Connecticut College

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Connecticut College
Motto Tanquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum
Motto in English
"Like a tree planted by rivers of water" (that bringeth forth its fruit in its season. – Psalm 1:3)
Established April 1911
Type Private
Endowment $278.0 million (2014)[1]
President Katherine Bergeron
Academic staff
179 full-time
Administrative staff
512 full-time
Undergraduates 1,915 (1,877 full-time)
Postgraduates 7 (4 full-time)
Location New London, Connecticut, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Colors Blue and White[2]
Athletics NCAA Division III
Sports 28 varsity teams,[3]
12 club teams
Nickname Camels
Mascot Camel
Affiliations NESCAC, CWPA

Connecticut College (Conn College or Conn) is a private liberal arts college located in New London, Connecticut. Founded in 1911, the mission of the college is to "educate students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society," and the College's fourth strategic plan (2004) also introduced a set of values statements indicating its commitments to Academic Excellence; Diversity, Equity, and Shared Governance; Education of the Entire Person; Adherence to Common Ethical and Moral Standards; Community Service and Global Citizenship; and Environmental Stewardship.[4] Connecticut College is a primarily residential, four-year undergraduate institution, with nearly all of its approximately 1,900 students living on campus.[5] Students choose courses from 41 majors including an interdisciplinary, self-designed major.[6]

Connecticut College was founded as "Connecticut College for Women", in response to Wesleyan University closing its doors to women in 1909; the college shortened its name to "Connecticut College" in 1969 when it began admitting men.

The College has been continuously accredited since 1932 by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.[7] It is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

Forbes ranked Connecticut College 84th in its 2014 overall list, 45th in the Northeast and 70th among private colleges.[8] U.S. News & World Report ranked the school 45th among the top liberal arts colleges in 2014.[9]

History and overview

Admissions Building on the Chapel Green
Harkness Chapel at sunset

Chartered in 1911, the founding of the college was a response to Wesleyan University's decision to stop admitting women.[10][11] Female Wesleyan alumnae, notably Elizabeth C. Wright, convinced others to found this new college, espousing the increasing desire among women for higher education.[12][13] To that end, the institution was founded – as the Connecticut College for Women. Financial assistance from the city of New London, its residents, and a number of wealthy benefactors gave the college its initial endowment. The land upon which the college sits was a dairy farm owned by Charles P. Alexander of Waterford; after he died in 1904 and his wife, Harriet (Jerome) Alexander died in 1911, their son Frank J. Alexander sold a large part of his parents' farmland to the trustees wishing to found Connecticut College.[14]

According to an October 12, 1935 article in the Hartford Daily Times, marking the College's 20th anniversary: "On September 27, 1915 the college opened its doors to students. The entering class was made up of 99 freshmen students, candidates for degrees, and 52 special students, a total registration of 151. A fine faculty of 23 members had been engaged and a library of 6,000 volumes had been gathered together. It was an auspicious start for this new undertaking."

In a typical year, the college enrolls about 1,900 men and women from 40-45 states, Washington D.C., and 70 countries. Approximately forty percent of students are men. The college is now particularly known for interdisciplinary studies, international programs and study abroad, funded internships, student-faculty research, service learning, and shared governance. Under the college's system of shared governance, faculty, staff, students, and administrators are represented on the major committees that make policy regarding the curriculum, the budget, and the campus and facilities. Students live under the college's 85-year-old student-adjudicated Honor Code and without a Greek system. The Honor Code, which distinguishes Connecticut College from most of its peers, underpins all academic and social interactions at the college and creates a palpable spirit of trust and cooperation between students and faculty. Other manifestations of the code include self-scheduled, unproctored final exams.[15]

According to The Princeton Review 2005 and Campus Compact, Connecticut College is one of the nation’s best colleges for fostering social responsibility and public service. As illustrated by a January 2011 ranking, Connecticut College is typically among the 25 top small colleges in terms of the number of graduates who serve in the Peace Corps.[16]

Connecticut College is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Annapolis Group, and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). A reciprocal exchange agreement with the United States Coast Guard, allows cadets from the nearby Coast Guard Academy to take some courses at the college, and Connecticut College students may take courses at the academy.

