Washington and Jefferson College: Wikis


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Washington & Jefferson College
Latin: Sigillum Collegii Washingtoniensis Et Jeffersoniensis
Motto Juncta Juvant (Latin)
"Together We Thrive"
Established 1781
Type Private liberal arts college
Religious affiliation Non-sectarian, formerly Presbyterian
Endowment $104,454,362[1]
President Tori Haring-Smith
Undergraduates 1,531[2]
Location Washington, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Small town, 60 acres, (0.24 km2)
Former names Washington College, Jefferson College
Colors Red and Black          
Nickname Presidents
Athletics NCAA Division III
Presidents' Athletic Conference, Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association
Website www.washjeff.edu

Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college located in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, in the city of Washington, Pennsylvania, USA. The college has an enrollment of approximately 1,525 students in the 07-08 academic year.

This college is noted primarily as a good Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, and Pre-Law institution due to its fine liberal arts curriculum. It is also considered an excellent preparatory school for graduate level studies in general, but especially in chemistry, biology, economics, and history.

This college has been ranked at no. 106 among the top liberal arts colleges in the US according to the "America's Best Colleges 2008" issue of US News and World Report, and the Princeton Review recently named W&J the 14th fittest college in the US.[4] It has also been highlighted as a strong liberal arts institution by the college search website Colleges of Distinction. [5]




Three log colleges

Washington & Jefferson College traces its origin to three log cabin colleges established by three frontier clergymen in the 1780s: John McMillan, Thaddeus Dod, and Joseph Smith. The three men, all graduates from the College of New Jersey, came to present-day Washington County to plant churches and spread Presbyterianism to what was then the American frontier beyond the Appalachian Mountains.[3] They were "men of like minds, who worked in harmony like a brotherhood," even though they had different personalities. McMillan was the executive, Dod the scholar, Smith the revivalist.[3]

McMillan's log college in Chartiers

The early students were subjected to regular attacks by local Indian tribes and were greatly influenced by religious revivals and the Second Great Awakening.[3] The women of "the 5 congregations" (Bethel, Buffalo, Chartiers, Cross Creek, and Ten Mile) had a tradition of making clothes for the students, most of whom were farmers and many were veterans of the Revolution.[3] Most attend school to prepare for the ministry, and many students pushed west to spread the Gospel to other frontiersmen and often the same Indians that were attacking them.[3]

John McMillan, the most prominent of the three founders because of his strong personality and longevity, came to the area in 1775 and built his log cabin college in 1780 near his church in Chartiers.[3] In addition to his pastoral duties, he taught a mixture of mature college-level students and some elementary students.[3] James McGready, who would later play an important role in the Second Great Awakening, studied Latin under McMillan in 1783.[3] The original cabin was destroyed by fire, and the rebuilt facility now stands outside the Canonsburg Middle School.[3] Thaddeus Dod built his log cabin college in Lower Ten Mile in 1781. He taught math and the classics [4] Joseph Smith taught classical studies in his college, called "The Study" at Buffalo[4]

Washington Academy

Washington Academy

Largely resulting from the lobbying efforts of Reverend McMillan and two of his elders, Judge James Allison and Judge John McDowell, Washington Academy was chartered by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on September 24, 1787, providing for the "education of youths in useful arts, sciences and literature.[5][6] The first members of the board of trustees included these three men, as well as Reverends Dod and Smith.[5] The board quickly secured a land grant of 5,000 acres north of the Ohio River and west of Allegheny River (present-day Beaver County) from the Secretary of the Land Office. This tract of land, secured from the Lenape and Wyandot in the Treaty of Fort McIntosh, was subject to competing claims resulting from poorly executed grants.[5] The land, impractically distant from Washington County, was gradually sold off for funds.[5] After a difficult search for a headmaster, in which the trustees consulted Benjamin Franklin, the trustees unanimously selected Thaddeus Dod, considered to be best scholar in western Pennsylvania. Instruction began on April 1, 1789 in the upper room of the log courthouse in Washington.[5]

