Elizabethtown College

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Elizabethtown College
Motto Educate for Service
Established 1899
Type Private, 4-year, Comprehensive
Affiliation Church of the Brethren[1]
Endowment US$48.22 million (FY 2010)[1]
President Carl Strikwerda
Provost Dr. Susan Traverso
Academic staff
123 full-time
Undergraduates 2,082 [2]
Postgraduates 42
Location Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, USA
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Campus Residential Area
200 acres (0.81 km2) including Lake Placida
Student Groups 80+
Colors Royal Blue & Gray          
Sports 22
Mascot Blue Jays
Website Elizabethtown College
One Alpha Drive
Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Elizabethtown College is a small liberal arts college located in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, United States in Lancaster County. The school was founded in 1899 by members of the Church of the Brethren. It is commonly referred to as "E-town," and has an undergraduate student body population of approximately 1,900.


Founding and early years

Founded in 1899, Elizabethtown College is one of many higher learning institutions founded in the 19th century by churches or church members interested in the educational advancement of their denominational membership. The College was founded by interested members of the Church of the Brethren in response to an initiative by the Reverend Jacob G. Francis. Francis advocated for Elizabethtown because of the proximity to the railways (which holds true to this day as an Amtrak station is currently there). First classes for the new college were held on Nov. 13, 1900, in the Heisey Building in downtown Elizabethtown. During its first two decades, the College operated as an academy, offering a limited curriculum centering on four-year teaching degrees and high school type classes.


In 1921, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Instruction accredited the College, and authorized its first baccalaureate degrees in arts and sciences. Later, in 1928, the College was approved by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for pre-law education. In 1948, Elizabethtown College became accredited by the Middle States Association and in 1949 by the American Council of Education.[2] Throughout this period, the college grew considerably as it built Fairview Hall, Gibble Science Building, the Alumni Auditorium and Zug Memorial Library.

Presidents of the College

The College's presidents were referred to as principals prior to 1902.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees

  • Jesse C. Ziegler, 1900–1918
  • Samuel H. Hertzler, 1918–1936
  • Henry Kulp Ober, 1936–1939
  • Rufus P. Bucher, 1939–1954
  • Joseph W. Kettering, 1954–1968
  • Aaron G. Breidenstine, 1960–1974
  • Clifford B. Huffman, 1975–1981
  • V. Lester Schreiber, 1982–1991
  • Wayne A. Nicarry, 1991–1996
  • Daniel H. Raffensperger, 1997–1999
  • Kenneth L. Bowers, 2000–2002
  • David Hosler, 2002–2011
  • James Shreiner, 2011–present

Alma mater

The Elizabethtown College alma mater was written by Jennie Via in 1921.

We hail thee Alma Mater dear,
As now we sing thy praise.
O let thy walls and storied halls
Resound with endless lays.

We love thy sons so noble.
Thy daughters fair and true;
We love thee ever, oh E. C.,
And thy colors Gray and Blue.

The strong and fair alike do share
The labours of thy hand.
Together they proclaim always
Thy glory through the land. (Refrain)

As long as breezes 'round thee blow,
And countless ages roll,
May Heaven's blessings on thee rest
While we thy name extol. (Refrain)


Academic buildings

  • James B. Hoover Center for Business opened in August 2006 and is named for 1975 Elizabethtown College graduate James B. Hoover. The Hoover Center houses the College's business program, the Edward R. Murphy Center and the S. Dale High Center for Family Business.
  • Masters Center for Science, Math, and Engineering opened in October 2007 and is named for its benefactor, Frank M. Masters, Jr. The Masters Center encompasses Esbenshade and Musser halls (see below) and Lyet wing. It houses the College's science, mathematics, and engineering programs.
  • Esbenshade Hall opened in 1967. Esbenshade houses science facilities as well as Gibble Auditorium, which holds both classes and campus events.
  • Musser Hall opened in 1983 and houses the College's chemistry program.
  • Nicarry Hall opened in 1972 and is named for Wayne Nicarry. It houses classrooms and faculty offices for the humanities.
  • Steinman Center opened in 1928. Originally the Gibble Science Hall, the Steinman Center, named for the Steinman Foundation of Lancaster, Pa., was renovated in 1985 to house communications and arts programs.
  • Wenger Center opened in 1921. Originally a residential facility named the Fairview Apartments, Wenger houses some of the College's humanities programs.
  • Zug Hall opened in 1950. Originally Zug Memorial Library, it now houses the College's fine and performing arts programs, Hess art gallery and administrative offices.

