Seal of Dickinson College
|Latin: Collegium Dickinsonium|
|Motto||Latin: Pietate et doctrina tuta libertas|
Motto in English
|Freedom is made safe through character and learning|
|Type||Private liberal arts college|
|President||Nancy A. Roseman|
|Location||Carlisle, PA, USA|
170 acres (69 ha)
|Colors||Red and White
|Athletics||NCAA Division III – Centennial|
|Designated||July 01, 1947|
Dickinson College is a private, residential liberal arts college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1773 as Carlisle Grammar School, Dickinson was chartered September 9, 1783, six days after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, making it the first college to be founded after the formation of the United States. Dickinson was founded by Benjamin Rush, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. It was originally named "John and Mary's College" in honor of John Dickinson, a signer of the Constitution who was later the President of Pennsylvania, and his wife Mary Norris Dickinson. They donated much of their extensive personal libraries to the new college. Dickinson College is the 16th-oldest college in the United States.
With over 250 full-time faculty members and an enrollment of nearly 2,400 students, Dickinson has been recognized for its innovative curriculum and international education programs. For example, Dickinson sponsors 12 study centers in other countries. Its approach to global education has received national recognition from the American Council on Education and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The college was among six institutions profiled in depth in 2003 by NAFSA for "Outstanding Campus Internationalization." In 2010, Dickinson received The Climate Leadership Award from the organization Second Nature for “innovative and advanced leadership in education for sustainability….” Typically, Dickinson receives approximately 6,000 applications for its 615 spaces, putting it to be one of the most selective colleges in the nation.
In addition to offering either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in 22 disciplinary majors and 20 interdisciplinary majors, Dickinson offers an engineering option through its 3:2 program, which consists of three years at Dickinson and two years at an engineering school of Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or Case Western Reserve University. Upon successful completion of both portions of the program, students receive the B.S. degree from Dickinson in their chosen field and the B.S. in engineering from the engineering school.
Dickinson College is not to be confused with the Dickinson School of Law. The Law School abuts the college campus but, since it was chartered as an independent institution in 1890, it has not been affiliated with the college. In 2000 the Law School merged with the Pennsylvania State University.
The Carlisle Grammar School was founded in 1773 as a frontier Latin school for the young males in western Pennsylvania. Within years Carlisle's elite, especially James Wilson and John Montgomery, were pushing for development of the school as a college. In 1782 Benjamin Rush, a leader during the American Revolution and the preeminent physician in the new nation, met in Philadelphia with Montgomery and William Bingham, a prominent businessman and politician. As their conversation about founding a frontier college in Carlisle took place on his porch, "Bingham's Porch" was long a rallying cry at Dickinson.
Dickinson College was chartered by the Pennsylvania legislature on September 9, 1783, six days after the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783) that ended the American Revolution; it was the first college to be founded in the newly independent nation. Rush intended to name the college after the President of Pennsylvania John Dickinson and his wife Mary Norris Dickinson, proposing "John and Mary's College." The Dickinsons had given the new college an extensive library which they jointly owned, one of the largest libraries in the colonies. The name Dickinson College was chosen instead. When founded, its location west of the Susquehanna River made it the westernmost college in the United States. For the first meeting of the trustees, held in April 1784, Rush made his first journey to Carlisle. The trustees selected Dr. Charles Nisbet D.D., a Scottish minister and scholar, to serve as the College's first president. He arrived and began to serve on July 4, 1785, serving until his unexpected death in 1804.
A combination of financial troubles and faculty dissension led to a college closing from 1816-1821. In 1832, when the trustees were unable to resolve a faculty curriculum dispute, they ordered Dickinson's temporary closure a second time.
The law school dates to 1833. It became a separate school 1890, although the Law School and the College continued to share a president until 1912. The Law School is now affiliated with The Pennsylvania State University.
During the 19th century, two noted Dickinson College alumni had prominent roles in the years leading up to the Civil War. They were James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, and Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States. Taney led the Supreme Court in its ruling on the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which held that Congress could not prohibit slavery in federal territories, overturning the Missouri Compromise. Buchanan threw the full prestige of his administration behind congressional approval of the Lecompton Constitution in Kansas. During the Civil War, the campus and the town of Carlisle were twice occupied by Confederate forces in 1863.
When George Metzger, class of 1798, died in 1879, he left his land and $25,000 to the town of Carlisle to found a college for women. In 1881, the Metzger Institute opened to serve young ladies. The college operated independently until 1913, when its building was leased to Dickinson College for the education of women. The building served as a women's dorm until 1963.