In 1790, a courthouse fire left the Academy without a home. Amid financial difficulties and unrest from the Whisky Rebellion, the Academy held no classes from 1791 to 1796.[5] The trustees continued to meet and named David Redick to succeed Dod as headmaster. In 1792, the Academy secured four lots at Wheeling and Lincoln street from William Hoge.[5] A building was constructed there, with the foundation and walls completed in 1793. The building survives to this day, in a slightly different location, as McMillan Hall, the 8th oldest academic building in continious use in the nation.[5]

Early trustees found themselves on opposite sides of the Rebellion, with Reverend McMillan and James Ross supporting the Federal cause; David Bradford, the leader of the rebellion, was joined by Judge Allison, Judge McDowell, and James Marshall.[5] Of the seventeen members of Bradford's militia captured by federal troops and marched to Philadelphia for trial, Reverend John Corbley was an original Washington Academy trustee and Colonel John Hamilton served as a Jefferson trustee for 29 years.[5] Portions of Bradford's militia camped on a hillside that would later become home to the unified Washington & Jefferson College.[5]

The Academy reopened in late spring 1796 and received a donation of $3,000 complete from the General Assembly to teach 10 indigent students for 2 years.[5] Shortly thereafter, Matthew Brown and David Elliott arrived, giving the Academy a new vibrancy that had been missing.[5]

Canonsburg Academy

In October 1791, Reverend Joseph Smith became Chair of the Virginia Synod amid a push to develop a school to train Presbyterian ministers for the west.[7] Several locations were considered, including Washington, Canonsburg, and the McMillan's log cabin.[5] In October 1792, after a year's delay from its official incorporation resulting from "trouble with Indians," McMillan was chosen as the headmaster and Canonsburg was chosen as the location for the "Canonsburg Academy."[7] At McMillan and Matthew Henderson's request, Col. Canon donated land near town center for the academy and financed the building of a 2 story stone school house.[7] Other operating funds were raised by the circulation of subscription lists to local residents, especially among McMillan's congregants.[7] At an unknown date, McMillan and Ross transferred their students from the log cabin to Canonsburg Academy.[7] Canonsburg Academy was chartered by the General Assembly on March 11, 1794, thus placing it firmly ahead of it sister school, Washington Academy, which was without a faculty, students, or facilities.[7]

In 1796, Canonsburg trustees began petitioning the General Assembly to consider chartering the Academy as the first college beyond the Alleghenies.[7] Another petition followed in 1798, asking for funds from the General Assembly.[7] While the academy was founded under the auspices of the Presbyterian church to train frontier ministers, the advertisements and petitions to the state emphasised its liberal arts offerings over its theological training.[7] Another petition to the General Assembly in October 1798 focused on the low tuition and the fact that facilities were already constructed.[7] In 1800, the General Assembly appropriated $1,000 to the Academy.[7] On January 15, 1802, with McMillan as president of the board, the General Assembly finally granted a charter for "a college at Canonsburgh."[7]


Shield of the Unified Colleges

In 1865, decreased enrollment due to the Civil War forced Washington College and Jefferson College to combine to form Washington & Jefferson College. The new, combined college traces its roots back to the original Washington College charter, hence the founding date of 1781. The college campus is 51 acres (210,000 m2) large and its architecture is mostly colonial[8] in a small city which serves as the county seat.

Perhaps the college's highest national sports honor is that the football team, coached by Earle "Greasy" Neale, played the University of California in the 1922 Rose Bowl, which ended as a 0-0 tie.[9] The team played just 11 players for the entire game and started Charles "Pruner" West at quarterback, an African American, who would become a noted physician. The school played major college football from 1900 to 1935 and is the smallest college to have played in the Rose Bowl. The football team has become a "powerhouse" in Division III since the early 1980s and is a perennial playoff team.

Founded as men's college, it became a coeducational institution in September 1970.[10] In 1990, the film based on the Stephen King novel The Dark Half was filmed in part on W&J's campus.[11] The primary locations used in the film were the Chapel in Old Main and the large office next to it, currently used by the chair of the Washington and Jefferson Religion Department. The football coach John Heisman, for whom the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is named, coached at Washington and Jefferson College.[12] Washington and Jefferson's "Old Main" is the home of the plaster model used to sculpt the head of Jefferson for the Jefferson Memorial.[13]