Administrative/non-academic buildings

Alpha Hall at Elizabethtown College (2005)
  • Alpha Hall opened in 1901 and was the first building erected on the College's campus. Alpha is the College's administrative center, housing the offices of the president, provost, dean of the faculty, vice president of administration, vice president of finance, vice president of institutional advancement, human resources, college relations and the development office.
  • Brossman Commons opened in 2002. Brossman is a combination of the Annenberg Center and Baugher Student Center opened in 1992 and 1962, respectively. A new structure was built between these two buildings, while they were refurbished. The center houses a bookstore, post office, black box theater, dining hall, convenience store, performance spaces, student support offices and the Bird Cage—a game room.
  • High Library opened in 1990. The Library is 54,230 square feet and has the capability to house 250,000 volumes.
  • Leffler Chapel and Performance Center opened in 1995. A gift from Carlos R. and Georgiana F. Leffler, the Chapel is home to the 844-seat Musser Auditorium, the Lyet Gallery and the McCormick Gallery exhibition space.
  • Leffler House opened in 1956 and currently houses the admissions office.
  • Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies is named for Galen S. Young D.O. and Jessie M. Young, and opened in 1989. The Center includes the Bucher Meetinghouse, a small book shop, offices, a research room and classroom.

Athletic facilities

  • Alumni Courts are six hard-true tennis courts [3] used by the men's and women's tennis teams.
  • Alumni Pool is home to the men's and women's swim teams.
  • Ira R. Herr Field was opened in 1970 and is the home field for men's and women's soccer. It is named for Ira R. Herr, who virtually touched every part of the College's athletics program. The Field has been the site of four NCAA Division III Final Fours and ten other NCAA tournaments. [4]
  • Kevin Scott Boyd Memorial Stadium is the home field for baseball and named in honor of Kevin Scott Boyd who played for the Blue Jays from 1996 to 1998.
  • The Nest is home field for the softball team.
  • Thompson Gymnasium opened in 1970 and is home to the women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, and wrestling teams.
Ira R. Field at Elizabethtown College (2005)
  • Wolf Field opened in 2002 and is the home field for field hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse.

Residential living buildings

  • Brinser Residence Hall opened in 1965 and is named for David E. & Sadie M. Brinser
  • Founders Residence Hall opened in 1971 and is dedicated to four founders: Samuel H. Hertzler, G.N. Falkenstein, I.N.H. Beahm, and Jesse C. Ziegler.
  • Hackman Apartments consists of two different buildings: Hackman North and Hackman South which opened in 2000 and 2002, respectively. The Apartments are named for Vera H. Hackman, a 1925 graduate of Elizabethtown College who later served as Dean of Women at the College.
  • Myer Residence Hall opened in 1957 and is named for Elizabeth Myer. The building is linked to the College's Print Services and Susquehanna Room where receptions and events are held.
  • Ober Residence Hall opened in 1960 and is named for H. K. Ober.
  • Royer Residence Hall opened in 1962 and is named for B. Mary Royer.
  • Schlosser Residence Hall opened in 1965 and is named for R. W. Schlosser.
  • Schreiber Quadrangle opened in 1992 and is named for V. Lester Schreiber.

Other Living Opportunities

  • Living Learning Communities (LLC) are located within the residential living buildings. Students either in a common related course or committed to a specific theme live together on the same floor for the academic year.
  • Student-Directed Living Communities (SDLC) are housing opportunities within the College-owned homes along the perimeter of the campus. They offer small groups of upper class students the opportunity to create a unique, self-directed living environment, centered on a common theme, issue, or interest through which the group is expected to share and enrich the campus community.

