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Bucknell University is a private liberal arts university located along the West Branch Susquehanna River in the rolling countryside of Central Pennsylvaniamarker in the town of Lewisburgmarker, 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Williamsport and 60 miles (97 km) north of Harrisburgmarker. The university consists of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering.

Bucknell was founded in 1846, and features programs in engineering, management, education, and music, as well as nationally ranked programs and pre-professional advising that prepare students for success in law and medicine. Bucknell is among the top 20 U.S. liberal arts colleges in terms of the number of graduates who go on to earn doctorates. It has over 50 majors and 60 minors.

Although it is primarily an undergraduate school (with 3,400 students), there are also 150 graduate students on the campus. Students come from all 50 states, and from more than 50 countries. Bucknell has nearly 200 student organizations, a large Greek presence, and is part of the Patriot League in Division I athletics.

History

Founding

Founded in 1846 as the University at Lewisburg, Bucknell traces its origination to a group of Baptists, from White Deer Valley Baptist Church, who deemed it "desirable that a Literary Institution should be established in Central Pennsylvania, embracing a High School for male pupils, another for females, a College and also a Theological Institution."

The group’s efforts for the institution began to crystallize in 1845, when Stephen William Taylor, a professor at Madison University (now Colgate Universitymarker) in Hamilton, New York, was asked to prepare a charter and act as general agent for the university’s development.

The charter for the University at Lewisburg, granted by the Legislature of Pennsylvania and approved by the governor on February 5, 1846, carried one stipulation–that $100,000 ($ in current dollar terms) be raised before the new institution would be granted full corporate status. More than 4,000 subscribers ultimately contributed, including a small boy who gave 12 cents ($ in current dollar terms).

Early years

In 1846, the "school preparatory to the University" opened in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Lewisburg. Known originally as the Lewisburg High School, it became, in 1848, the Academical and Primary Department of the University at Lewisburg.

In 1850, the department moved into the first building completed on campus, now called Taylor Hall. Built for $8,000 ($ in current dollar terms), the building housed both women and men’s studies until the opening of the Female Institute in 1852. While studying together, women were required to face east while men faced west.

The school’s first commencement was held August 20, 1851, for a graduation class of seven men. Among the board members attending was James Buchanan, who would become the 15th President of the United States. Stephen Taylor officiated as his last act before assuming office as president of Madison University. One day earlier, the trustees had elected Howard Malcom as the first president of the university, a post he held for six years.

The description that the university was carved out of the "wilds of Pennsylvania" is no exaggeration. From Philadelphiamarker, the journey in those early years involved traveling by stagecoach, canal boat, and unheated train, and averaged 25 hours.

Female Institute

Bucknell University in the 1870s.
Although the Female Institute began instruction in 1852, it wasn’t until 1883 that college courses were opened to women. Bucknell, though, was committed to equal educational opportunities for women.

This commintment was reflected strikingly in the words of David Jayne Hill of the Class of 1874, and president of the university from 1879 to 1888: "We need in Pennsylvania, in the geographical centre of the state, a University, not in the German but in the American sense, where every branch of non-professional knowledge can be pursued, regardless of distinction of sex. I have no well-matured plan to announce as to the sexes; but the Principal of the Female Seminary proposes to inaugurate a course for females equal to that pursued at Vassar; the two sexes having equal advantages, though not reciting together."

Within five years of opening, enrollment had grown so sharply that the university built a new hall–Larison Hall–to accommodate the Female Institute. Women could venture into town only in the company of a female teacher who had a minimum of six years’ experience in handling girls.

Benefactor William Bucknell

In 1881, facing dire finances, the university turned to William Bucknell, a charter member of the board of trustees, for help. His generous donation of $50,000 ($ in current dollar terms) saved the university from ruin. For the remainder of his life, Bucknell gave generously to the university, and in 1886 in recognition of that generosity the trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the University at Lewisburg to Bucknell University.

Bucknell Hall, the first of several buildings given to the university by Bucknell, was initially a chapel and for more than a half century the site of student theatrical and musical performances. Today, it houses the Stadler Center for Poetry.

Continued Expansion

Bucknell Library
The 40 years from 1890 until 1930 were ones of a steady increase in the number of faculty members and students. When the Depression brought a drop in enrollment in 1933, several members of the faculty were "loaned" to found a new institution: Bucknell Junior College in Wilkes-Barremarker, Pennsyvlvania. Today, that institution is a four-year university, Wilkes Universitymarker, independent of Bucknell since 1947.

