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Patrick Henry College

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Patrick Henry College
Motto Pro Christo et Libertate
Motto in English
For Christ and for Liberty
Type Private
Established 2000
Chancellor Michael Farris (emeritus)
President Jack Haye
Provost Gene Edward Veith (emeritus)
Dean Frank Guliuzza (Academic affairs)
Academic staff
26 full-time
19 adjunct[1]
Students 304
Address One Patrick Henry Circle, Purcellville, VA 20132, U.S.
Campus Suburban 100+ acres (400,000 m²)
Colors Blue and Gold         
Nickname PHC
Mascot Sentinel

Patrick Henry College (PHC) is a private, independent college with an Evangelical Christian basis that focuses on teaching classical liberal arts and government, located in Purcellville, Virginia.[2] The college is known for its conservative evangelical Christian focus. PHC is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, a national faith-related accrediting organization.


Patrick Henry College – Purcellville, Virginia

Patrick Henry College was incorporated in 1998 by Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the board of the Home School Legal Defense Association, with which PHC is still closely connected. It officially opened September 20, 2000, with a class of 92 students. The college eschews federal financial aid and is therefore relieved from Department of Education reporting requirements on demographic makeup and other information. The school does not ask for race on applications.

PHC receives all of its funding from tuition fees or donations. The college states that it does not accept any money from the government or any other source that includes terms that supersede the authority of its Board of Trustees or conflict with its foundational statements. PHC adds new facilities and programs only as funds are available.[3] The Home School Legal Defense Association is one of the primary benefactors of the school, and all members of the association receive a $1300 grant if they are accepted as students.[1][4]


Patrick Henry College received accreditation in 2007 from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools,[5] a national accrediting organization for Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries created by the Institute for Creation Research.[6] The College had previously been denied accreditation by the American Academy for Liberal Education in the spring of 2002 because creationism was part of the curriculum.[7][5] On June 30, 2005, the school was officially recognized by the United States Department of Education as an institution eligible for DOE programs.[citation needed] It also allowed students to use more scholarships and grants and made donors and students eligible for various tax benefits.[8] On April 3, 2012, the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools reaffirmed Patrick Henry College's accreditation for a period of ten years.[9]

Religious affirmations[edit]

All students must sign a "Statement of Faith" before they enroll, affirming belief in what the college considers core Christian doctrines. For example, students are asked to acknowledge "Satan exists as a personal, malevolent being who acts as tempter and accuser, for whom Hell, the place of eternal punishment, was prepared, where all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.... Man is by nature sinful and is inherently in need of salvation, which is exclusively found by faith alone in Jesus Christ and His shed blood.... Christ's death provides substitutionary atonement for our sins."[10] The college professes non-denominational Christian beliefs, informed by Evangelical Protestantism.

Teaching faculty must also sign the Statement of Faith and a more detailed Statement of Biblical Worldview, which represents the college's requirements for what should be taught.[11] For example, the Biblical Worldview Applications states, "Any biology, Bible, or other courses at PHC dealing with creation will teach creation from the understanding of Scripture that God's creative work, as described in Genesis 1:1–31, was completed in six twenty-four-hour days."[12]

In 2006, PHC founder Farris commented that the college held the view that its faith was the only true faith ("we believe that there is truth and there is error") and expressed disapproval of religious and social toleration. "Tolerance cannot coexist with liberty" because "the crowd of tolerance wants to ban speech."[13]

On April 12, 2007, LGBT rights group Soulforce selected PHC as one of the targets of its annual "Equality Ride," to protest the stance of conservative Christian colleges concerning homosexuality. Like many other Christian colleges, Patrick Henry did not allow Soulforce to enter the university premises, but the college proposed for student representatives to engage in a formal debate at a neutral location on the merits of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment to the US Constitution.[14] Soulforce organizers declined and notified the college of their intent to enter the campus to speak directly with students. After being refused entry, Soulforce formed a picket line outside the entrance to the campus and protested for approximately five hours.[15][16][17][18]


Patrick Henry College Residential Village (prior to the construction of the Barbara Hodel Center)
Red Hill

