Sarah Lawrence College: Wikis


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Sarah Lawrence College
Motto Wisdom with understanding
Established 1926
Type Private
Endowment $59 million[1]
President Karen R. Lawrence
Undergraduates 1,235 on campus
Location Yonkers, New York, USA
Campus Suburban, 41+ acres
Address 1 Mead Way, Bronxville, NY 10708
Mascot Gryphon

Sarah Lawrence is a private, independent, liberal arts college in the United States. It is located in southern Westchester County, New York, in the city of Yonkers, 15 miles (24 km) north of Manhattan.[2][3] Sarah Lawrence was founded in 1926 as a women's college and became a coeducational institution in 1968. The College is known for its rigorous academic standards and low student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. Individual student-faculty tutorials patterned after the Oxford/Cambridge system are a key component of all areas of study. Sarah Lawrence emphasizes scholarship, particularly in the humanities, performing arts, and writing, and places a high value on independent study. In The Best College for You, a 2000 co-publication of Time Magazine and The Princeton Review, Sarah Lawrence College was named the liberal arts "College of the Year", citing the school's strong emphasis on writing across the curriculum.[4] It is currently the most expensive college in the United States, with annual tuition, room and board, and fees totaling $54,410 for the 2009/2010 school year.[5]



Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence College was established by real-estate mogul William Van Duzer Lawrence on the grounds of his estate in Westchester County and was named in honor of his wife, Sarah. The College was originally intended to provide instruction in the arts and humanities for women. A major component of the College's early curriculum was "productive leisure," wherein students were required to work for eight hours weekly in such fields as modeling, shorthand, typewriting, applying makeup, and gardening.[6] Its pedagogy, modeled on the tutorial system of Oxford University, combined independent research projects, individually supervised by the teaching faculty, and seminars with low student-to-faculty ratio—a credo it retains to the present, despite its cost. Sarah Lawrence was the first liberal arts college in the United States to incorporate a rigorous approach to the arts with the principles of progressive education, focusing on the primacy of teaching and the concentration of curricular efforts on individual needs.[6]

In addition to founding Sarah Lawrence College, William Lawrence played a critical role in the development of the neighboring community of Bronxville, New York. His name can be found on the affluent Lawrence Park and Lawrence Park West neighborhoods, the Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate Corporation, and on Lawrence Hospital in downtown Bronxville, an institution that was created when Lawrence’s son, Dudley, nearly died en route to a hospital in neighboring New York City. Lawrence embodied ideas from the Progressivist movement of the 1890s, especially his view that the arts were a crucial element in the social evolution of individuals and families, in developing both private and public sensibilities, and in creating equal relations between men and women.

Harold Taylor, President of Sarah Lawrence College from 1945 to 1959, greatly influenced the college. Taylor, elected president at age 30, maintained a friendship with educational philosopher John Dewey, and worked to employ the Dewey method at Sarah Lawrence. Taylor spent much of his career calling for educational reform in the United States, using the success of his own College as an example of the possibilities of a personalized, modern, and rigorous approach to higher education.

Sarah Lawrence became a coeducational institution in 1968. Prior to this transition, there were discussions about relocating the school and merging with Princeton University, but the administration opted to remain independent.

Political involvement and activism

Political activism has played a crucial role in forming the spirit of the Sarah Lawrence community since the early years of the College. As early as 1938, students were volunteering in working-class sections of Yonkers, New York to help bring equality and educational opportunities to poor and minority citizens, and the Sarah Lawrence College War Board, organized by students in the fall of 1942, sought to aid troops fighting in World War II. During a time when the College's enrollment consisted of only 293 students, 204 signed up as volunteers during the first week of the War Board.[7] During the so-called McCarthy Years, a number of Sarah Lawrence's faculty members were accused by the American Legion of being sympathetic to the Communist Party, and were called before the Jenner Committee.[8] Since that time, activism has played a central role in student life, with movements for civil rights and against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and for student and faculty diversity in the 1980s. Also in the 1960s, students established an Upward Bound program for students from lower-income and poverty areas to prepare for college.[9] Theatre Outreach, the Child Development Institute, the Empowering Teachers Program, the Community Writers program, the Office of Community Partnership, and the Fulbright High School Writers Program are among the many programs founded the since the 1970s to provide services to the larger community. In the late 1980s, students occupied Westlands, the main administrative building for the campus, in a sit-in for wider diversity. Students have remained active in recent years, with numerous organizations and movements sprouting in response to the Iraq War. For many years, the College has been considered as being at the vanguard of the sexual rights movement.


