16. ^ Student Research Bolstered Through VGN Grant. Castleton State College (Sep 22, 2014). Retrieved on Aug 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "Bachelor of Sciences in Chemistry". Castleton University. 2015. Retrieved Aug 14, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Men's Soccer Championship Records" (PDF). National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  19. ^ Diamond Run Mall
  20. ^ Haley, Tom (March 3, 2011). "Castleton State coach forced to resign". Rutland Herald. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Castleton Hoping for Continued Success in Year Three". Eastern Collegiate Football Conference. 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  22. ^ "Time Chasers (Trivia)". IMDb. Retrieved Aug 14, 2015. 

External links[edit]