Haverford College

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Haverford College
Formal Seal of Haverford College, Haverford Township, PA, USA.svg
Motto Non doctior, sed meliore doctrina imbutus
Motto in English
"Not more learned, but steeped in a higher learning"
Type Private liberal arts college
Established 1833
Affiliation None
(formerly Orthodox Quaker[1])
Endowment $528.0 million (2017)[2]
President Kimberly Benston
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,381[4]
Location Haverford community
Haverford Twp
Lower Merion Twp
, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Suburban, 216 acres (0.87 km2)
Colors Scarlet and Black
Athletics NCAA Division IIICC
Nickname Fords
Website www.haverford.edu
Haverford logo.png

Haverford College (/ˈhævərfərd/ HAV-ər-fərd) is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in Haverford, Pennsylvania. All students of the college are undergraduates and nearly all reside on campus.

The college was founded in 1833 by area members of the Orthodox Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to ensure an education grounded in Quaker values for young Quaker men. Although the college no longer has a formal religious affiliation, Quaker philosophy still influences campus life. Originally an all-male institution, Haverford began admitting female transfer students in the 1970s and became fully co-educational in 1980. Currently, more than half of Haverford's students are women. For most of the 20th century, Haverford's total enrollment was kept below 300, but the school went through two periods of expansion during and after the 1970s, and its enrollment, as of 2017, is 1,381 students.

Today Haverford offers its students a wide range of educational choices and considerable flexibility in choosing their areas of study or specialisation. The college offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 31 majors across humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Haverford College is a member of the Tri-College Consortium, which allows students to register for courses at both Bryn Mawr College and Swarthmore College. It is also a member of the Quaker Consortium ("Penn-Pal") which allows students to cross-register at the University of Pennsylvania.[5][6]

The college has produced, among others, 4 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer Prize Recipients, 20 Rhodes Scholars, and 104 Fulbright Scholars.[7]

Honor Code[edit]

In 1897, the students and faculty of Haverford voted to adopt an Honor Code to govern academic affairs.[8] Since 1963, every student has been allowed to schedule his or her own final exams. Take-home examinations are also common at Haverford. These exams may include strict instructions such as time limits, prohibitions on using assigned texts or personal notes, and calculator usage. All students are bound to follow these instructions by the Code.[9]

Founders Hall, completed in 1833, sits at the center of the upper campus and serves as an icon for the college.

Originally conceived as a code of academic honesty, the Honor Code had expanded by the 1970s to govern social interactions. The code does not list specific rules of behavior, but rather emphasizes a philosophy of mutual trust, concern and respect, as well as genuine engagement, that students are expected to follow. When a student (or other community member) feels that another has broken the Code, he or she is encouraged not to look the other way but rather to confront the possible offender and engage in a dialogue with him or her, before taking matters to an Honor Council which can help mediate the dispute.[10]

Student government officers administer the Code, and all academic matters are heard by student juries. More severe matters are addressed by administrators. Abstracts from cases heard by students and joint administrative-student panels are distributed to all students by several means, including as print-outs in mailboxes. The trial abstracts are made anonymous by the use of pseudonyms who are often characters from entertainment or history.[10]

Every student is required to sign a pledge agreeing to the Honor Code prior to matriculation. The Haverford Honor Code is entirely student-run. The Code originated with a body of students who felt it necessary, and current Haverford students administer and amend it every year.[10]


Academic program[edit]

Haverford offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 31 majors across humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.[11] All departments require a senior thesis, project or research for graduation,[12] and many departments also have junior-level seminar or year-long project such as in biology (superlab) and chemistry (superlab).[13][14] The college also maintains a distribution requirement, spreading course work in all three areas of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, in addition to major course works.[11] Additional program and course offerings are available via the Quaker Consortium.

In addition to majors and minors, Haverford offers concentrations in Africana studies, biochemistry, biophysics, computer science, East Asian studies, education, feminist and gender studies, health and society, Latin American and Iberian studies, mathematical economics, neural and behavioral sciences, and peace, justice, and human rights.[11][15] Students may pursue pre-medical, pre-law or pre-business intentions through any major; the college offers special advising by professionals in those fields. Music students enjoy close proximity to Philadelphia's music tradition: the Philadelphia Orchestra and The Curtis Institute of Music, where students can receive discounted concert tickets and take on extra instrument or voice lessons.