At the undergraduate level, Sarah Lawrence offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts where, instead of traditional majors, students pursue a wide variety of courses in four different curricular distributions: the Creative Arts (creative writing, music, dance, theater, painting, and film), history and the social sciences (anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology), the humanities (Asian studies, art history, film studies, languages, literature, philosophy, and religion), and natural science and mathematics (biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics). Classes are structured around a seminar-conference system through which students learn in small, highly interactive classes and in private tutorials with professors. Each student is assigned to a faculty advisor, known as a "don," to plan a course of study and provide ongoing academic guidance. Most courses, apart from those in the performing arts, consist of two parts: the seminar, limited to 15 students, and the conference, a private, biweekly meeting with a seminar professor. In these conferences, students develop individual projects that extend the course material and link it to their personal interests. Sarah Lawrence has no required courses and traditional examinations have largely been replaced with writing final research papers and essays. Additionally, grades are recorded only for transcript purposes—academic evaluations are given in lieu of grades.[10] The College sponsors international programs in Florence, at Wadham College, Oxford, at Reid Hall in Paris, and at the British American Drama Academy in London. Sarah Lawrence is one of the only American colleges operating an international program in Cuba .

Sarah Lawrence also offers Master's-level programs in Writing, the Art of Teaching, Child Development, Health Advocacy, Human Genetics, Theatre, and Dance, and is home to the nation's oldest graduate program in Women's History.


Exchange programs

  • Reed College Exchange Program: In 1994, Sarah Lawrence inaugurated an exchange program with Reed College in Portland, Oregon. This program enables SLC and Reed students to study on one another’s campus for an academic semester or year. In order to qualify for the exchange program with Reed, students must have strong academic records and have completed the first and sophomore years. Qualified students also have the opportunity to participate in any one of either college’s study-abroad programs.
  • Eugene Lang College Exchange Program: In 1996 the college began its exchange program with Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate division of the New School. Eugene Lang has particular strengths in the social sciences. Qualified students may cross register in courses in other divisions of the New School, including the graduate divisions. students must have strong academic records and have completed the first and sophomore years. Qualified students also have the opportunity to participate in Lang’s exchange program at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Spelman College Exchange Program: Beginning in spring 2007, female SLC students began participating in an exchange program with Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Qualified students may also apply for the Spelman exchange with Tsuda College for Women in Tokyo, Japan.

International programs

The College has a number of international programs in four countries. Sarah Lawrence makes all practical efforts to preserve its most characteristic elements, such as one-on-one interaction with professors, small classes, and an emphasis on qualitative comprehension, in its programs overseas.

  • Havana: This is the only formal American university program currently operating in Cuba. The course offerings at the University of Havana include Afro-Cuban culture, art history, Cuban or Latin American cinema, Cuban history, Latin American studies, literature, psychology, urban and rural sociology, U.S.-Cuban relations, and women’s studies. All courses are taught by Cuban faculty and are attended by Cuban students. Each student is also required to enroll in an advanced Spanish course. The most distinctive feature is an affiliation with Centro de Estudios Demográficos (CEDEM), one of the research centers at the University of Havana. At CEDEM students meet with experts whose research and professional expertise focus on developments in contemporary Cuban society. Students select a research topic and are paired with a professor from CEDEM with whom they meet on a regular basis, much like the regular conference structure.
  • London: Jointly sponsored by the British American Drama Academy and Sarah Lawrence College, the program expands Sarah Lawrence's long-standing and vibrant tradition in the performing arts by exposing students to the rigors of professional British training in acting . The faculty includes some of Britain’s most distinguished actors and directors. The heart of each student’s program is scene study in classical and modern works. Students also take courses in voice, movement, and stage fighting and participate in fully staged performances at the end of each term.
  • Oxford: Since 1985, Sarah Lawrence College has been associated with Wadham College, one of the undergraduate colleges of Oxford University in England. This program is open to select juniors and seniors. Students are best prepared to undertake the demands of Oxford if their course work in their first and sophomore years have included significant analytical and written work.
  • Paris: Centered at historic Reid Hall in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris, the program is Sarah Lawrence's oldest and focuses on the humanities and creative arts. The program is conducted entirely in French and includes one required French-language class and three other courses of the student’s choosing. Classes may be taken at the University of Paris, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, the Ecole du Louvre, and the Institut Catho-lique, or other, more specialized institutions.
  • Catania: Open to students who have an advanced comprehension of Italian, the Catania program takes advantage of its Sicilian setting to provide students with an experience in cultural immersion. Students enroll directly at the University of Catania and choose courses offered by the Humanities department, including: Medieval History, Modern Italian Literature, History of Philosophy, Archaeology, Greek and Roman Art History, History of Theatrical Arts, Comparative Literature, Byzantine History, and the History of Europe.
  • Florence: Open to students at all levels of Italian-language comprehension, the Florence program is noted for its art history program.
  • Dartington: A highly competitive, music based exchange with Dartington College of the Arts in southern England. The program is open to qualified students with an interest in experimental music and media.

