Goucher College

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Goucher College
Goucher College seal.png
Motto Gratia et Veritas
Motto in English
Grace and Truth
Type Private liberal arts college
Established 1885
Endowment $209.5 million (2017)[1]
President José Antonio Bowen FRSA
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,480[2]
Postgraduates 1,200
Location Towson, Maryland, United States
Campus Suburban, 287 acres (1.2 km²)
Athletics 21 varsity teams
Colors Blue and Gold          
Mascot Gopher
Website www.goucher.edu
Goucher College
Haebler Memorial Chapel, a non-denominational chapel in the heart of Goucher College
Goucher College is located in Maryland
Goucher College
Goucher College is located in the US
Goucher College
Location 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, Maryland
Coordinates 39°24′39″N 76°36′01″W / 39.41083°N 76.60028°W / 39.41083; -76.60028Coordinates: 39°24′39″N 76°36′01″W / 39.41083°N 76.60028°W / 39.41083; -76.60028
Area 287 acres (116 ha)
Built 1921
Architect Moore & Hutchins; Sasaki, Hideo, et al.
Architectural style Modern Movement
NRHP reference # 07000885[3]
Added to NRHP August 28, 2007

Goucher College is a private liberal arts college in Towson, Maryland, that was founded in 1885. The school has approximately 1,480 undergraduate students studying in 33 majors and six interdisciplinary programs and 1,200 students studying in graduate programs. Goucher College and Susquehanna University are the only colleges in the United States that require a study abroad experience.


In 1881, the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church passed a resolution to found a conference seminary. This momentum went largely unquestioned until 1884, when Bishop Andrews objected, "I would not give a fig for a weakling little thing of a seminary. We want such a school, so ample in its provisions, of such dignity in its buildings, so fully provided with the best apparatus, that it shall draw to itself the eyes of the community and that young people shall feel it an honor to be enrolled among its students." Methodist ministers John Franklin Goucher (1845–1922), and John B. Van Meter fought hard in favor of founding a college rather than a seminary, eventually winning unanimous agreement at a later conference.[4]

The college succeeded an earlier ground-breaking institution known as the Baltimore Female College, located originally on St. Paul Street near East Saratoga Street (present site of "Preston Gardens") from 1849, and later relocated to Park Avenue and Park Place near Wilson Street in the Bolton Hill neighborhood. It had been sponsored by the local Methodist Episcopal Church and its Baltimore area congregations although sporadically and weakly however, under the leadership of noted classics scholar, Nathan C. Brooks, (1809–1898) since 1849. He was the first principal and served a decade of "The High School", the state and city's first public high school (the third oldest in America), founded 1839, a city block away on nearby Courtland Street (now St. Paul Street & Place), which was later renamed the Central High School of Baltimore, and now known since 1866 as The Baltimore City College. It closed in the late 1880s, after it lost its additional state financial support.

This new Methodist-sponsored college for women was founded as the "Women's College of Baltimore City" on January 26, 1885. Although students of all religious backgrounds were accepted, as founders, the national denomination (the Methodist Episcopal Church and its Baltimore Annual Conference), had a large impact on the college and its campus.[5][6]

The school was renamed in 1910, 25 years after its founding to "Goucher College" in honor of its founding member, John Goucher (who died 12 years later), his wife, Mary Fisher Goucher, and benefactors.[7] It was one of only six "Class I" colleges for women in the U.S.[8]

The original campus was on St. Paul Street at Twenty-third Street of the neighborhood of north Baltimore, then known as Peabody Heights since the 1870s in the southern part of what is now known as the Charles Village neighborhood (renamed in 1967) in the city of Baltimore.

Goucher moved to its present suburban location northeast of the county seat of Towson in Baltimore County in 1953. The college has been co-educational since 1986.

Its former city home campus, is now known as the "Old Goucher College Historic District", the name used when the complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and the immediate vicinity recently referred to as Old Goucher as a sub-neighborhood of Charles Village.[9]

It is adjacent to the old First Methodist Episcopal Church of 1884 at St. Paul Street and Twenty-second Street, constructed as the "Centennial Monument of the foundation of American Methodism" – the congregation was later renamed to its original founding colonial title of Lovely Lane.