Science program[edit]

While strong in humanities and social sciences, Haverford is especially notable in the natural sciences, despite the college's small size. In the 1950s, Haverford was the first institution in America to teach modern laboratory biology (molecular biology) to undergraduates[citation needed]; within the department of physics is the only National Academy of Sciences member to currently teach at a liberal arts college;[16] many current faculty also are recipients of national awards for undergraduate teaching such as the Lindback and NSF CAREER awards, American Physical Society Award for Research in an Undergraduate Institution, The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and The Bruce H. Mahan Memorial Teaching Award.

Haverford graduates have also been eminent figures in their respective fields. Both physics and chemistry departments boast graduates who have been awarded the Nobel Prize. On two occasions since 1996 have Haverford physics students won the prestigious LeRoy Apker Award.[17]


Fall Admission Statistics
  2018[18] 2017[19] 2016[20] 2015[21] 2014[22][23] 2013[24] 2012[25]
Admit rate
SAT 25th-75th percentile
1390–1530[26][better source needed]
ACT 25th-75th percentile

U.S. News deemed Haverford's admissions "most selective," with the class of 2022 acceptance rate being 18.7%.[27] Applying for admission to the class of 2022 were 4,682 applicants; 877 were admitted. Of those admitted submitting such data, 96% were in the top 10% of their high school class. The median SAT scores were 730 for critical reasoning and 760 for math. The median ACT composite score was 34.[28] Of those admitted to the class of 2022, 50.1% identified as persons of color, and 16% of those admitted were international students.[28]


University rankings
Forbes[29] 25
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[30] 18
Washington Monthly[31] 6

Washington Monthly's ranking of colleges "based on their contribution to the public good" called Haverford the 6th best liberal arts college in the United States.[32] The college was ranked 25th across all universities and colleges in the 2017 edition of Forbes' "Top Colleges", and 10th among liberal arts colleges alone.[33] Niche also ranked the school the 10th best national liberal arts college.[34] A 2012 Forbes ranking on the colleges which produce the most entrepreneurs per capita placed Haverford 1st among liberal arts colleges and 10th overall.[35]


The National Science Foundation ranks Haverford #7 among liberal arts colleges, and #13 among all colleges and universities in the United States, for producing the greatest number of science and engineering students to pursue PhDs per capita.[36] Washington Monthly data shows Haverford as the #6 liberal arts college by percentage of graduates who go on to earn a doctorate across all fields.[37] Of these graduates, many also receive postgraduate research fellowships under NSF-GRF, Fulbright and Churchill scholarships.[17][38]

In a 2003 publication on the placement of recent graduates into "top" programs in business, law and medicine, The Wall Street Journal ranked Haverford among the top twenty colleges and universities in the United States.[39]


Founders Hall after snowfall

Haverford College is located on the Main Line about 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Philadelphia.[40] The school is connected to Center City Philadelphia by the Paoli/Thorndale Line commuter rail system and Norristown High Speed Line (R100). The northwest portion of the campus is located in Haverford Township in Delaware County, and the southwest part of the campus is located in Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County. The campus itself is situated in an affluent suburban neighborhood, adjacent to the Haverford School, the Merion Golf Club and the Merion Cricket Club, one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. Nearby attractions within walking distance include various food markets, grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and Suburban Square, which hosts retail stores, restaurants and a local farmer's market.


Cherry trees surrounding Founders Hall after a snow storm.

The college operates more than 50 academic, athletic, and residential buildings, which are mostly stone and reflect Quaker and colonial design principles. The most recent additions are the Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Science Center and the Douglas B. Gardner '83 Integrated Athletic Center (colloquially referred to as the GIAC). Two dorms, by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, began housing freshman and upperclassman in the fall of 2012. Haverford's Magill Library boasts more than a half million of its own volumes and has access to nearly two million more through its unusual Tripod computerized catalog system, which integrates its library with those of neighboring Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore colleges. In addition to Magill's main resources, the college houses a number of special collections including the Quaker Collection, the C.C. Morris 1904 Cricket Library, and numerous rare books and other treasures; the college also maintains three smaller music, science, and astronomy libraries on campus. Planned additions in the future include renovating the now empty Ryan Gym (since being replaced by the GIAC, it has been used as a mostly informal hang-out space) to make space for a cafe, a large space suitable to house the college's sizable special collections, a technology commons, classrooms and study space as well as offices and performance space for the Huford Arts and Humanities Center. A second phase to the project will involve a renovation for Magill Library, beginning in 2018. Beyond that, the school hopes to build a new arts building. Renovations during the summer of 2012 added common space to the up-campus dorms. Recently the student-run Lunt Cafe was renovated to meet health and safety codes.