Graduate programs

Sarah Lawrence offers eight graduate programs, each of which confers the Master of Arts or Master of Science degree upon its graduates. In contrast to highly specialized, research-oriented doctoral study, these programs reflect the emphasis on interdisciplinary studies and the close student-teacher relationship that have come to be characteristic of the College's undergraduate program. Intensive work with faculty members, small seminars, and one-on-one conferences form the foundation of the curricular model. According to their own literature, the programs make an effort to balance the "theoretical (usually discussed in seminars and conferences) with the practical (in the form of fieldwork, practicums, research or creative work). This experiential work is most often conducted not in isolation, but in the midst of a community. Interdisciplinary work and ideas are encouraged, as is an ethic of social responsibility." There are approximately 340 graduate students currently enrolled in the following programs:

  • Art of Teaching
  • Child Development
  • Health Advocacy
  • Human Genetics
  • Theatre
  • Women's History
  • Writing
  • Dance

SAT and academic ranking

In 2007, some educators in the United States began to question the impact of rankings on the college admissions process, due in part to the 11 March 2007 Washington Post article "The Cost of Bucking College Rankings" by Dr. Michele Tolela Myers, the former president of Sarah Lawrence College. As Sarah Lawrence College dropped its SAT test score submission requirement for its undergraduate applicants in 2003,[11] thus joining the SAT optional movement for undergraduate admission, SLC does not have SAT data to send to U.S. News for its national survey. Of this decision, Myers states, "We are a writing-intensive school, and the information produced by SAT scores added little to our ability to predict how a student would do at our college; it did, however, do much to bias admission in favor of those who could afford expensive coaching sessions."[12] At present, Sarah Lawrence is the only American college that completely disregards SAT scores in its admission process.[13] As a result of this policy, in the same Washington Post article, Dr. Myers stated that she was informed by the U.S. News and World Report that if no SAT scores were submitted, U.S. News would "make up a number" to use in its magazines. She further argues that if SLC were to decide to stop sending all data to U.S. News and World Report, their ranking would be artificially decreased.[12][14] U.S. News and World Report issued a response to this article on 12 March 2007 which stated that the evaluation of Sarah Lawrence is currently under review.[13] The 2008 issue of the US News and World Report rankings put Sarah Lawrence among the "unranked" institutions, colleges and universities that for a variety of reasons do not adhere to the magazine's guidelines.

On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, following a meeting of the Annapolis Group, which represents over 100 liberal arts colleges, Sarah Lawrence announced that it would join others who had previously signed the letter to college presidents asking them not to participate in the "reputation survey" section of the U.S. News and World Report survey (this section comprises 25% of the ranking). Myers commented on this in a 20 June 2007 article for the New York Times by stating, "they will do what they will do, [...] we will do what we will do. And we want to do it in a principled way."[15] Myers also indicated in a press release for Sarah Lawrence that the college will be involved in developing the new database of colleges discussed in the Annapolis Group statement as they "believe in accountability and openness, and that the public has a right to solid and reliable information about the important decisions involved in choosing a college." The press release also indicated that Sarah Lawrence "plans not to participate in the peer reputational survey or data collection for U.S. News and World Report’s rankings" as, according to Myers, "by submitting data and the peer reputation survey we have tacitly been endorsing these rankings [...] all the information we have provided to U.S. News in the past will be available to the public through other channels."[16]

Tuition and finances

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sarah Lawrence College has been the most expensive college in the country for the previous two academic years (2008-2009;2009-2010). [17]

The total cost of tuition, fees, room, and board for a student entering in the fall of 2009 was $55,788.


