Houghton College

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Houghton College
Former names
Houghton Seminary
Motto Founded on the Rock
Established 1883
Type Private
Affiliation Wesleyan Church
Endowment $30.5 million[1]
President Shirley A. Mullen
Students 932 [2]
Undergraduates 916
Postgraduates 16
Location Houghton, New York, United States
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Campus Rural
Colors Purple and Gold         
Nickname Highlanders
Website www.houghton.edu

Houghton College is a Christian liberal arts college in Houghton, in the Genesee Valley of southwestern New York State. It is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church.[3] The college is a member of both the Christian College Consortium and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


Houghton College began in 1883 as Houghton Seminary, a coeducational high school founded by Willard J. Houghton, a Wesleyan Methodist minister. In 1899, the first few college classes were offered. James S. Luckey was appointed president in 1908 and Houghton College received its provisional charter from New York in 1923.[3] A permanent charter was granted in 1927, and accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools came in 1935. Stephen Paine was appointed president in 1937. When the former Buffalo Bible Institute merged with Houghton College in 1969, the West Seneca campus was created.[4] Wilber Dayton was appointed president in 1972 and he was succeeded by Daniel R. Chamberlain in 1976. The college initiated its first master’s degree program in 2004 and currently offers nine such degrees. Shirley Mullen was appointed president in 2006 and has presided over renewal of the institution. Under the direction of Dr. Rick Melson, the college has set new records of giving to the institution the past two years in a row.[5] Houghton College has faced financial and enrollment challenges[6] similar to other small private liberal arts colleges.[7] One response to these challenges was strategic reallocation of resources[8] including new majors in 2014-2015 in Data Science,[9] Sports Management,[10] and Music Industry.[11]


Houghton College’s main campus is in the hamlet of Houghton, in Allegany County, New York, about 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Buffalo, New York and 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Rochester, New York. The 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) of campus sit on the Allegheny Plateau at roughly 1,300 feet (400 m), on the site of the former Caneadea Indian Reservation. A new Adult Education program offers a B.S. in Management at a variety of locations. Houghton College opened two locations in Niagara County for their Adult Education Program in 2013, in the city of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and in Lockport, N.Y.


Houghton College grants two-year and four-year degrees in 46 majors. The college also offers six graduate degrees through the Greatbatch School of Music.

First Year Honors

A distinctive First Year Honors Program is for qualified first-year students. There are three options: London Honors, East Meets West, and Science Honors. Previously the college offered a Contemporary Contexts program, but was replaced by London Honors in 2014. During London Honors, students spend their spring semester in London studying the development of the western world. East Meets West involves taking integrated classes during normal semester then traveling abroad during "May Term", exploring the roots of Western culture. Science Honors takes place during both first-year semesters at Houghton, involving research in recent real-world issues such as fuel-efficiency, climate change, and energy sources. The theme for 2012-13 was Global Warming and ways in which to improve Houghton's efforts in environmentalism.[12] As part of this commitment, the school has built one of the largest solar arrays in the state of New York, with a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 17, 2015.[13]

Student life

There are four traditional residence halls and four townhouses residences. Two of the traditional residence halls, Gillette Hall and Lambein Hall, are female residences. Rothenbuhler Hall and Shenawana Hall are male residences. Junior and senior students have the option to live in the townhouses. Houghton College is a distinctly residential campus but does allow for upper class students the opportunity to apply to live in approved off-campus housing, called Community Living Opportunities (CLOs).[14] Many organizations and clubs are available for students to join or found their own.


Houghton Highlanders
University Houghton College
Conference Empire 8
NCAA Division III
Athletic director H. Skip Lord
Location Houghton, NY
Varsity teams 18
Basketball arena Nielsen Physical Education Center
Nickname Highlanders
     Purple       Gold
Website athletics.houghton.edu

The Houghton Highlanders field 16 varsity teams. Women participate in soccer, basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, softball, tennis, volleyball, track, and cross country. Men participate in baseball, soccer, basketball, track, lacrosse, tennis and cross country.

Houghton is a provisional member of the NCAA Division III and member of the Empire 8 Conference.

May 2012 graduate Danielle Brenon was the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field national champion in the marathon.[15]

On December 1, 2011, the college announced plans to build the Kerr-Pegula Athletic Complex thanks to a $12 Million gift from 1991 graduate Kim Pegula.[16] The complex is named after Kim's father Ralph Kerr, an instructor in Houghton's Adult Education program, and her husband Terrence Pegula. The multi-sport turf field facility will be home to the Houghton Highlander baseball, softball, field hockey, indoor track, and lacrosse teams. It is expected to include lighted, regulation-size fields that can also be used to enhance the intramural program. The hope is that the multipurpose field house will provide dedicated practice space for outdoor sports over the winter and during inclement weather and also serve as a hub of involvement for the campus and the surrounding communities of Northern Allegany County and Western New York.

The college also offers club and intramural sports for men and women, including flag football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer. Co-ed club and intramural sports are handball, water polo, and volleyball. Co-ed frisbee is also a popular sport.

Notable alumni


  1. As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 17, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://www.houghtonstar.com/2014/11/24/numbers-down-in-student-clubs/
  3. 3.0 3.1 History of Houghton. Houghton.edu. Retrieved on 2013-06-11.
  4. Houghton Star, October 2005 Archived September 4, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. http://www.houghton.edu/news-media/recent-news/houghton-college-sets-record-giving-second-year-running/284/
  6. http://www.houghtonstar.com/2013/11/09/college-announces-significant-academic-budget-cuts-for-2014-2015/
  7. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/12/09/private-colleges-remain-under-weather
  8. http://www.houghton.edu/news-media/recent-news/houghton-announces-strategic-realignment-of-academic-programs/335/
  9. http://www.houghtonstar.com/2015/01/30/houghton-first-in-nation/
  10. http://www.houghton.edu/news-media/recent-news/houghton-gets-approval-to-offer-bs-in-sport-recreation-and-wellness-management/586/
  11. http://www.houghtonstar.com/2014/12/08/new-music-industry-major/
  12. Houghton College: Prospective Students Website – Academics – Honors Program. Explore.houghton.edu. Retrieved on 2012-01-11.
  13. http://www.houghton.edu/calendar-events/solar-array-ribbon-cutting-tour/2426/
  14. http://www.houghton.edu/students/residence-life/college-residences/
  15. Brenon '12 is Running the Distance | Houghton College
  16. News Archive | Houghton College
  17. The Bruce Medalists, Ira S. Bowen, 1957

External links