The Goucher College campus is proximate and northeast to downtown Towson, although the 287-acre (1.16 km2) campus is separated from it by the surrounding woods that are owned by the school. The academic buildings generally are located at the northern portion of campus, and the residential buildings are located to the south. Most buildings are clad in tan-colored stone called Butler Stone. As a part of a recent expansion plan, a new residence hall, Welsh (a.k.a. The "T"), was built in 2005. The Athenaeum, a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) multipurpose facility featuring an expansive modern library, was constructed in 2009. The grounds contain low hills and include hiking and riding trails through the woods. Newsweek magazine described the campus as "unusually bucolic".[10]

In a marked shift away from traditional collegiate layout that is characterized by symmetry and quadrangles, the architectural design firm, Moore and Hutchins, elected to group buildings together into informal zones based on function and as they took a departure from the Romanesque design of the previous campus structures. The notion that the design of individual buildings was less important than their interrelationships, was considered progressive at the time. Consequently, over the years, the architecture and development of the campus has won many awards,[5] and in 2007 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[11]

Eventually, two hundred deer roamed the wooded campus surrounded by a fence and without natural predators. In 2007, a biologist for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources estimated that the 287-acre (1.16 km2) woods only could provide a sustainable environment for forty deer, establishing a need for environmental stewardship of the campus. Goucher's response that winter was to hire bowmen to thin the population by about fifty deer and success of this approach has resulted in a yearly culling of the population. Reasons cited are to maintain the health of the remaining deer and other animals, reduce the risk of car crashes, protect landscaping, and prevent the spread of Lyme disease. The meat of the culled deer has been donated to local homeless shelters. Some students and community members, however, have objections to the population reduction.[12]



In the 2018 edition of the U.S. News and World Report annual college rankings, Goucher tied for 112th among national liberal arts colleges. In the same publication, Goucher was ranked 86th in Best Value Schools and 71st in High School Counselor Rankings.[13] Goucher was also ranked by USNWR in its 2017 edition as a top 10 "Most Innovative School."[14] Forbes 2017 college rankings placed Goucher at #151 in Liberal Arts Universities and #161 of colleges in the northeast.[15] Goucher was also included in the Princeton Review's 2018 edition of the "Best 382 Colleges."[16]

Undergraduate level[edit]

Goucher students have access to 33 different majors and six interdisciplinary programs; there are also special introductory courses for first-year students to orient them to the campus, as well as life at the college.

In fall 2006, the college launched an innovative educational curriculum shaped to reflect the core values of a quintessential liberal arts education, including: proficiency in English composition and in a foreign language; an international experience; and strong foundations in history, abstract reasoning, scientific discovery and experimentation, problem-solving, social structures, and environmental sustainability. The same year, Goucher began requiring all students to have completed at least one study-abroad experience prior to graduation, making it the first college in the United States to do so.[17]

Undergraduates are also expected to fulfill an off-campus learning requirement, either through an internship or a study-abroad experience. A popular choice among many Goucher students is to participate in a three-week intensive course abroad made up of an on-campus classroom component, followed by three weeks abroad during the winter or spring. Goucher also allows students to participate in semester and yearlong study-abroad programs offered by other schools. Goucher is also well known for its creative writing, dance, and pre-med departments.

Graduate level[edit]

Goucher has a small but vibrant graduate program that is run by the Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies. The college offers the Master of Arts, Master of Education, and Master of Fine Arts graduate degrees.

Certificate and continuing education programs[edit]

  • Post-Baccalaureate Premed Program (having a 96% acceptance rate to medical school over its entire history)
  • Teacher's Institute
  • Educational Technology Certificate

Other programs on campus[edit]

Goucher has served as a campus for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth summer program for gifted students.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Goucher offers many student-run clubs in different areas such as the Chem Club (the oldest continuously-operating club on campus), Hillel activities, and a student-labor action committee. The college also has a bi-weekly school newspaper called The Quindecim, and a literary arts journal called Preface.

Also notable is Goucher Student Radio, which contains a host of student, staff, and faculty programming and expands each year. It is accessible through Goucher's website as streaming media. Students from the college also are credited with founding Humans vs. Zombies, a game similar to tag that, generally, is played on college campuses.

Goucher College was once home to a thriving sorority system; however, the college discontinued recognition of the system in 1950. The former chapters are:


Goucher athletic teams are known as the Gophers. The college competes in NCAA Division III, fielding men's and women's teams in lacrosse, soccer, basketball, track and field, cross country, swimming, and tennis, as well as women's teams in field hockey and volleyball, as well as coed equestrian sports (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone IV Region I/American National Riding Commission). In 2007 the college joined the Landmark Conference after competing as a member of the Capital Athletic Conference from 1991 to 2007.