Patrick Henry College is located in the town of Purcellville in rural northern Virginia, approximately 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Washington D.C. The campus currently consists of seven buildings arranged around a retention pond popularly called "Lake Bob",[19] as well as several athletic fields. The oldest structure, Founders Hall, opened in 2000 and contains three classrooms, the college library, and various administrative and faculty offices. It is also home to the offices of the Home School Legal Defense Association.[20] Hanna Rosin, author of God's Harvard, described the campus as "tiny, less like an Ivy League college than like a Hollywood set of an old Ivy League school." The buildings are of Colonial Revival architecture. The artwork in Founders Hall consists of copies of portraits of the Founding Fathers placed along a staircase, leading to a picture of Patrick Henry at the second Virginia convention which features a light from heaven guiding Henry's speech. The artwork is designed to, in the words of Hanna Rosin, "remind the students that America was founded as a Christian nation."[21]

The school's residential village is composed of five residence halls located along the edges of the lake. There are two men's dormitories (Oak Hill and Red Hill) and three women's dormitories (Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier).[22] The four smaller dormitories opened in 2001, while the largest residence hall, Red Hill, opened in 2003.[23] In addition to student housing, Red Hill also contains three classrooms and an office suite on its basement level. Located in the basement of Mount Vernon is an auditorium referred to as Town Hall, where the school's daily chapel sessions and other special events are held. The residence halls are set up in an arc shape around the lake.

Barbara Hodel Student Center[edit]

The Barbara Hodel Center building

In August 2009 the college opened a $32 million, 106,000-square-foot (9,800 m2) student life center, which significantly expanded dining, classroom, recreational, and athletic facilities. Construction began in December 2006 and was completed during the summer of 2009.[24] On October 10, 2009 the college held a dedication ceremony for the new building which was attended by approximately 1,000 people and featured evangelical leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family as the keynote speaker.[24]


The college's founder, Mike Farris, announced his resignation as president of the college on March 6, 2006, to become chancellor. Graham Walker, formerly of Oklahoma Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania, served as the second president of the college, from 2006-2014. Jack Haye became the third President of Patrick Henry College in 2015 after thirty years in the banking world.[25]

On July 1, 2006, the educator and cultural editor of World, Gene Edward Veith, took the post of academic dean.[26] As part of multiple structural and administrative changes implemented in November 2006, Veith was appointed to the position of provost and oversees the departments of Academic Affairs and Student Life.

Founders Hall and Patrick Henry Circle

Dr. Graham Walker announced his resignation as President of Patrick Henry College on October 15, 2014.[27] During the search process to select a new President, Provost Dr. Gene Edward Veith served as Interim President. On August 3, 2015, the College announced that Jack Haye had been selected to serve as the Third President of Patrick Henry College. During the period from Walker's resignation through the summer of 2016, multiple organizations changes and reorganizations took place. In the Fall of 2016, the executive leadership of Patrick Henry College consisted of the Dean of Student Affairs, Dean of Academic Affairs, Director of Admissions and Communications, Vice President of Advancement, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning.[28]


Students at the College can choose their major from within seven fields of study. The Government Department offers majors in Government, Journalism,[29] Economics & Business Analytics, and Strategic Intelligence in National Security. The Government major provides an option to specialize in American Politics and Policy, International Politics and Policy, Political Theory, Strategic Intelligence, or a General Government track.[30] The Classical Liberal Arts Department offer degrees in Classical Liberal Arts Education, History, and Literature and Minors in Biblical Studies, Classics, History, Journalism, Music, Pedagogy, and Philosophy.[31]

On January 24, 2007, the school successfully completed an on-site review by a TRACS assessment team, and was granted full accreditation in April.[32][33]


In 2008, its website listed twenty-five full-time professors, of which twenty-one had at least one doctorate; one professor had a D.M.A., and another held an Ed.D.[34] making it such that 24 of the 25 have a terminal degree in their field. In 2011, PHC also listed 24 part-time faculty, all of whom have received a master's degree or higher.[35] Chancellor Emeritus Mike Farris has a J.D., has authored several novels and critiques of constitutional law, and has argued numerous cases before federal and state high courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court.[34]