The town of Carlisle was also the location of the Carlisle Army Barracks, which was adapted in the late 1870s for use as the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. In 1879 Dickinson College and the nearby Carlisle Indian School began a collaboration, when Dr. James Andrew McCauley, President of the college, led the first worship service at the Indian School. The collaboration between the institutions lasted almost four decades, from the opening day to the closing of the Indian School in 1918. Dickinson College professors served as chaplains and special faculty to the Native American students. Dickinson College students volunteered services, observed teaching methods, and participated in events at the Indian School. Dickinson College accepted select Indian School students to attend its Preparatory School ("Conway Hall") and gain college-level education.
Dickinson also admitted Native American students directly: Thomas Marshall was one of the first such students at Dickinson. In 1910 Frank Mount Pleasant was the first Native American to graduate from Dickinson College.
Dickinson College has a relatively quiet campus two blocks from the main square in the historic small town of Carlisle, the county seat of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and the site of the nation's second oldest military base, Carlisle Barracks, which is now used as the U.S. Army War College. The campus is characterized by limestone-clad buildings and has numerous trees.
The frontier grammar school was founded in 1773 and housed in a small, two-room brick building on Liberty Avenue, near Bedford and Pomfret streets. When Dickinson College was founded in 1783, this building was expanded to accommodate all the functions. In 1799 the Penn family sold 7 acres (2.8 ha) on the western edge of Carlisle to the nascent college, which became its campus. On June 20 of that year, the cornerstone was laid by founding trustee John Montgomery for a building on the new land. The twelve-room building burned to the ground on February 3, 1803, five weeks after opening its doors. The college operations were temporarily returned to its previous accommodations.
Within weeks of the fire, a national fundraising campaign was launched, enticing donations from President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall, and many others. Benjamin Latrobe, already noted for his design work on the Bank of Pennsylvania and Princeton University's Nassau Hall, and soon-to-be named as Architect of the Capitol, was chosen to design the new structure. Latrobe's design for the building, now known as "West College" or "Old West," featured monumental and classical elements within a simple and subdued academic style. The building was to be capped with a classically inspired cupola graced by a figure of Triton. The local craftsman instead created a mermaid, which has since been a symbol of the college. Latrobe, who donated his services to the college, visited the building for the first time in 1813. The total cost of West College topped $22,000 and, although classes began in 1805, work was not finished until 1822. More than 200 years after its doors opened for the first time, Old West is today the ceremonial heart of the college, as all students march through the open doors during convocation at the beginning of their freshman year, and march out the same doors to receive their degrees and graduate. Old West also houses the college administration, several classrooms, a computer lab, and the college chapel.
Throughout the 19th century Dickinson expanded across what has now become its main academic quadrangle, known formally as the John Dickinson Campus. Dickinson expanded across College Street to build the Holland Union Building and Waidner-Spahr Library, which along with several dormitories, makes up the Benjamin Rush Campus. Across High Street (U.S. Route 11) lies the Charles Nisbet Campus, home to the largest grouping of dormitories. The Dickinson School of Law, part of Penn State, lies directly to the south of the Nisbet Campus. Together these three grass-covered units compose the vast majority of the College's campus, though several outlying buildings surround these main areas. In addition, the College owns playing fields and a large organic farm, both of which are only a short distance from the main campus.
Buildings of note include:
- Althouse Hall - A science hall opened in 1958, Althouse housed the chemistry department until it moved to the new Rector Science Complex. Since the spring 2010 semester, this building houses the International Business and Management Program as well as the Economics department.
- Bosler Hall - Completed in 1886, the building was Dickinson's first purpose-built library. Today it houses foreign language classes.
- East College - Dickinson's second building, which at one time housed the college president and served as a dormitory and place of instruction. East College also served as Confederate hospital during the Battle of Carlisle in July 1863. Today East College houses the departments of religion, classical studies, English, and other humanities.
- Denny Hall - Originally completed in 1896 but destroyed by fire in 1904, the current building dates to 1905 and was given in memory of Harmar Denny and his family, several of whom are Dickinson alumni. Denny currently houses the departments of political science, history, anthropology, and archeology, amongst others.
- Holland Union Building (HUB) - Opened in 1964, the HUB is Dickinson's expansive student union, and hosts the cafeteria, snack bar, an organic cafe, student offices and services, and the bookstore.
- Kline Athletic Center - Finished in 1979, the Kline Center is a multipurpose facility that houses many of the varsity and intramural sports that Dickinson offers. In addition, the building features a modern fitness center, pool, indoor track, basketball, squash, and racquetball courts, and a climbing wall.
