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Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott seal
Motto "Educating women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times."
Established 1889
Type Private, Women's college
Endowment $230.6 million[1]
President Elizabeth Kiss
Faculty 82
Students 998
Undergraduates 914
Postgraduates 84
Location Decatur, Georgia, United States
Campus Total 91 acres (Suburban), Athletic complex 7 acres, Bradley Observatory and Delafield Planetarium 1.5 acres.
Newspaper Agnes Scott Profile
Colors Purple and White         
Nickname Scotties
Affiliations Presbyterian Church (USA)
Agnes Scott seal

Agnes Scott College (commonly known as Agnes Scott) is a private undergraduate college in the United States. Agnes Scott's campus lies in downtown Decatur, Georgia, nestled inside the perimeter of the bustling metro-Atlanta area. The college was founded in 1889 as Decatur Female Seminary by Presbyterian minister Frank H. Gaines. In 1890, the name was changed to Agnes Scott Institute to honor the mother of the college's primary benefactor, Col. George Washington Scott. The name was changed again to Agnes Scott College in 1906, and remains today a liberal arts women's college.

Agnes Scott currently enrolls 914 students. In 2006, the student to faculty ratio was 10:1.[2] Eighty-seven percent of the faculty are full-time, and 100% of the tenure-track faculty hold terminal degrees.

The undergraduate school offers 30 majors and 25 minors. Students who graduate from Agnes Scott receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Agnes Scott is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), and is considered one of the Seven Sisters of the South. The current mission of the college, adopted in 2002, states: Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. [3]



Agnes Scott is considered the first higher education institution in the state of Georgia to receive regional accreditation. The current president is Elizabeth Kiss, the founding director of Duke University's Kenan Institute for Ethics.

On July 27, 1994, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Candler Street-Agnes Scott College Historic District. [4] The historic district boundaries are East College Ave., South McDonough St., S. Candler St., East Hill St. and East Davis St. It includes the entire campus, as well as historic homes adjacent to the campus. The campus is also designated by the City of Decatur as an historic district.


Access to Agnes Scott College is enhanced by direct subway service via the MARTA to downtown Decatur.

Agnes Scott (Main) Hall, the oldest building on campus, was built in 1891 and once housed the entire school. This is documented in the history of Agnes Scott by Dr. McNair entitled Lest We Forget published in 1983.

Buttrick Hall
Looking across the quad
McCain Library at dusk

Agnes Scott occupies more than 90 acres in Decatur. The college also owns the Avery Glen apartments as well as a more than a dozen houses in the surrounding neighborhoods housing faculty, staff, and students. There are also six dedicated undergraduate dormitories located on campus.

Agnes Scott has committed to becoming a carbon-neutral institute by the college's 150th anniversary in 2039 and has taken steps such as partnering with the Clean Air Campaign to reduce its impact on the local environment.[5]

The Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott houses the Beck Telescope, a 30 inch Cassegrain reflector, as well as a planetarium with 70-seat capacity and a radio telescope.

The college's science building contains a three-story rendering of part of the nucleotide sequence from Agnes Scott's mitochrondrial DNA. The DNA came from a blood sample of an ASC alumna who is a direct descendant of the college's namesake.

American poet Robert Frost was an annual visitor at Agnes Scott from 1945 to his death in 1962. During his visits, he would read poetry in Presser Hall. A statue of the poet sculpted by George W. Lundeen sits in the alumnae gardens. A collection of Frost's poetry and letters can be viewed at McCain Library.



Special curricula

Coeducational graduate programs:

  • Master of Arts in teaching secondary English
  • Master of Arts in teaching secondary math and science
  • Post-baccalaureate pre-medical program

Undergraduate programs:


University rankings (overall)

USNWR Liberal Arts[6] 69

In April 2007, Kiplinger named Agnes Scott as one of the top 50 private liberal arts colleges.

According to the 2007 US News and World Report, Agnes Scott is ranked the 61st best liberal arts college in the country. It is the highest ranked women's college in the southeast. The report also ranked Agnes Scott as No. 28 for "Great School, Great Price."

Princeton Review's 2007 The Best 361 Colleges ranks the college as follows:
No. 4 for "Most Beautiful Campus"
No. 8 for "Dorms Like Palaces"
No. 11 for "Diverse Student Population"
No. 13 for "Students Happy with Financial Aid"

The 2004 edition of US News and World Report's rankings for best liberal arts colleges placed Agnes Scott as tied for number 50 in the country, and that year promotional information and school merchandise advertised the college's place among the "top 50."

In 2004, the college ranked second among women's colleges, seventh among national liberal arts colleges, and 27th overall in endowment per full-time enrolled student.[citation needed]

Agnes Scott is one of forty colleges profiled in the book "Colleges That Change Lives", by Loren Pope.

Student life

The school colors of Agnes Scott are purple and white, while the mascot is Irvine, a Scottish Terrier. Each incoming class is assigned a class color out of red, yellow, blue, or green and votes on a class mascot that correlates with that color. The colors and mascots are intended to establish class pride, particularly during one week of activities called Black Cat. Black Cat occurs every fall and culminates in a series of skits written, directed, and performed by the junior class. If there is dissatisfaction with a class mascot, the class is given the option to revote and choose a different mascot their second year.

The class ring is given to students during the spring of their sophomore year in a special ceremony. The ring design, with its rectangular engraved black onyx stone, has remained essentially the same since its introduction in the 1920s with minor choices (metal, size, and antiquing) emerging in recent years.