Haverford College Arboretum[edit]

The Haverford duck pond.

Comprising the entire campus, the Haverford College Arboretum is the oldest collegiate arboretum in the United States.[41] In 1834, a year after the college's founding, the English landscape gardener William Carvill was hired to design the plan for the campus. Carvill developed a design to replace the tilled fields, woodlots and pastures, using trees to frame and complement open spaces. He bordered the lanes with alleés of trees and planted groups of trees in odd numbers. Carvill also constructed grape arbors and a serpentine walk, reflecting the English landscape tradition of Sir Humphrey Repton. Carvill’s mark is still evident today in the pastoral landscape which includes several original trees including a Swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor, and Bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa, on Founders Green.

In 1901, a group of students and alumni formed the Campus Club to help preserve the campus landscape after discovering Carvill’s original plan. Their work eventually led to the founding of the Haverford College Campus Arboretum Association (now the Haverford College Arboretum Association) in 1974, which continues to perpetuate Carvill’s original design. To date, the arboretum's 216 acres (0.87 km2) contain a nature trail, a pinetum with 300 different conifers, a duck pond, historic trees of diverse species, sculpture, as well as flower and Asian gardens.[42]

A montage of the Haverford duck pond through the seasons. October 1, 2007; November 21, 2007; December 6, 2007.


Roughly 99% of the student body resides on campus, where housing options include apartments, themed houses and traditional dormitories. The minute fraction who choose to seek other accommodations do so nearby in neighboring townships. Approximately 60% of faculty also reside on campus.[43]

Themed housing options include La Casa Hispanica, which "supports the endeavors of students actively engaged in organizing programs concerned with the cultures and civilizations of the Spanish-speaking world", the Ira de A. Reid House, which seeks students active in the Black Students' League or members of the African Diaspora interested in the culture and politics of Africans, Cadbury house, which provides a substance-free and quiet living environment, and Yarnall, which has no permanent theme.

Various housing and room arrangements exist, including suites of singles, doubles, and triples. Housing is liberal and many non-freshman suites are co-ed. In 2000, at the urging of Haverford’s inQUEERy,[44] co-ed roommate options were officially permitted for the first time, having occurred without official sanction since 1974.

Student life[edit]

Activities available at Haverford range from a cappella singing group performances, sponsored music events, college radio, an award-winning Mock Trial team[45], bi-college news and fashion publications, an academic journal, an annual yearbook, to multiple community service groups. Haverford has no fraternities or sororities, but Drinker House is considered to be the closest resemblance to one on campus.

The college regularly sponsors events through student-run organizations such as SECS (Special Events Committee), which sponsors events such as a yearly Snowball and Spring Formal, FUCS (Federal United Concert Series), which runs weekly free concerts, and FAB (Fords Against Boredom), which plans and sponsors free non-alcoholic events on campus and in Philadelphia. FAB has become known for its traditional events such as Ben & Jerry’s Bingo, Bowling Night, Midnight Cheese Steak Run, FAB Quizzo, trips to sporting events and the many arts and theatre venues in Philadelphia, and other unorthodox events such as Love Shack: Valentines Ginger Bread House building and Iron Chef: Dining Center. Additionally, FAB co-sponsors events with other student groups and is open to ideas and proposals.