Westlands House

The Sarah Lawrence campus is located on 41 hilly acres of grassy fields and rocky outcroppings atop a promontory above the banks of the Bronx River. Much of the campus was originally a part of the estate of the College's founder, William Van Duzer Lawrence, though the College has more than doubled its geographical size since Lawrence bequeathed his estate to the College in 1926. The terrain of the campus is characterized by dramatic outcroppings of exposed bedrock shaded by large oak and elm trees. Much of the older architecture on the campus follows the Tudor style that was popular in the area during the early 20th century, and many of the College's newer buildings attempt to achieve an updated interpretation of the same architectural style. It can be said that the campus is divided into two distinctive sections: the "Old Campus" and the "New Campus," wherein the former is roughly contained within the boundaries of the erstwhile Lawrence estate, and the latter is that which was obtained some time after the College's earliest years.

The area outside the original Lawrence estate is home to the College's more cutting-edge facilities. A number of stately, century-old Tudor-style mansions will be found among these newer additions, including Andrews, Tweed, Lynd, Marshall Field, and Slonim House. Each was once a private estate, purchased by the college during periods of growth and expansion. The more modest Tudor houses along Mead Way, which were also once private residences, now serve as dorms for Sarah Lawrence students. "Slonim Woods" is a group of newer, townhouse-style dorms, built on the grounds of Slonim House.

The Campbell Sports Center was constructed in 1998 in response to an increased focus on physical fitness and sports. This state-of-the-art facility includes an indoor pool, gymnasium, track, raquetball courts, and weightrooms.

In 2004, the College completed construction of a state-of-the-art visual arts facility, the Monika A. and Charles A. Heimbold Visual Arts Center, the sleek architecture and environmentally friendly aspects of which earned the College national press attention. Just down the road is Hill House, a seven-story apartment building purchased by the College in the late 1990s that now houses student residences. Across the street from Hill House is the large Wrexham house, also in the Tudor style, that was purchased by Sarah Lawrence in 2004 from the government of Rwanda. This building, which once housed the Rwandan consul, has been renovated and is used by the College for various graduate studies programs. On the opposite end of the campus stands the Science and Mathematics Center, completed in 1994.


SLC Presidents Mansion

The first president was Marion Coats from 1924 to 1929. She was a friend of Vassar College President Henry McCracken and of Sarah Lawrence founder William Van Duzer Lawrence. Coats had traditional views of women's role in society that were at odds with her progressive approach to women's education.

The current president is Karen R. Lawrence, who was installed in 2007. She is a noted scholar of James Joyce, holding a B.A. from Yale University, a Master of Arts in English Literature from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in literature from Columbia University. [2] Before her tenure at Sarah Lawrence, Dr. Lawrence served as the dean of the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine from 1998 to 2007, and as a member and subsequent chair of the English faculty at the University of Utah from 1978 to 1997.

Notable people

  • Faculty — Among the current faculty of the college are Fine Art Photographer Joel Sternfeld,poet Suzanne Gardinier, novelist Melvin Jules Bukiet, Middle Eastern Affairs expert Fawaz Gerges, poet Marie Howe, film historians Gilberto Perez and Malcolm Turvey, mathematician Dan King, dancer/choreographer Sara Rudner and economist Franklin Delano Roosevelt, III. In 2005, current faculty member Eduardo Lago won the oldest literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world, the Premio Nadal.In 1934, Joseph Campbell was offered a position as professor at Sarah Lawrence College (through the efforts of his former Columbia advisor W.W. Laurence). Perceptual psychologist Rudolf Arnheim was on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College for 26 years, beginning in 1943.
  • Fine Arts: Alumni who are successful artists include Jedd Novatt (sculptor and painter) and Yoko Ono (artist, performance artist, and musician).
  • Fashion — Vera Wang, former Vogue editor and world-renowned fashion designer.

In popular culture

In the 1999 teen film 10 Things I Hate About You, a modern, quasi-adaptation of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew", Katarina Stratford (Julia Stiles), a main character and high school senior, has applied to Sarah Lawrence College and desires to attend the school against her father's wishes. She is accepted, and her father later accepts her preference for the school and expresses his approval. Actress Larisa Oleynik, who plays Katarina's younger and more flighty sister Bianca Stratford in the film, actually went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College in real life.