- Rector Science Complex - Opened in 2008, the new science complex, crowned by Stuart and James halls, joined with Tome Hall to create a completely unified interdisciplinary science campus that houses the departments of biology, chemistry, psychology and interdisciplinary programs in biochemistry, molecular biology and neuroscience. This building was constructed on the site of James Hall, which formerly housed geology, psychology, and environmental science and was demolished in 2006.
- Stern Center for Global Education - Finished in 1885 and originally known as the Tome Scientific Hall, it was one of the nation's first science-only academic buildings. In 2000, a new science building was completed, itself taking the name Tome Hall. The Stern Center houses the college's global education programs and segments of the international studies, international business and management, and East Asian studies majors.
- Tome Hall - Opened in the year 2000, Tome is the home to physics, astronomy, math, and computer science.
- Waidner-Spahr Library - Opened as the Spahr Library in 1967, the building was a modern home for Dickinson's rapidly expanding collection. In 1997 the building was reopened as the Waidner-Spahr Library, after a massive expansion and renovation project. It houses the library's collection of over 510,000 volumes and 1,600 periodicals, as well as student study space and computer labs.
- Weiss Center - Originally the Alumni Gymnasium, the building which opened in 1929 was dramatically renovated in 1981 and now hosts the College's performing and fine arts departments. The building is also the home to the Trout Gallery, Dickinson's collection of fine arts.
In 2000 Dickinson opened a new science building, Tome Hall, a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facility to host astronomy, computer science, math, and physics. Tome hosts Dickinson's innovative "Workshop Physics" program and was the first step of a new science complex. Opened in 2008, the LEED Gold certified Rector Science Complex serves as a place of scientific exploration and learning in an environment that is artful and sustainable. Featuring 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) of state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms and research facilities, it houses the departments of biology, chemistry, psychology and interdisciplinary programs in biochemistry & molecular biology and neuroscience. Courses in the emerging fields of bioinformatics—a blend of biology and computer science—and nanotechnology—the applied study of particles the size of molecules—also are taught there. The new science complex was designed to afford learning opportunities outside of the classrooms and labs, and even outside of the building’s walls on the site of the new complex. Dickinson College’s Center for Sustainable Living student residence, known as the “Treehouse,” also achieved a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The college is the first in Pennsylvania to receive a Gold rating for a student residence.
On January 22, 2013 Dickinson announced that it has agreed to acquire Allison United Methodist Church as the college continues its efforts to expand and improve facilities for academics, athletics and student life. A longtime landmark in Carlisle, Allison's limestone building and property is contiguous with the Benjamin Rush campus of Dickinson. The building, located at 99 Mooreland Avenue, will provide more than 33,000 additional square feet of space for the college's use. Plans for the building include using the space for events, guest speakers, student presentations, meetings, ecumenical worship and additional offices.
Dickinson is also at the forefront of campus environmental sustainability. In the Sustainable Endowments Institute's 2010 green report card Dickinson was one of only 15 schools to receive an A-, the highest grade possible. Dickinson also was named a Sierra magazine “Cool“ School" in its Comprehensive Guide to the Most Eco-Enlightened U.S. Colleges: Live (Green) and Learn. The college’s commitment to making study of the environment and sustainability a defining characteristic of a Dickinson education landed it at the top of The Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Honor Roll. The College buys 100% of its energy from wind power, has solar panels on campus, owns and operates an organic garden and farm, and has signed the American Colleges & Universities Presidents Climate Commitment. The college’s emphasis on sustainability education recognizes the importance of this emerging megatrend for tomorrow’s private and public sector leaders. 
Dickinson is a perennial producer of Fulbright Scholars, and was a top producer for the 2013-2014 cycle. It is also a top producer of Peace Corps Volunteers, ranking 11th among small colleges and universities in 2013.
Dickinson has a rich and varied student life with a variety of organizations involved in many different causes and interests. Its programs are geared only toward traditional students of typical college age. There are over a hundred organizations representing different facets of the college.
Dickinson has 23 varsity sports teams, including baseball and softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, football, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's riding, women's volleyball, and women's field hockey. The College also has a cheerleading squad and dozens of intramural and club sports including ice hockey, men's volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, and ultimate frisbee.
Without a doubt, Dickinson's ultimate athletic achievement is the 1958 Men's Lacrosse Team national title and Roy Taylor Division championship, also defeating Penn State in its final game to clinch the title.
The Dickinson lacrosse tradition continues today under Men's Lacrosse Coach Dave Webster '88 whose squad posted a compiled record of 65-10 over the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. The team won three consecutive Centennial Conference Championships (2011, 2012, 2013) and went to the NCAA tournament four consecutive years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Prior to the 2010 season, Dickinson had never been in the NCAA tournament. Among the many great players who played during those years, Heather Morrison '15 and Brandon Palladino '13 will likely go down as the greatest players in program history. In 2013, Morrison and Palladino were named the NCAA Division III Outstanding Players of the Year: Iroquois Nationals Award. Palladino was also the first player in Centennial Conference history to earn first-team all-conference honors all four years of his career.