Former campus buildings

  • Business Education Building
  • Center Hall
  • North and South Halls
  • Rider Memorial Hall
  • Preservation Hall


The College maintains 19 academic departments, offering 53 majors and 90+ minors and concentrations, with a core curriculum emphasizing the arts, humanities and sciences. Through this curriculum, it develops interpersonal communication, writing, creative thinking and problem-solving skills, which lead to degrees in liberal arts, fine and performing arts, science and engineering, business, health and social services, and education.

Academic majors

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial Science
  • Art
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Communications
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Economics
  • Elementary/Middle Level Education
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Environmental Science
  • French
  • German
  • Health and Occupation
  • History
  • Industrial Engineering Management
  • Information Systems
  • International Business
  • Japanese
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Music Education
  • Music Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy and Legal Studies
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Work
  • Sociology-Anthropology
  • Spanish
  • Special Education
  • Theatre

Academic minors

  • Anthropology
  • Art: History
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • French
  • German
  • History
  • Information Systems
  • Japanese
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Professional Writing
  • Psychology: General
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Studio Art
  • Technical Design
  • Theatre
  • Women and Gender Studies

Interdisciplinary programs

  • Biology/Allied Health
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Forestry and Environmental Management
  • Cardiovascular Invasive Specialty
  • Political Philosophy/Legal Studies
  • Pre-Law Program
  • Premedical and Other Health Professions
  • Primary Care Pre-Admissions
  • Premedical Primary Care
  • Citizenship Education Certification
  • General Science Certification
  • Social Sciences Certification

Interdisciplinary minors

  • Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
  • Architectural Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Cognitive Science
  • Creative Writing
  • Film Studies
  • General Science
  • Graphic Design
  • Human Services
  • International Studies
  • Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Women and Gender Studies

Continuing education

Over 50 years, the College’s adult program evolved into what is known today as the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS). The School offers accelerated, undergraduate degree programs in Accounting, Business Administration, Corporate Communication, Criminal Justice, Information Systems, Human Services and Human Services—Behavioral and Addictions Counseling.

The School’s main office is located in the Edward R. Murphy Center in the James B. Hoover Center for Business on the College’s main campus. SCPS offers programs at multiple Central Pennsylvania locations including: Elizabethtown, Harrisburg, Lancaster and York. Additionally, it offers online programs. The mission for the program is:

The Edward R. Murphy Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning at Elizabethtown College seeks to extend the boundaries of the college's learning community to include a wider and more diverse population. The Center expresses the values of the college's mission through a commitment to and advocacy of degree and non-degree academic programs for adult learners. In particular, the Center embraces the values of human dignity and social justice by widening access to quality higher education for adults. In its programs and outreach, the Center fosters a learner-centered academic culture that expresses the college's belief that learning is life-long and most noble when used to benefit others. [5]


In 1951, the College partnered with Lebanon Valley College to provide afternoon and evening classes to adults at the Harrisburg Area College Center. Temple, Penn State and University of Pennsylvania joined the program in 1966 renaming the Center to University Center at Harrisburg. Later, in 1972, the School was known as the Center for Community Education and established itself as a separate unit of the College. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the School incorporated new academic programs. In 2001, the Center was renamed the Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning (CCEDL) and began offering the accelerated course format. Partnering with Franklin and Marshall College, the School offered classes in downtown Lancaster, and in 2004, began to include weekend-intensive courses. Then, in 2009, the York Center opened and in 2010 the School offered complete online programs, providing more accessibility to adult learners. In 2011, the School received an Excellence in Innovation Award, and furthered its offerings by establishing a MBA program in 2012. In 2013, the School was renamed Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Honors program

Established in 1999, the Elizabethtown College Honors Program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council. The Honors Program was founded with an endowment gift from The Hershey Company and is supported in part through this endowment.

The Honors Program’s mission is to provide enhanced learning opportunities for students who have excellent academic records, superior academic abilities, intellectual promise, and demonstrated initiative. The Honors Program promotes high standards of scholarship, leadership, and service among those students selected for the program.