2006 Academic freedom dispute[edit]

In 2005, a library clerk was forced to resign for promoting the idea that baptism is essential for salvation, considered a violation of the Statement of Faith.[36] Further, in March 2006, five of the college's sixteen faculty members—Erik Root, Robert Stacey, Kevin Culberson, Todd Bates, and David Noe—resigned in protest, claiming that the President's interpretation of the Biblical Worldview Policy restricted academic freedom.[37][38]

The resignations led to questions about the compatibility of a strong liberal arts education along with its conservative biblical beliefs.[5] David C. Noe, assistant professor of Classics departed after finding that classical works by non-Christian authors were sometimes considered suspect at PHC, and there was an increasingly narrow view of Christianity.[36] Root criticized the autocratic lack of faculty participation in the ideas and governing of the school, saying "if [PHC] continues down this road, will end up being more an 'illiberal arts education'."[39]

Student life[edit]

A male student is dunked in Lake Bob after announcing his engagement.

As of November 2006, the Student Life Department is presided over by Administrative Dean for Student Life, Sandra Corbitt, and falls under the authority of the provost. The college has many rules of behavior typical of conservative, religious colleges. Students may not have sex outside of marriage, or use alcohol or tobacco while under the authority of the college, which is defined as any time during a semester while enrolled, on or off campus. Men and women are not allowed in each other's dorm rooms, and underclassmen are subject to a curfew. Firearms are prohibited on campus.[40][41] The college has a number of traditions rooted in dorm life, including "bobtisms" — a portmanteau of Baptism and "Lake Bob", in which newly engaged males are dunked.[42] All dorm activities are subject to the discretion of the men's and women's Resident Directors.

Students are active in multiple campus clubs including the College Republicans, Eden Troupe[43] (which produces regular stage dramas), the Streaming Media Network (which produces student films), and several philosophical and literary societies.[citation needed]

In the 2000s Hanna Rosin, author of God's Harvard, said that "never would you find a group of better-behaved teenagers than on the campus of Patrick Henry." During that period many Patrick Henry students made fun of Bob Jones University, which Rosin described as having "the gold standard of vice patrol." Rosin commented that "by most people's standards," Patrick Henry "was not far behind" Bob Jones.[44]

Student governance[edit]

Students also participate in the school's student government, which consists of a Student Senate composed of 24 members, elected every fall semester; and a student president and vice president who run as a ticket and are elected every spring semester. It does not have any powers to enact campus policies but is considered an important part of life at Patrick Henry College.[45]

As of 2007 the Student Senate had consisted of about one third of the total student body.[46]

Civic involvement[edit]

Students are involved in the community, and PHC requires its Government students to fulfill up to 24 credits of apprenticeship projects, which include internships, research and writing projects, and extracurricular activities such as moot court, Model United Nations, and Mock Trial.[47][48] Students currently serve as interns in a wide variety of political organizations, such as congressional offices and think-tanks. Students are active in local and national politics, and members of the Patrick Henry College Republicans chapter often work with local political action groups to lobby for conservative issues at the federal and state levels. Classes are canceled the day of the national elections and the day before, so that students may volunteer on political campaigns; and many students act as Student Action Team leaders for Generation Joshua, leading groups of usually homeschooled high school students volunteering on campaigns across the United States.