Dickinson's Men's Basketball team has enjoyed recent success with Centennial Conference titles in 2013 and 2015, as well as an At-Large bid to the NCAA tournament in 2014. Gerry Wixted '15 was named D-III National Player of the Year in 2015.
Approximately 300 students are deeply engaged in studying music at Dickinson every year. All music courses, performance studies and ensembles are open to all Dickinson students regardless of major.
Music ensembles, which are open to all students by audition, include The Dickinson College Choir, The Dickinson College Collegium, The Dickinson College Jazz Ensemble, The Dickinson Orchestra, The Dickinson Improvisation and Collaboration Ensemble, and The Dickinson Chamber Ensembles. In addition, there is a vibrant music scene of student-led groups, which is supported by Dickinson by way of “The Band Aid,” a college sponsored practice space for student-led bands that is available to all students. The “Treehouse” dormatory sponsors frequent student-led group and individual performances, including open mike nights.
The Music House, a music-themed special interest housing option, and the Dickinson College Student Music Society sponsor many activities throughout the year, including music field trips to metropolitan areas such as New York City and Washington DC, an annual Children’s concert, and music outreach programs to local schools.
Language, Culture, and Global Education
Dickinson College has various on-campus houses and clubs dedicated to language and culture. On-campus houses include a Romance Language House, the Russian House, the Global Community House, the Social Justice House, and the Asbell Center for Jewish Life. The Center for Sustainable Living, or Treehouse, is an on-campus house dedicated to sustainability and environmentalism. Each year, a select number of Dickinson students have the opportunity to spend 1 year abroad pursuing accredited study, at such institutions as the University of Oxford, amongst others, throughout the world.
Dickinson College currently has five recognized fraternities: Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Delta Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha Psi, and Sigma Lambda Beta. The college has five recognized sororities: Delta Nu, which was founded at Dickinson College in 1971; Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, and Sigma Lambda Gamma. Fraternities that are currently suspended, inactive, or not currently recognized by the school include: Phi Kappa Sigma, established in 1854 as the first fraternity at Dickinson; Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Theta Chi, and Sigma Chi. Honor-based Greek organizations include Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Beta Kappa.
The Dickinsonian is an award-winning, student-run newspaper published by students, first published in 1872.
Dickinson College has three senior "Hat Societies" on its campus. This name is given by the distinctive hats members wear on campus. To gain admittance into a Hat Society, one is "tapped" as a junior by current senior members to then serve as a member during his or her senior year. The induction ceremony is known as a Tapping Ceremony. While membership criteria differ amongst the organizations, overall character and general campus leadership are major requirements for membership in any of the three organizations.
The three Hat Societies at Dickinson College are:
- Raven's Claw or "White Hats" - 7 senior men
- The Order of Scroll and Key or "Gray Hats" - 7 senior men
- Wheel and Chain or "Blue Hats" - 10 senior women
Notable alumni of Dickinson College include Chief Justice of the United States Roger B. Taney (1795), President of the United States James Buchanan (1809), Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender (1902), food service executive Margaret Baldridge (1992) and baseball executive Andy MacPhail (1976).
The College’s musical tradition dates back to at least 1858 when the Medal of Honor recipient and author, alumnus Horatio Collins King, wrote the Alma Mater, “Noble Dickinsonia” to the tune of "O Christmas Tree". In 1937 the College published a book titled Songs of Dickinson, which contains over 70 works from Dickinson’s past. In 1953 the Men's Glee Club recorded an album of college songs. In 2005-2006, The Octals, Dickinson's all-male a cappella group, recorded a similar CD.
Rankings and awards
- In 2010, Dickinson was one of only 15 schools to receive an A- in the Sustainable Endowments Institute's 2010 green report card.
- In 2010, the college was named a Sierra magazine “Cool School" in its Comprehensive Guide to the Most Eco-Enlightened U.S. Colleges.
- In 2010, the college’s commitment to making study of the environment and sustainability a defining characteristic of a Dickinson education landed it at the top of The Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Honor Roll.
- In 2006, the college was ranked the most physically fit school in America by Men's Fitness.
- In 2006, Dickinson decided to stop publicizing its ranking in "America's Best Colleges" from U.S. News & World Report; however, in 2014 rankings Dickinson placed #37 among National Liberal Arts Colleges. In May, 2007, Dickinson President William G. Durden joined with other college presidents in asking schools not to participate in the reputation portion of the magazine's survey.
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