The program has continued to grow and maintains an enrollment of approximately 10 percent of the student body. In the spring of 2005, the Hershey Foods Company changed its name and subsequently, the program was renamed to the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by The Hershey Company.[3]

Student life

The Office of Student Activities (OSA) serves as a co-curricular educator and facilitator in creating environments that call for participation and involvement in the campus community. Through the programming of student traditions, such as T.G.I.S. and Student Involvement Fairs, students are engaged in social experiences. Additionally, the Office of Student Activities serves as the primary resource to student groups on campus striving to enhance their individual contributions to the college community through publicity and organizational support. It also oversees The Body Shop, the on-campus fitness center.[4]

Students often go to Hershey Park and other attractions in Hershey, Lancaster or Harrisburg.

Elizabethtown offers student-run media that include a newspaperThe Etownian; a literary magazine—Fine Print; a television station—ECTV; a radio stationWWEC 88.3 FM; and a yearbook—the Conestogan.

Etownian website logo (2012)

The Etownian has been featured as a top-tier student newspaper for small schools, earning First Place with Special Merit recognition from the American Scholastic Press Association in 2010. It is entirely written and edited by students and is distributed weekly on Thursdays, throughout the academic year.

Elizabethtown is affiliated with the Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA) program which allows students to study abroad for an academic semester. In addition to BCA, the college offers multiple internship and study abroad opportunities through other affiliates.

The students of Elizabethtown College can voice concerns through the Elizabethtown College Student Senate. The Student Senate is composed of an Executive Cabinet including: president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, judicial chair, marketing chair and elections chair. It also has four officers and eight representatives per class. The Dean of Student Life acts as advisor to the organization and general elections are held each year.


Elizabethtown College is a member of NCAA Division III, and the Landmark Conference. Although Elizabethtown College was founded in 1899, it was not until 1928 that the first officially sanctioned intercollegiate athletic contest was held. [6] In April 2013, the College accepted the invitation to join the Landmark Conference effective July 1, 2014.

Men's teams

  • Baseball started in 1930*
  • Basketball started in 1928.
  • Cross country started in 1956.
  • Golf started play in 1965. No seasons were held from 1978-1988, but it was reinstated in 1988.
  • Lacrosse started in 2002.
  • Soccer started play in 1938.
    • NAIA National Co-champion: 1960 [8]
    • NAIA National Runner-Up: 1959 [9]
    • NCAA Division III National Champion: 1989 [10]
  • Swimming started in 1964.
  • Tennis started play in 1948.
  • Track and field was established in 1929, but disappeared quickly. Later, in 1975, track and field was reestablished.
  • Wrestling started in 1954.
    • Hosted the 2015 NCAA Championship

* - (All years given are when the teams became varsity sports)

Women's teams

  • Basketball started play in 1928.
    • NCAA Division III National Runner-Up: 1982-83, 1983-84 [11]
    • NCAA Division III National Champion: 1981-82, 1988-89 [12]
    • First Division III women's basketball team to 1,000 wins[5]
  • Cross country started in 1956.
  • Field hockey started play in 1952.
  • Lacrosse started play in 2002.
  • Soccer started play in 1988.
    • Hosted the 1997 NCAA Championship
  • Softball started play in 1979.
  • Swimming started in 1964.
  • Tennis started play in 1961.
  • Track and field was established in 1929, but disappeared quickly. It was reestablished in 1975, but the women's team ended because of a lack of participation in 1981. The team was brought back in 1998, but the College did not begin competing again until 2000.
  • Volleyball started play in 1978/

* - (All years given are when the teams became varsity sports)

Former sports teams

  • Football was played for one season in 1928. It was not sanctioned by the College, but did play a full intercollegiate schedule.

Individual national champions

  • Kevin Clark - Indoor Track - NCAA Division III - Pole Vault - 2007 [13]
  • Beckie Donecker - Tennis - NCAA Division III - Singles - 1982 [14] and AIAW Doubles Champion - 1981 [15]
  • Jen Haifley - Tennis - AIAW - Doubles - 1981
  • Eric Mast - Wrestling - NCAA Division III - 118 pound weight - 1973-1974 and 1976-1977 [16]

Service to Others

Elizabethtown's motto is "Educate for Service." Over 600 students, alumni, faculty and administrators participate annually in the Into the Streets service program every October in the Elizabethtown community.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


External links