The honor code is held in high regard among Agnes Scott students and faculty.[citation needed] At the beginning of every academic year, new students must sign the honor code and recite a pledge promising to uphold the high academic and social standards of the institution.
As a member of the student body of Agnes Scott College, I consider myself bound by honor to develop and uphold high standards of honesty and behavior; to strive for full intellectual and moral stature; to realize my social and academic responsibility in the community. To attain these ideals, I do therefore accept this Honor System as my way of life.
Students self govern themselves and ask violators of the code to turn themselves in to Honor Court. The trust the Honor Code builds between faculty and students allows for students to take self scheduled, unproctored, exams.[citation needed]

Agnes Scott's NCAA Division III sports teams include basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball. There is also a lacrosse team. Swimming and cross country have been cut due to funding issues [2]

In 2007, the Agnes Scott soccer team defeated Rhodes College in a 1 to 0 victory. Rhodes was ranked number 17th at the time.

Tradition dictates that students who get engaged are thrown into the alumnae pond by their classmates.

Seniors at Agnes Scott traditionally ring the bell in Agnes Scott Hall's bell tower upon acceptance to graduate school or a job offer. This tradition dates from the '80s when the tower acquired its bell during the administration of President Ruth Schmidt. Students who ring the bell sign their names on the walls of the tower.

Notable achievements

  • New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered Agnes Scott's May 2005 commencement address.[8] At the ceremony, she and playwright Marsha Norman received the first honorary degrees conferred by the college.

Notable alumnae

  • Nathalie Anderson, (1970), poet and author of Following Fred Astaire
  • Osjha Anderson, (1996) Miss Georgia 1999
  • Ann Avant Crichton, (1961), first woman Mayor of Decatur, GA
  • Margaret Booth, (Institute), educational and cultural mentor for the Montgomery, Alabama area; Inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame posthumously in 1999
  • Mary Brown Bullock, (1966), president emeritae and only alumna to serve as president of the college
  • Ila Burdette, (1981), Georgia's first female Rhodes scholar
  • Dorothy Cave, (1949), prominent New Mexico author and historian
  • Faith Yao Yu Chao, (1961), founder and director of the Evergreen Educational Foundation, a recent Bill and Melinda Gates foundation award winner
  • Constance Curry, (1955), civil rights activist and author of the award-winning Silver Rights
  • Laura Dorsey, (1966) (did not graduate), hospital chaplain, author and founder of Gardens for Peace, an international organization which designates gardens as places of meditation and a symbol of peace
  • Daphne Faulkner, (1983), religious and political activist, founder and first president of the Georgia chapter of People of Faith for the ERA
  • Mamie Lee Ratliff Finger, (1939), president of the foundation that funds Ewha Women's University in Seoul, Korea, the largest women's university in the world
  • Margot Gayle (Irregular), American historic preservationist and author who helped save the Victorian cast-iron architecture in New York City's SoHo district[citation needed]
  • Karen Gearreald, (1966), Agnes Scott's first blind student, who answered the final question to beat Princeton (see above) and was named Outstanding Alumna for Distinguished Career in 1997
  • Sophie Haas Gimble, (1912), fashion designer and merchandiser at Saks Fifth Avenue who appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1947
  • Elizabeth Riseley Griffin, (1997), a biology student whose death after contracting the B virus while working with Rhesus macaques at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center led to the creation of a memorial foundation and legislation governing primate research safety in the United States
  • Katherine Harris, (1979), former Florida Secretary of State and U.S. Representative
  • Rachelle Henderlite, the first woman to be ordained a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Bertha "B" Holt, (1938), former North Carolina State Representative and children's rights advocate
  • Amy Kim, (1997), winner of the 2007 Academy Award for "Best Live Action Short Film" for her work as a producer on West Bank Story
  • Katherine "Kay" Krill, (1977), CEO of Ann Taylor
  • Michelle Malone, musician (did not graduate)
  • Catherine Marshall, (1936), author of the novel Christy, later made into a TV series
  • Joanna Cook Moore, actress and mother of Tatum O'Neal
  • Jennifer Nettles, (1997) Lead singer of the AMA and Grammy award winning country music band Sugarland
  • Frances Newman (Institute), first librarian of Atlanta's Carnegie Library and celebrated feminist novelist, author of The Hard-Boiled Virgin, Dead Lovers are Faithful Lovers, and The Gold-Fish Bowl
  • Marsha Norman, (1969), playwright
  • Jessica Daves Parker, (1914), editor in chief of Vogue magazine 1952-1962
  • Susan Philips, (1967), the first woman to chair a financial regulatory agency (the Commodity Futures Trading Commission)
  • Carolyn Forman Piel, (1940), elected in 1986, she is the first female president of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Margaret Evans Porter, (1980), romance novelist
  • Mia Puckett, (1986), first female, black District Attorney in the state of Alabama, currently state director of human resources
  • Louise Röska-Hardy, (1972), Phi Beta Kappa, philosopher specializing in philosophy of language and of mind
  • Agnes White Sanford (SPEC 1919), author of the book The Healing Light
  • Saycon Sengbloh, Broadway star and recording artist.
  • Jean H. Toal (1965), Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court
  • Leila Ross Wilburn (1904), Architect

Agnes Scott College in Television and Film



  • Earnshaw, Rebecca Lee. Students at Agnes Scott College During the 1930s. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1988.
  • McNair, Walter Edward. Lest We Forget: An Account of Agnes Scott College. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1983.
  • Noble, Betty Pope Scott. The Story of George Washington Scott, 1829-1903: A Family Memoir. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 2002.
  • Pope, Loren. "Scott College." In Colleges That Change Lives. New York: Penguin, 2000.
  • Sayrs, M. Lee. A Full and Rich Measure: 100 Years of Educating Women at Agnes Scott College, 1889-1989. Atlanta, GA: Susan Hunter, Inc., 1990.

External links

Coordinates: 33°46′13″N 84°17′36″W / 33.77016°N 84.29325°W / 33.77016; -84.29325


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