The Howard J. Burnett Center

Beginning in the late 1990s, W&J embarked upon a massive building campaign. First, the campus' Rossin Campus Center was completely renovated, complete with a new "ski lodge" and coffee shop.[14] For student housing, two new apartment-style residence halls were added by the fall of 2004, and more than half a dozen "special interest," colonial-style, duplexes and triplexes were completed by the fall of 2005.[15]

Technology Center

The two newest academic buildings are the Howard J. Burnett Center and the Technology Center (formerly known as the "Vilar Technology Center").[15][16][17] These buildings were opened in 2002 and 2004, respectively, and added multiple advanced "smart classrooms", computer labs, and seminar rooms. However, funding issues have prevented completion of the Technology Center's interior; only rooms on the ground, first and second floors are finished, and the design's ornate two-level marble and glass foyer was totally scrapped in favor of a more institutional first-floor entry. A timetable for completion has not been set.

The college also added a modern radio studio in the lower-level of the Commons building (colloquially referred by the students as the "Ski Lodge") (2000) and a broadcast tower atop the Washington Trust Building (2003), fed by microwave link from the studio, to expand and improve the station's signal and audience WNJR student radio station.[18] The station once was licensed under the call letters WXJX and WJCR, and the student-run FM station first signed on in 1971.

The focus on student life improvement continued with the re-opening of the "Hub" student center in the fall of 2006. The building was originally opened in the 1960s as a student center but later used as a home for information technology offices. The renovated Hub includes lounge areas, a game room, and continues the traditional Monticello's student-run coffee house on weekends.

W&J's statue of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

On May 18, 2007 the college unveiled a new statue commemorating the institution's namesakes, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. It is approximately 10 feet (3.0 m) tall and cast in bronze, located at the corner of Lincoln St. and Beau St. Also unveiled was a statue of a coal miner reading a book in front of the Technology Center.

In the summer of 2008, the College demolished the historic McIlvaine Hall, built in the 1897 as the home for the Washington Female Seminary, and purchased by W&J College in 1940. It housed the biology department until Dieter-Porter Hall opened across the South Campus lawn in 1983, and later held classes and offices for business, economics, English, philosophy, environmental studies, and Freshman Forum. The site was selected by college administrators for a new science building and their selection was based on a pledge of $10 million from corporate executive John Swanson.


W&J follows a different academic schedule than most institutions. The Fall and Spring semesters are somewhat abbreviated in order to accommodate a one-month intersession semester during January. This schedule is referred to as "4-1-4" to indicate that students take four courses in the fall semester, one course of intense study during Intercession, and four courses in the spring semester. The intersession term was developed to enable students to pursue different opportunities, such as internships, study abroad, or general electives. During intersession, professors offer specialized elective classes, such as "Professional Selling," "Politics of the Developing World," "Basic Robotics," "Ballroom Dancing," "The Dialogs of Plato," "Literature of J.R.R. Tolkien," or "Vampires & Other Bloodsuckers." [6]Professors regularly offer intersession trips to London, China, and Zuni.[7]

Areas of study

Majors: Accounting, Art, Art Education, Biochemistry, Biological Physics, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Child Development and Education, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, French, German, History, Industrial Chemistry and Management, Information Technology Leadership, International Business, International Studies, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre, Thematic Major.

Minors: Accounting, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication, Economics, English, Entrepreneurial Studies, Environmental Studies, French, Gender and Women's Studies, German, History, Information and Technology Leadership, Mathematics, Music, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre.

Concentrations: Graphic Design, Professional Writing, Neuroscience, Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, Rhetoric

Pre-Professional and Special Programs: Teacher Certification; Engineering; Entrepreneurial Studies; Mind, Brain, and Behavior; Pre-Health Professions; Pre-Law.

Electives: Chinese, Earth and Space Science, Japanese, Physical Education, Russian, Science.

Student life

Student government

The Washington and Jefferson College's student body invest its governmental powers in the Student Government Association of Washington and Jefferson College. The Student Government has four officers: a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, who make up the Executive Board, which serves the executive functions of the Student Government. The Student Government also has a general assembly, which is the legislative branch and is made up of representatives based on class (a total of 10 representatives per class, i.e. 10 representatives for the freshmen class, 10 for the sophomore class, etc.) and representatives from the various student-run, college-recognize clubs on campus.


