Houghton College

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Houghton College
Houghton College Seal.gif
Former names
Houghton Seminary
MottoFounded on the Rock
TypePrivate college
Established1883; 138 years ago (1883)
Religious affiliation
Wesleyan Church
Endowment$60.0 million (2020)[1]
PresidentWayne D. Lewis, Jr.
Location, ,
United States

42°25′34″N 78°09′19″W / 42.426111°N 78.155278°W / 42.426111; -78.155278Coordinates: 42°25′34″N 78°09′19″W / 42.426111°N 78.155278°W / 42.426111; -78.155278
ColorsPurple and Gold   
Houghton College Logo.png

Houghton College is a private Christian liberal arts college in Houghton, New York. Houghton was founded in 1883 by Willard J. Houghton and is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church.[3] Houghton serves roughly 1000 students and has 54 degree majors for primarily undergraduate students.


Houghton College began in 1883 as Houghton Seminary, a coeducational high school founded by Willard J. Houghton, a Wesleyan Methodist minister. In 1899, the first few college classes were offered. James S. Luckey was appointed president in 1908 and Houghton College received its provisional charter from New York in 1923.[3] A permanent charter was granted in 1927, and accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools came in 1935. Stephen Paine was appointed president in 1937. When the former Buffalo Bible Institute merged with Houghton College in 1969, the West Seneca campus was created.[4] Wilber Dayton was appointed president in 1972 and he was succeeded by Daniel R. Chamberlain in 1976. The college initiated its first master’s degree program in 2004 and currently offers nine such degrees. Shirley Mullen was appointed president in 2006. From 2012 to 2013, the college set new records of giving to the institution for two years in a row.[5] Despite this, Houghton College faced financial and enrollment challenges which led to academic budget cuts for the 2014–2015 academic year.[6][7] This led to a "strategic reallocation of resources"[8] which led to the development of several new majors including Music Industry,[9] Sports Management,[10] and Data Science.[11]


Houghton College’s main campus is in the hamlet of Houghton, in Allegany County, New York, about 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Buffalo, New York and 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Rochester, New York. The 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) of campus sit on the Allegheny Plateau at roughly 1,300 feet (400 m), on the site of the former Caneadea Indian Reservation. A new Adult Education program offers a B.S. in Management at a variety of locations. Houghton College opened two locations in Niagara County for their Adult Education Program in 2013, in the city of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and in Lockport, N.Y.


Houghton College grants associate and bachelor's degrees in 46 majors. The college also offers six graduate degrees through the Greatbatch School of Music.


Houghton College is ranked tied for #124 in National Liberal Arts Colleges in the 2020 Best Colleges rankings by U S News & World Report.[12]

First Year Honors[edit]

A distinctive First Year Honors Program is for qualified first-year students. There are three options: London Honors, East Meets West, and Science Honors. Previously the college offered a Contemporary Contexts program, but was replaced by London Honors in 2014. During London Honors, students spend their spring semester in London studying the development of the western world. East Meets West involves taking integrated classes during normal semester then traveling abroad during "May Term", exploring the roots of Western culture. Science Honors takes place during both first-year semesters at Houghton, involving research in recent real-world issues such as fuel-efficiency, climate change, and energy sources. The theme for 2012-13 was Global Warming and ways in which to improve Houghton's efforts in environmentalism.[13] As part of this commitment, the school has built one of the largest solar arrays in the state of New York, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 17, 2015.[14]

Student life[edit]

There are four traditional residence halls and four townhouses residences. Two of the traditional residence halls, Gillette Hall and Lambein Hall, are female residences. Rothenbuhler Hall and Shenawana Hall are male residences. Sophomore, Junior and senior students have the option to live in the townhouses. Houghton College is a distinctly residential campus but does allow for upper class students the opportunity to apply to live in approved off-campus housing, called Community Living Opportunities (CLOs).[15] Many organizations and clubs are available for students to join or found their own.


Houghton Highlanders
UniversityHoughton College
ConferenceEmpire 8
NCAADivision III
Athletic directorMatthew Webb
LocationHoughton, New York
Varsity teams16
Basketball arenaNielsen Center
ColorsPurple and Gold

The Houghton Highlanders field 16 varsity teams. Women participate in soccer, basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, softball, tennis, volleyball, track, and cross country. Men participate in baseball, soccer, basketball, track, lacrosse, tennis and cross country.

Houghton is a member of the NCAA Division III and member of the Empire 8 Conference.

Houghton's first national champion was Kaitlin Fadden who won the 2008 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field marathon event in a time of 2:57:10. It was the first NAIA national championship, either for a team or individual, for Houghton College.

May 2012 graduate Danielle Brenon was the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field national champion in the marathon.[16]

In 2014, the college opened the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex thanks to a $12 million gift from 1991 graduate Kim Pegula.[17] The complex is named after Kim's father Ralph Kerr, an instructor in Houghton's Adult Education program, and her husband Terrence Pegula. Three lighted turf facilities are home to the Houghton Highlander soccer, baseball, softball, field hockey, outdoor track, and lacrosse teams. The multipurpose field house includes an eight-lane, 200-meter track and six tennis courts, offering a competition venue for the indoor track and tennis programs. It also provides dedicated practice space for outdoor sports over the winter and during inclement weather and also serve as a hub of involvement for the campus and the surrounding communities of Northern Allegany County and Western New York.

The college also offers club and intramural sports for men and women, including flag football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer. Co-ed club and intramural sports are handball, water polo, and volleyball. Co-ed frisbee is also a popular sport.

On July 15, 2020, the Empire 8 Conference postponed all fall sports, but will provide conference championships in those sports in Spring 2021.[18]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ Lauer, Luke. "Numbers Down in Student Clubs and Campus Activities - Houghton Star". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b History of Houghton. Houghton.edu. Retrieved on 2013-06-11.
  4. ^ Houghton Star, October 2005 Archived September 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Houghton College Sets Record Giving, Second Year Running" (Press release). Houghton College. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  6. ^ Hutchinson, Sarah. "College Announces Significant Academic Budget Cuts for 2014–2015". Houghton Star. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Private colleges remain under the weather". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Houghton Announces Strategic Realignment of Academic Programs". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  9. ^ Johnson, Laura. "New Music Industry Major". Houghton Star. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Houghton Gets Approval to Offer B.S. in Sport, Recreation and Wellness Management". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  11. ^ Lauer, Luke. "Houghton First in Nation to Offer Liberal Arts Data Science Class". Houghton Star. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Houghton College". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  13. ^ Houghton College: Prospective Students Website – Academics – Honors Program. Explore.houghton.edu. Retrieved on 2012-01-11.
  14. ^ "Solar Array Ribbon Cutting & Tour". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Residence Life - College Residences". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Brenon '12 is Running the Distance". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  17. ^ "News Archive". Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Empire 8 Conference Announces Postponement of Fall Sports". July 15, 2020.
  19. ^ "Staff Profile: Professor Robert Beckford" Archived 2016-08-21 at the Wayback Machine, Canterbury Christ Church University.
  20. ^ The Bruce Medalists, Ira S. Bowen, 1957
  21. ^ "Mrs. Nora Smith Services Tuesday". Atlanta Constitution. July 19, 1971. p. 22B. Retrieved July 6, 2020 – via newspapers.com.

External links[edit]