Of the nation's 357 "best" colleges, the Princeton Review ranks Haverford as #6 for Best Overall Undergraduate Experience. In addition, Haverford, unlike many of its peers, is located within easy travel of a large metropolitan center and the opportunities that Philadelphia offers. Princeton Review placed Haverford on several other lists for the 2007 year. On the list for "Best Overall Academic Experience for Undergraduates", Haverford ranks #8; "School Runs Like Butter", #17; "The Toughest to Get Into", #20; "Best Quality Of Life", #14; "Happiest Students", #16.[46]


A cappella is a widely popular student activity at Haverford College. The college's own groups include the Haverford College Humtones, The Oxford Blues, The Mainliners, The Outskirts, and the Ford S-Chords. Two a cappella groups shared within the bi-co are the Looney Tunes and Counterpoint. A single group shared between Haverford, Bryn Mawr College, and Swarthmore College is Chaverim.[47] In total, including shared a cappella groups, Haverford claims to hold a world record for the number of a cappella groups per capita.[48]

More formal music organizations also exist within the bi-college consortium. Chamber Singers is a mixed choir of 30 voices from Haverford and Bryn Mawr who perform challenging repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to the present day in a variety of languages and styles. Chorale is a Wednesday night institution in bi-college life. A symphonic choir of 150 singers, the Chorale performs a major work with an orchestra each semester.[47]

Additionally, free music events are often presented in the basement of the student dorm Lunt, adjacent to the Lunt Café, through the campus organization the Federation of United Concert Series, showcasing genres including funk, rock, blues, and jazz. Student musicians have also created a vibrant musical community on campus, forming a number of bands with eclectic styles. Haverford boasts practice facilities, a recording studio, and a record label, Black Squirrel Records, which releases compilation albums that feature Haverford student bands. Students also run their own college radio station, WHRC Radio, which broadcasts streaming audio.


Student publications include The Bi-College News, a newspaper in collaboration with students at Bryn Mawr College that serves both campuses; The Clerk,[49] an independent, online newspaper; Feathers & Fur, a fashion magazine also in collaboration with students at Bryn Mawr College; The Haverford Review, a student literary magazine; Without a (Noun), the Haverford satire/humor magazine; the Haverford Journal, an academic journal; and The Record, the student yearbook.


Haverford is home to three comedy performance groups which hold free shows throughout the year:

Lighted Fools was founded officially in 1991. It is the only comedy group on campus to admit students from both Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College. It is also the only group on campus to perform sketch comedy, digital shorts and long-form improv. Lighted Fools has performed at the Dirty South Improv Festival, the Philadelphia Improv Festival, Skidmore College Comedy Festival, Oberlin College Improv Conference, Delaware Improv and Sketch O'Festival, and the UMass Amherst Improv Festival, as well as nationwide in New York at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Magnet Theater, and in Chicago City Limits at the Improv Olympic, and in Los Angeles at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

The Throng was founded in 2000 by Haverford students and focuses on exclusively on long-form improvisation. The Throng has performed with such professional groups as Dillinger and The Shoves at the UCB Theatre in New York, as well as the Rare Bird Show in Philadelphia.[50]

In 2016 a third group, Off the Spot, was founded. The group has a commitment to avoiding improvisation, performing only sketches, some of which are videos.


Haverford College competes at the NCAA Division III level in the Centennial Conference and has a rich history in collegiate athletics: Haverford boasts the only varsity cricket team in the United States; its men's and women's track and field and cross country teams are perennial powerhouses in their division, with men's cross country winning the 2010 Cross Country Division III National Championships; its men's soccer team is among the nation's oldest, having won its first intercollegiate match in 1905 against Harvard College, and in 2015 made it to quarterfinals of the NCCA Division III Championships; its fencing team has competed since the early 1930s and is a member of both the Middle Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) and the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA). Several athletic teams are highly competitive in the Centennial Conference; for example, women's basketball won the 2014 Centennial Conference Championship and progressed to the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. Women's softball also won Centennial Conference titles in 2006, 2014, and in 2016. The 2016 team advanced to the Super Regional tournament, a first for any Centennial Conference softball team.

Notable people[edit]

Notable graduates of Haverford College include winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Philip Noel-Baker, Baron Noel-Baker (1908), Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry (1969), composer Steven Gerber (1969), theoretical physicist Curtis Callan, journalist Juan Williams, actor Daniel Dae Kim (1990), professional sports executive Arn Tellem (1976), and a number of prominent businessmen including Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick (1983) and billionaire Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp (1989). Notable attendees who did not graduate include the early 20th Century artist and illustrator Maxfield Parrish, as well as actors such as Chevy Chase, Judd Nelson, and George Segal. Fictional FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, from the television series Twin Peaks, was a member of the class of 1976.


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°00′35.00″N 75°18′25.98″W / 40.0097222°N 75.3072167°W / 40.0097222; -75.3072167