Bill Clinton at a "Solutions for America" rally at Washington & Jefferson College on March 11, 2008[19]

W&J College has a strong history of political participation, with some of its graduates going on to hold public office. Some notable politicians and other governmental office holders include James G. Blaine (Member of Congress, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, a United States Senator from the state of Maine, and served as the United States Secretary of State twice. He was also the Republican Party's nominee in the 1884 presidential election, losing to Grover Cleveland), Matthew Quay (an United States Senator from the state of Pennsylvania (1887–1899;1901–1904), as well as serving as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee), Luke Ravenstahl (current Mayor of Pittsburgh), and Tom Rooney (current Member of Congress from the state of Florida. The College is known from its political activism, and has chapters of College Democrats and College Republicans. Current students currently serve as members of the Bentworth School Board and Canonsburg Council.[20]

Vice President Dick Cheney visited W&J during the 2004 presidential election.[19] Former President Bill Clinton held a rally on behalf of his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign. Former President Clinton returned to the Washington and Jefferson Campus to campaign with Governor Ed Rendell and Representative John Murtha on behalf of Barack Obama at Henry Memorial Gymnasium on October 29, 2008.

An important event in the 1968 Presidential race occurred on campus. Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Edmund Muskie was being heckled by students during a speech, a rare occurrence at the traditionally conservative school. Muskie invited students to select a leader and send him forward. Muskie agreed to listen to the student leader for ten minutes if the students would listen to him for ten minutes. Student leader Rick Brody was selected. In an emotional rant, Brody encouraged students to drop out of the 1968 campaign. Muskie encouraged them to get involved. His reasoned approach won great support and helped propel him to greater prominence although the Hubert Humphrey-Muskie ticket lost to Richard Nixon-Spiro Agnew.


Cameron Stadium

W&J competes in 23 intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA Division III level. As of the 2008-09 academic year, the Presidents have won more than 30 PAC championships, 35 students were selected as conference MVPs, 250 W&J athletes were awarded First Team All-Conference recognition, 27 received All-American honors, and 17 achieved Academic All-American status.[21]

The football team has been very successful, winning 18 out of the last 21 PAC Championships and advancing to the NCAA Division III playoffs 17 times. W&J played to a 0-0 tie in the 1922 Rose Bowl against the California Golden Bears. The men's ice hockey team won the 2008 College Hockey Mid America Conference championship, a Division I regional league of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.[22] W&J also fields teams in field hockey, wrestling, baseball, softball, volleyball, as well as men's and women's cross country running, soccer, tennis, water polo, basketball, swimming and diving, golf, lacrosse, and track & field.

An early athletic event in the 1890s, was the annual "Cane Rush," a contest between the freshman and sophomores to gain control over a cane, hidden somewhere on campus.[23] Another athletic event was the annual "Olympic Games," which later became "Field Days," a campus-wide athletic festival run entirely by students.[23]


W&J has over 60 student clubs on campus, including the Bottega Art Club, Franklin Literary Society, and clubs for most academic disciplines.[8]


W&J's annual spring concert, funded by the Student Government from student activities fees, has featured New Found Glory, O.A.R, Hawthorne Heights, Pittsburgh favorite The Clarks, and The Roots. The 2006 Fall concert featured Talib Kweli. The 2008 Spring concert featured Third Eye Blind. The 1999 MTV Campus Invasion Tour came to W&J, with outdoor events throughout the spring weekend, and a concert featuring the bands Orgy and Sugar Ray. In the 1990s, WXJX radio hosted the "Jam Session" which brought the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Clarks, as well as the Pittsburgh group Grapevine, to perform during the college's (now-defunct) Carnival Weekend.

Greek life

W&J also has a Greek community consisting of six national fraternities, four national sororities, and the Greek honorary society Order of Omega. Approximately 44% of W&J's campus is active in the Greek communities. Phi Gamma Delta and Phi Kappa Psi were both founded at Jefferson College prior to its merger with Washington College. The Gamma Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, formed in 1842 at Jefferson College, is the oldest Beta chapter in continuous existence having never ceased existence since its founding. It is also the oldest continuously active chapter of any Greek Fraternity in the United States. The Gamma Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, formed in 1861, is the oldest Delt chapter in continuous existence. W&J was granted a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in 1937.[24]

