Defiance College

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Defiance College
Motto "Defy the ordinary"
Type Private liberal arts college
Established 1850
Religious affiliation
United Church of Christ
Endowment $16.8 million (2016)[1]
Academic staff
Students 1,000
Undergraduates 900
Postgraduates 100
Location Defiance, Ohio, U.S.
Campus small town/rural
Colors          Purple and Gold
Athletics NCAA Division IIIHCAC
Nickname Yellow Jackets, Lady Jackets
Affiliations CIC

Defiance College is a very small, highly residential[2] college in Defiance, Ohio. It is an independent, co-educational liberal arts college affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The campus includes eighteen buildings and access to the 200-acre (80.9 ha) Thoreau Wildlife Sanctuary.[3]

Defiance College advertises its national recognition for its programs of service and engagement. Defiance College is also in Colleges With a Conscience from Princeton Review and Campus Compact[citation needed]. In 2013 was a President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Finalist.[4]

Its mission statement emphasizes "experience of engagement". It hosts the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity, which permits students to participate in projects "to improve the human condition". It also has a campus/community initiative, its "Service Leadership Program" and an honors curriculum, the Carolyn M. Small Honors Program and the Hench Autism Studies Program, which focuses on late adolescence and early adulthood. In 2014 Defiance College introduced the ASD Affinity Program to offer college students with ASD the environmental and professional support services needed to overcome barriers and provide for avenues of academic success in the traditional college setting.


The college began as Defiance Female Seminary in 1850 and was opened by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to provide schooling for young women. William Curtis Holgate, a local businessman, donated most of the campus. In 1903 the Defiance Female Seminary formally became Defiance College, making it one of only two religious-affiliated colleges to begin operation in Ohio during the 20th century. Much of the institution’s early growth occurred under Peter McReynolds who was named president in 1902. The following years saw growth in students, endowment, and facilities with the addition of most of the original campus buildings.

McCann era[edit]

Defiance College grew and flourished under President Kevin McCann's leadership (1951–1964). Academic programs expanded, and enrollment grew. The physical appearance of the campus changed significantly. The campus increased in size to 140 acres (56.7 ha); the library, student union, and Pilgrim halls were built; and old buildings were renovated. President Dwight D. Eisenhower paid two visits to Defiance College. On October 15, 1953, he laid the cornerstone for Anthony Wayne Library of American Study [1]. He re-visited the campus on May 26, 1963 to deliver the commencement address, at which time the college announced that one room in the library had been designated "the Eisenhower Room," honoring the friendship between Eisenhower and Kevin C. McCann.

1960s and 1970s - Winter Term[edit]

In the mid-1960s, the college adopted a novel 4-1-4 academic schedule, whereby students took four courses for four months, with a one-month "Winter Term" in which students were totally immersed in one subject full-time for the month of January. Some students went on an expedition to the Northwest to seek the Sasquatch. Others spent the month learning German by speaking nothing else, all day long, for a month. Two professors held a class in which students learned hot-air ballooning and became licensed aeronauts. Another group conducted an archaeological dig. The college's emphasis was on alternative learning, and students were encouraged to create their own Winter Term program.

Schauffler moves to Defiance[edit]

The Schauffler College of Religious and Social Work in Cleveland had four-year students from more countries than any other, but it failed financially and merged with the graduate school of theology at Oberlin College. When Oberlin closed that school in 1967, the Schauffler endowment was moved to Defiance College, which created the Schauffler Center and later built Schauffler Hall.

Student life[edit]

About 1,000 students are enrolled at Defiance College. More than 50% of all traditional students live on campus. The college has more than 40 undergraduate majors with two graduate programs in education and business. Bachelor's degree majors range from the long-standing programs in education, business, natural sciences, and behavioral sciences, to programs that address the needs of a 21st-century, such as digital forensic science, forensic science, nursing, international studies and restoration ecology. DC has a Students to Faculty Ratio of 11:1 and an average class size of 15 students.[5]


Defiance College Yellow Jackets

The Defiance College Yellow Jackets compete in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) as a NCAA Division III school.[6]

Noted alumni[edit]



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°17′48″N 84°21′30″W / 41.29667°N 84.35833°W / 41.29667; -84.35833