Facts and figures

  • Admission to the college is considered "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[9] The college received 5,397 applications for the Class of 2018 (the entering fall 2014 class). 36% of these applicants were accepted; their middle 50% range of SAT scores were 640-730 in Critical Reading and 640-720 in Math.[17]
  • In "America's Best Colleges 2014" published by U.S. News & World Report, Connecticut College was ranked 45th out of 251 national liberal arts colleges.[9] These figures represent a significant decline in the college's traditional ranking within the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the country in the 1990s and early 2000s.[18] In Washington Monthly 's 2013 rankings, Connecticut College ranked 97th out of 255 liberal arts colleges.[19]
  • The College had 179 full-time professors in Academic Year 2013-14; 92% hold a doctorate or equivalent. All classes are taught by professors. The student-faculty ratio is about 9 to 1.[20]
  • For the 2012-13 academic year, domestic students of color accounted for about 16.0% of all full-time and part-time students.[21]
Blaustein Humanities Center
New London Hall
Cummings Art Center
Blackstone House, on the Old Quad
Shain Library
Tourists in the Arboretum


The College offers more than a thousand courses in 29 academic departments and 7 interdisciplinary programs, and students can choose from 41 traditional majors plus opportunities for self-designed courses of study. The 10 most common majors over the last five years have been English, Economics, Psychology, Government, History, Biological Sciences, International Relations, Anthropology, Human Development, and Art.

  • Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology (CAT) – Through the Ammerman Center, faculty and students can shape the study, use and creation of new technologies, probe the forefront of their fields and work in new markets with innovative products.[22]
  • Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA) – The CISLA mission is to encourage students to become public intellectuals: those who are politically concerned, socially engaged, and culturally sensitive and informed. CISLA prepares them to internationalize their majors and become responsible citizens in a global community.[23]
  • Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy (PICA) – The Holleran Center orchestrates college and community resources to build on assets, respond to needs, and facilitate community revitalization and problem solving.[24]
  • Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment[25] is a program building on one of the nation's leading undergraduate environmental studies programs. The center fosters research, education, and curriculum development aimed at understanding contemporary ecological challenges.
  • Students can earn Connecticut teacher certification and certificates in the college's Museum Studies program.
  • Between 50 and 55% of the student body studies abroad at some point during their four years.[26] The College offers several ways for students to study abroad, including traditional study away programs, semester-long Study Away, Teach Away (SATA) programs, and shorter Traveling Research and Immersion Programs (TRIPs) that are typically related to specific courses.
  • The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Theater Institute confers course credit through Connecticut College. Students often intern and partake in semester study-away programs at the institute.
  • Many opportunities for conventional study abroad are available, as well as the special programs CISLA (one of the academic centers) offers students to "internationalize" their major, and SATA (Study Away Teach Away), in which a Connecticut College professor takes a small group of students for a semester to a country that the professor has experience with, and there the students take classes at a local university, and one with a Connecticut College professor.
  • Students' classroom learning at Connecticut College is supplemented by a wide variety of service learning courses and volunteer work in the New London area. Many of these opportunities are coordinated by the Office of Volunteers for Community Service.[27] OVCS facilitates student involvement in the community by running a van shuttle service, which transports students to and from sites in the area.
  • Connecticut College has a history of undergraduate research work and students are encouraged to make conference presentations and publish their work under the guidance of a professor.[28] Graduating seniors are regularly awarded prestigious fellowships and grants such as the U.S. Student Fulbright Program grant. Connecticut College has been recognized as a top producer of Fulbright awardees,[29] producing, in 2012, nine Fulbright Grant recipients.[30]

Campus and facilities

The main campus has three residential areas. The North Campus contains the newest residential halls: Morrison, Wright, Lambdin, Park, Johnson (formerly Marshall), and Hamilton. The South Campus contains residence halls along the west side of Tempel Green: Harkness, Jane Addams, Freeman, Knowlton, and Windham, across from several academic buildings. The Central Campus contains the oldest residence halls: Burdick, Smith, Larrabee, Plant, Branford, Blackstone, Katharine Blunt, and Lazarus, which is closest to the student center and the library. The oldest dorms on campus are Plant House and Blackstone House which were founded in 1914.[31][32]

The college's science facilities include the completely refurbished Science Center at New London Hall, a rooftop observatory, lab for NMR spectroscopy, a digital transmission electron microscope, a scanning electron microscope, a greenhouse, a channel flow laboratory, a GIS lab, and a 1 MeV Pelletron ion accelerator.[33]

There are three libraries on the campus. Shain Library houses a collection of more than 500,000 books and bound periodicals, along with an extensive collection of microforms, computer files, audio and video tapes. The library is home to the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room, a space used for studying, public lectures, and receptions. The Greer Music Library in Cummings Arts Center holds books and periodicals about music and musicians, printed music, and numerous recordings.[34]

Palmer Auditorium

Performance spaces on campus include Palmer Auditorium; Tansill Theater, housed in Hillyer Hall; Myers Dance Studio, housed in Crozier-Williams College Center; Harkness Chapel; and Evans Music Hall, Fortune Recital Hall, and Oliva Hall, housed in Cummings Art Center.[35] Palmer Auditorium was home to the American Dance Festival from 1947 to 1977, featuring choreographers such as Martha Graham, José Limon, and Merce Cunningham in what was called "the most important summertime event in modern dance."[36][37] It has also hosted guests including Hillary Clinton, Toni Morrison, and Lynn Redgrave.[38]

The Connecticut College Arboretum is a 750-acre (3 km²) arboretum and botanical garden. Students frequently go to the arboretum to walk, study, or otherwise enjoy nature.