Student media

W&J's student media includes the 1500-watt WNJR (FM) radio station, the Pandora Yearbook and The Red & Black student newspaper.[25]

Notable alumni

Prior to the union of the two colleges in 1865, Washington College graduated 872 men and Jefferson College graduated 1936 men.[26][27] As of 2009, W&J College had 12,000 living alumni.[28]

Among these graduates are James G. Blaine, who served in Congress as Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator from Maine, two-time United States Secretary of State and the Republican nominee for the 1884 presidential election. Other graduates have held high federal positions, including United States Attorney General Henry Stanberry and United States Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin Bristow. Other graduates have gone on to success in professional athletics, including Buddy Jeannette, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Pete Henry, a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Roger Goodell has served as the Commissioner of the NFL since 2006. Successful graduates in the business realm include Richard Clark, President and CEO of Merck, and John S. Reed, the former chairman of Citigroup and the New York Stock Exchange.


  1. ^ http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college/items/3389
  2. ^ http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Washington+%26+Jefferson&s=all&id=216667
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Coleman, Helen Turnbull Waite (1956). Banners in the Wilderness: The Early Years of Washington and Jefferson College. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 4–7. OCLC 2191890. http://digital.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=pittpress;cc=pittpress;q1=Philosophy;rgn=works;rgn1=topic;view=image;seq=0001;idno=31735057893178;didno=31735057893178.  
  4. ^ a b Wickersham, James (1886). A History of Education in Pennsylvania, Private and Public, Elementary and Higher. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Inquirer Publishing Company. pp. 400–401. http://books.google.com/books?id=B6sAAAAAYAAJ.  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Coleman, Helen Turnbull Waite (1956). Banners in the Wilderness: The Early Years of Washington and Jefferson College. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 21–44. OCLC 2191890. http://digital.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=pittpress;cc=pittpress;q1=Philosophy;rgn=full%20text;rgn1=topic;idno=31735057893178;didno=31735057893178;view=image;seq=0047;node=31735057893178%3A9.  
  6. ^ charter
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Coleman, Helen Turnbull Waite (1956). Banners in the Wilderness: The Early Years of Washington and Jefferson College. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 45–58. OCLC 2191890. http://digital.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=pittpress;cc=pittpress;q1=Philosophy;rgn=full%20text;rgn1=topic;idno=31735057893178;didno=31735057893178;node=31735057893178%3A10;view=image;seq=0073.  
  8. ^ http://washjeff.cdmhost.com/cdm4/washjeff.php
  9. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=2852&menu_id=629&crumb=138&id=2858
  10. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=372&menu_id=133&crumb=137&id=54
  11. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=2210&menu_id=517&crumb=518&id=399&page_title=2004%20Press%20Releases
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Rossin Campus Center
  15. ^ a b http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=1361&menu_id=384&crumb=627&id=103#
  16. ^ http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05156/516074.stm
  17. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=884&menu_id=622&crumb=343&id=2709
  18. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/content.aspx?section=3251&menu_id=644&crumb=645&id=275
  19. ^ a b W&J: Current Press Releases
  20. ^ W&J: Current Press Releases
  21. ^ http://www.washjeff.edu/athletics.aspx
  22. ^ Adamski, Chris (2008-03-02). "Washington Sunday: W&J gets revenge, wins league championship". Pittsburgh Post Gazette (PG Publishing Co., Inc.). http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08062/861188-134.stm.  
  23. ^ a b E. Lee, North (1991). "Chapter 2: A New College Football Team". Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 23. ISBN 9781878302038. OCLC 24174022.  
  24. ^ [3]
  25. ^ W&J: Student Media
  26. ^ "Washington College 1806-1865". U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives. Washington & Jefferson College. Archived from the original on 2009-05-01. http://www.webcitation.org/5gTMGGDqK.  
  27. ^ "Jefferson College 1802-1865". U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives. Washington & Jefferson College. Archived from the original on 2009-05-01. http://www.webcitation.org/5gTM5E5PT.  
  28. ^ "W&J: College Facts". W&J College. Archived from the original on 2009-05-02. http://www.webcitation.org/5gTNXihz4.  


External links

Coordinates: 40°10′17″N 80°14′21″W / 40.1714°N 80.2393°W / 40.1714; -80.2393


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