Goucher has one of the highest percentages of Jewish students in the country with 30% identifying as Jewish.[18] Women predominate as students on the undergraduate level at 65%. About 11.5% of the undergraduate population are either African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native-American. At the graduate level, the number is about 8.5%.

Administration and faculty[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

Its most well-known faculty members include Jean H. Baker and Julie Roy Jeffrey of the history department; former President Sanford J. Ungar; and authors Madison Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Spires, who oversee the college's Kratz Center for Creative Writing. Goucher is one of forty institutions profiled in the book Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope.

Presidents of Goucher College[edit]

Contrary to popular belief, John Goucher was not the first president of Goucher College. He and his wife were among its founders. Although offered the post as the first president of the college that later would be renamed from the Women's College of Baltimore City to Goucher College, he refused the honor as he wished to continue as the pastor of First Methodist Episcopal Church of Baltimore (Lovely Lane Church) and continue his deep involvement in Methodist mission work around the world.

When William Hersey Hopkins resigned as the first president to join the faculty, the board of trustees nominated Goucher for the role and voted, without giving him an option to decline the nomination. With a unanimous vote from the board, Goucher felt obligated to serve the college as its second president.

Following his retirement in 1908, his successor, Eugene Noble, successfully led the movement to rename the college in honor of Mary Fisher and John Goucher in recognition of their involvement in the founding of the college, amazing financial support, and John's role as president for eighteen years. The change was made in 1910.

Dorothy Stimson, the dean of the college, served as acting president from January to June 1930. She was the first woman to lead the college.

The board then named David Robertson as the permanent president of the college and he led the college through the difficult years of the Great Depression and World War II and he oversaw the beginning of college's move from the city of Baltimore to its current location in Baltimore County.

Rhoda Dorsey is notable for many firsts: the first woman to be selected as a permanent president of Goucher College, the first acting president to be elected president, and the first faculty member of the college to be chosen as the permanent president. She also is notable for serving the longest period as Goucher's president, twenty years.

John Goucher, namesake and second president of Goucher College

A chronological list of presidents is:

William Hersey Hopkins 1886–1890
John Franklin Goucher 1890–1908
Eugene Allen Nobel 1908–1911
John Blackford Van Meter 1911–1913 (Acting President)
William Westley Guth 1913–1929
Hans Froelicher May 1929–January 1930 (Acting President)
Dorothy Stimson January–June 1930 (Acting President)
David Allan Robertson 1930–1948
Otto Krausharr 1948–1967
Marvin Banks Perry, Jr. 1967–1973
Rhoda Dorsey 1973–1974 (Acting President)
Rhoda Dorsey 1974–1994
Judy Jolley Mohraz 1994–2000
Robert S. Welch 2000–2001 (Acting President)
Sanford J. Ungar 2001–2014[19]
José Antonio Bowen, FRSA 2014–

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Goucher College Audited Financial Statements - June 30, 2017 & 2016" (PDF). Goucher.edu. Retrieved 9 April 2018. 
  2. ^ "Facts and Stats". Goucher.edu. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  3. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ https://archive.org/details/historyofgoucher00knip page 10
  5. ^ a b "History of the Towson Campus : Goucher College". goucher.edu. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Ann Milkovich McKee (July 2005). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Goucher College" (PDF). Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 2016-03-01. 
  7. ^ Goucher College, The Baltimore Sun, August 29, 2002
  8. ^ "Goucher College". The Independent. Jul 6, 1914. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  9. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  10. ^ The Hot Schools Of 2004 | Newsweek Education | Newsweek.com
  11. ^ "National Historic Register : Goucher College". goucher.edu. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Goucher aims to thin deer with bowmen – baltimoresun.com
  13. ^ "Best Colleges 2018: Goucher College". U.S. News & World Report. September 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Goucher College Named "Most Innovative College" by U.S. News & World Report | Goucher College". Goucher College. Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  15. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges: Goucher College". May 17, 2018. 
  16. ^ "The Best 382 Colleges". May 17, 2018. 
  17. ^ "A Policy Change on Study Abroad Pays Off". Retrieved 2018-05-17. 
  18. ^ "The New U Insider's Guide to Colleges". Reform Judaism Online. Union for Reform Judaism. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Presidents of Goucher College". goucher.edu. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Karen S. Haynes – Administration – CSU". calstate.edu. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "Bessie Louise Moses". jwa.org. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  22. ^ "Tom Myers". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-05-22. 

External links[edit]