Patrick Henry College competes as the Sentinels, fielding teams in men's and women's intercollegiate soccer and basketball, and is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and the Shenandoah-Chesapeake Conference.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 2013–2014 PHC Academic Catalog Retrieved on: January 3, 2014.
  2. ^ "Welcome Map." Purcellville. Retrieved October 10, 2009. Archived December 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Giving to PHC". Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  4. ^ Smith, J. Michael (June 6, 2006). "Patrick Henry College Gains Notice". Washington Times Op-ed. Retrieved June 2, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b c Chandler, Michael Alison (April 20, 2007). "Christian Group Accredits School". Washington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  6. ^ Sandra Blakeslee (2007). "The ICR Graduates". Institute for Creation Research. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  7. ^ "PHC Appeals Accreditation Denial". Home School Legal Defense Association. July 24, 2002. Retrieved October 27, 2008. 
  8. ^ Kiser, Michael (July 18, 2005). "Ruling Opens Up Tax Benefits to PHC Parents". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  9. ^ "TRACS Reaffirms PHC's National Accreditation Status". Patrick Henry College. 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Statement of Faith". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Statement of Biblical Worldview". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Biblical Worldview Applications". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  13. ^ Gross, Terry (May 24, 2006). "Patrick Henry College's Michael Farris". National Public Radio's Fresh Air. Retrieved October 27, 2008. 
  14. ^ Halbrook, David (April 9, 2007). ""Soulforce Equality Ride" Targets PHC". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  15. ^ Rosin, Hanna (April 13, 2007). "Young, Gay Christians On a Bumpy Bus Ride". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  16. ^ Halbrook, David (April 13, 2007). ""Soulforce Equality Ride" Passes Peacefully". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  17. ^ Jackson, Charlie (April 12, 2007). "Two Arrested As Gay Rights Group Gathers At Patrick Henry College". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved May 31, 2007. 
  18. ^ "2007 Equality Ride East Bus Route: Patrick Henry College," Retrieved January 16, 2008. Archived December 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Copeland, Libby (November 27, 2001). "Higher Yearning: At Patrick Henry College, Home-Schooled Students Learn to Confront the World". Washington Post. p. Page C01. Retrieved June 1, 2007. [dead link]
  20. ^ "About HSLDA". Home School Legal Defense Association. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  21. ^ Rosin, Hanna. God's Harvard. 2007. Harcourt. 13.
  22. ^ Patrick Henry College
  23. ^ "Dorm Life". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  24. ^ a b "Hodel Cited As Example; Dobson Urges Leadership As College Dedicates Student Life Center". Leesburg Today. October 12, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Meet the President", Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  26. ^ Halbrook, David (May 10, 2006). "Patrick Henry College Names New Academic Dean". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  27. ^ Devine, Daniel James, "Patrick Henry College president steps down", World, October 17, 2014.
  28. ^ "Administration", Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  29. ^ "Major in Journalism". Patrick Henry College. 
  30. ^ "Majors in Government". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ Halbrook, David (January 25, 2007). "TRACS Completes PHC Accreditation Site Review". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. 
  33. ^ Halbrook, David (April 18, 2007). "PHC Granted Accreditation by TRACS". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved October 23, 2008. ]
  34. ^ a b "Faculty". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  35. ^ "PHC Essentials". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  36. ^ a b "5 Professors Quit Religious School". The Washington Post. May 19, 2006. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  37. ^ Henessy-Fiske, Molly (May 13, 2006). "A Clash of Ideas at Evangelical College". LA Times. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  38. ^ Thomas Bartlett (May 19, 2006). "Give Me Liberty or I Quit" (A40). The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  39. ^ Lawton, Kim (May 26, 2006). "Interview: Erik Root". Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (PBS). PBS. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  40. ^ "2008 Student Handbook" (PDF). Patrick Henry College. p. 63. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  41. ^ "2008 Student Life Manual" (PDF). Patrick Henry College. p. 49. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  42. ^ Dark Lord of Debate (September 25, 2005). "Izzy's Bobtism". HomeSchoolDebate Forum. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved June 2, 2007. 
  43. ^ "Patrick Henry College Drama Club". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  44. ^ Rosin, Hanna. God's Harvard. 2007. Harcourt. 134.
  45. ^ "Student Government". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  46. ^ Rosin, Hanna (September 2007). God's Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America. Harcourt Trade Publisher. p. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-15-101262-6. Retrieved September 17, 2007. 
  47. ^ "Bachelor of Arts in the Government Major". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved November 29, 2008. 
  48. ^ "Forensics". Patrick Henry College. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 

External links[edit]




Coordinates: 39°08′26″N 77°41′25″W / 39.140479°N 77.690248°W / 39.140479; -77.690248