In the 2004 romantic drama film The Notebook, one of the main characters, Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), attends Sarah Lawrence College. This separates her from her summer love, Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), who resides in Seabrook Island, South Carolina.

In the TV series, House, one of the main characters, Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley, reveals in the episode "Epic Fail" that she attended Sarah Lawrence College.

In the sitcom Frasier, Gil Chesterton (an apparently homosexual food critic) suddenly reveals himself to be married to a woman named 'Deb' who is, he says, a Sarah Lawrence graduate (and 'the owner of a very succesful auto-repair shop').

In Meg Cabot's popular young adult fiction book series, "The Princess Diaries", it is revealed in the concluding novel that Mia decides to attend Sarah Lawrence College. This would make Mia happy, due to her interest in becoming a journalist, and her grandmother as well, due to her almost attending it. And also, it is still close to home, so she would have the ability to visit both her family and boyfriend Michael Moscovitz in Manhattan.

In the CW television series Gossip Girl, the character Blair Waldorf tries unsuccessfully to gain admission to Sarah Lawrence by begging the school's dean, after she is rejected by her dream school, Yale.[18]

In the movie Itty Bitty Titty Committee, Anna (Melonie Diaz) applies to SLC. She is rejected, but is latter accepted after graduating from community college.

In the 2009 film Motherhood, Eliza Welch (Uma Thurman) holds a BA from SLC.

In the Entourage, Lloyd Lee holds an art history degree from Sarah Lawrence College


SLC Gryphons.JPG

The College sponsors intercollegiate teams in crew (aka rowing), equestrian, men's basketball, men and women’s tennis, women’s volleyball, women’s softball, and women's swimming.

The College's official mascot is the Gryphon. It was chosen in the 1990s to represent the College's athletics teams after a long period of fielding sports teams without an official mascot. Unofficially the student body had long adopted the large resident population of 'Black Squirrels' as a de facto mascot to the college. The position of silent mascot that the 'Black Squirrel' occupied was financially endorsed by the college itself with the production of various Black Squirrel merchandise (including Sarah Lawrence clothing branded with the Black Squirrel image) and plush toys. It is only recently (post 2003) that efforts on the behalf of the college to establish the Gryphon as the icon of Sarah Lawrence have begun to take root.

Sarah Lawrence recently re-established the men's soccer team that plays in the Hudson Valley Conference.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Sarah Lawrence College Position Specification, page 7 ("Location: Campus and Facilities"). Retrieved January 3, 2007.
  3. ^ The Village of Bronxville website. ("Although nearby Sarah Lawrence College, founded in 1926 by William Lawrence to honor his wife, has a Bronxville postal address, it is actually located in Yonkers.") Retrieved December 27, 2006.
  4. ^ SLC honored for writing program that encourages students to write, think, communicate clearly
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ a b Kaplan, Barbara (26 February 2006). Becoming Sarah Lawrence. Sarah Lawrence College. 
  7. ^ Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz (1993). Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 
  8. ^ Fried, Richard M. (1990). Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  9. ^ United States. United States Congress. Joint Committee. A Directory of Urban Research Study Centers. Washington: United States Congress, 1977.
  10. ^ "At a Glance: About SLC". Sarah Lawrence College. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  11. ^ "Sarah Lawrence College Drops SAT Requirement, Saying a New Writing Test Misses the Point". The New York Times. 13 November 2003. 
  12. ^ a b Tolela Myers, Michele (11 March 2007). "The Cost of Bucking College Rankings". The Washington Post. 
  13. ^ a b "U.S. News Statement on College Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. 12 March 2007. 
  14. ^ Jaschik, Scott (12 March 2007). "Would U.S. News Make Up Fake Data?". Inside Higher Ed. 
  15. ^ Finder, Alan (20 June 2007). "Some Colleges to Drop Out of U.S. News Rankings". New York Times.,0,1372864.story. 
  16. ^ "Sarah Lawrence College Endorses Annapolis Group Actions". Sarah Lawrence College. 
  17. ^ The 10 Most Expensive Colleges
  18. ^

Sarah Lawrence also recently created a varsity men's soccer team that plays in the hudson valley league.

External links

Coordinates: 40°56′06″N 73°50′40″W / 40.935124°N 73.844326°W / 40.935124; -73.844326


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