Harkness Chapel is a fine example of noted architect James Gamble Rogers' colonial Georgian style, with twelve stained glass windows by G. Owen Bonawit. The building is used for denominational religious services, as well as for ceremonies, concerts and recitals, weddings, and other public functions.[39]

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is located on campus, although it is not connected to the campus proper. The museum's web site describes it as follows: "Housed in a handsome Neo-Classical building designed by Charles A. Platt, the permanent collection includes over 10,000 paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, furniture and decorative arts, with an emphasis on American art from the 18th through 20th centuries."[40]

Student life

  • The Honor Code is signed by all students upon matriculation, allowing students a voice in shared governance through the Student Government Association, and self-scheduled, unproctored exams. A student-run judicial board, now known as the Honor Council, adjudicates alleged infractions of the Honor Code.
  • The College has seven a cappella groups: three women's groups (the ConnChords, The Shwiffs and Miss Connduct), one men's group (the Co Co Beaux), and three coed groups (Conn Artists, Vox Cameli, and Williams Street Mix).
  • WCNI (90.9 FM), the college radio station, broadcasts a variety of music including polka, blues, and celtic music shows. A 2,000 watt transmitter installed in 2003 reaches much, but not all, of the lower New England region.
  • The College Voice, Connecticut College's only student newspaper, is an editorially independent print and online publication. Students bi-weekly, and handle all aspects of production: reporting, editing, ad sales, management, photography, layout, multimedia and design. They manage guides and blogs, such as the New London local area dining guide and has had a summer student intern blog The Summer Voice.


The College's teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Camels are a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Men's sports include basketball, cross country, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, squash, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and water polo; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, sailing, soccer, squash, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball and water polo.[41]

Tansill Theater
Harkness House
Plant and Branford Houses

Programs and offices

  • Career Enhancing Life Skills (CELS) is a four-year program through which students explore career options, assess interests and skills, learn to consider lifetime goals when planning coursework and activities, look for a career-related junior-year internship, and get help with a job search as seniors. In the summer after junior year, all students are allotted a grant from the college to complete an internship of their choice.
  • Unity House is the college's multicultural center. Unity House promotes, supports, educates, and implements multicultural awareness programs on campus. It also houses a library and group meeting room, open to all. It also hosts many intercultural organizations, including but not limited to Umoja (African Diaspora club), and CCASA (Connecticut College Asian/Asian American Student Association).
  • The LGBTQ Resource Center serves the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Ally students by providing a supportive space, resource library, social events, and educational programming. The Center also serves as a resource for the entire College Community to learn about issues related to sexuality and gender identity. It hosts the student organizations Spectrum (formally SOUL), Connecticut College Queer and Questioning (CQ^2), and the Campaign for Gender Identity Awareness (CGIA). In August 2013, Campus Pride named Connecticut College one of the top 25 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities.[42]
  • Office of Volunteers for Community Service (OVCS) helps students find volunteering opportunities in the community. Also provides a student-staffed van service to drive students to their community service.

Notable alumni

Connecticut College graduates of note include The Atlantic senior editor Joshua Green, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, New York Times best-selling authors Sloane Crosley and David Grann, Academy Award-winning actress Estelle Parsons, fashion designer Peter Som, National Baseball Hall of Fame director Jeff Idelson, and philanthropist Nan Kempner.

Campus media and publications

  • CC: Magazine
  • The College Voice (student-run newspaper)
  • Inside Information
  • Source (faculty/staff newsletter)
  • Koiné (yearbook)
  • Expose (interdisciplinary academic journal)
  • Underexposed (black-and-white photography magazine)
  • The Sound (literary and art magazine)
  • The Look (fashion magazine)
  • WCNI (College Radio Station)




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  3. "Connecticut College: Athletics".; accessed November 7, 2012.
  4. "Mission & Values" on the Connecticut College website
  5. "Residential Life" on the Connecticut College website
  6. "Majors and Minors" on the Connecticut College website
  7. "Connecticut College" on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges website
  8. "America's Top Colleges: Connecticut College". Forbes. July 30, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  16. /schools2011.pdf "Peace Corps Top Colleges 2011" on the Peace Corps website
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  21. "Connecticut College" on the College Navigator website of the National Center for Education Statistics
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  32. "Plant House" on the Connecticut College website
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  36. "American Dance Festival History"
  37. ""Eighth Sister No More": The Origins and Evolution of Connecticut College by Paul P. Marthers p. 163
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  42. "Back to Campus: Campus Pride’s 2013 Top 25 LGBT-friendly Colleges & Universities announced in partnership with the Huffington Post" on the Campus Pride website

External links