Significant new construction in the 1970s included the Elaine Langone Center, the Gerhard Fieldhouse, and the Computer Center. During the early 1980s, the capacity of the Bertrand Library was doubled and facilities for engineering were substantially renovated. Recently, the Franks Computer Courtyard (named after Brandon Franks, a student who owns the courtyard) was added to provide additional computers, both PCs and Macs, to students. In 1988, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts was completed.

New facilities for the sciences included the renovation of the Olin Science Building (which is located across from the Dana (Ragusa) building), the construction of the Rooke Chemistry Building in 1990 and the completion of a new Biology Building in 1991. The McDonnell Residence Hall and Weis Music Building were completed in 2000. In addition, the O'Leary Building for Psychology and Geology opened in the fall of 2002 and the new Kenneth Langone Recreational Athletic Center opened during the 2002–03 academic year.

The most recent facility, the Breakiron (Rahimi) Engineering Building, opened in 2004. Today, more than 100 buildings dot the campus.

Strategic planning

On April 29, 2006, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved "The Plan for Bucknell", which calls for improvement in five areas: strengthening the academic core curriculum, deepening the residential learning experience, enhancing diversity, building bridges with the local community, and securing Bucknell's financial future.

The university reported having $600 million in investments in its endowment portfolio in 2007.

Presidents

President Brian C.
Mitchell
Name Tenure
Stephen William Taylor 1846–51*
Howard Malcom 1851–57
George Ripley Bliss 1857–58; 1871–72*
Justin Rolph Loomis 1858–79
Francis Wayland Tustin 1879*
David Jayne Hill 1879–88
George G. Groff 1888–89*
John Howard Harris 1889–1919
Emory William Hunt 1919–31
Charles Parker Vaughan 1931*
Homer Price Rainey 1931–35
Arnaud Cartwright Marts 1935–45**
Herbert Lincoln Spencer 1945–49
Horace Augustus Hildreth 1949–53
Joseph Welles Henderson 1953–54*
Merle Middleton Odgers 1954–64
Charles Henry Watts II 1964–76
G. Dennis O'Brien 1976–84
John Frederick Zeller III 1984*
Gary Allan Sojka 1984–95
William Drea Adams 1995–2000
Steffen H. Rogers 2000–04
Brian C. Mitchell 2004–10


*Interim President

**Interim President from 1935-38

Academics

Bucknell is a highly competitive liberal arts university, with a Class of 2012 undergraduate acceptance rate of 29.8%. U.S. News & World Report classifies its selectivity as "most selective." It was ranked 30th for liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report as of 2007. Bucknell is ranked 7th for liberal arts colleges in the U.S. by Washington Monthly. The 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores for the Class of 2011 that matriculated were 600 and 690, respectively in Critical Reading, and in Math the 25th/75th percentiles were 630 and 710. 81% of students accepted into Bucknell were in the top 10% of their class, and 94% of accepted students were in the top 20% of their class. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1.

Primarily an undergraduate institution, Bucknell offers 47 majors and 65 minors. Majors include history, mathematics, environmental studies, geology, East Asian studies, management, accounting, biology, chemistry, education, music, art history, English, animal behavior, economics, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, theatre, and various foreign languages. Students can also design their own majors.

The school's College of Engineering (with majors in electrical, chemical, computer science, mechanical, civil, and recently established biomedical and computer engineering) is particularly strong. Among American schools that do not offer a Ph.D. in engineering, Bucknell ranks No. 8. The Chemical Engineering Department ranks No. 4, the Civil Engineering Program No. 5, the Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering Departments No. 6, and the Mechanical Engineering Department No. 7, respectively, under the same criteria.

Bucknell is also strong in environmental studies, animal behavior, ecology, and evolution. Because Bucknell is larger than many other liberal arts colleges (in fact it is the nation's largest private liberal arts university), a wide diversity of courses can be offered in these fields, including, for example, entomology, limnology, mammalogy, invertebrate zoology, ornithology, tropical ecology, ecosystem and community ecology, conservation biology, and social insect courses. Faculty research in these areas is active, with many opportunities for student participation, field work, and travel.

The Bucknell Environmental Center (BUEC) sponsored a symposium series on sustainability and the global environment and has major initiatives focused on the art, culture, and ecology of the Susquehanna River basin and the greening of the Bucknell Campus. Bucknell has recently received a Solar Scholars grant, and is building an experimental student housing unit that will rely primarily on renewable energy, including photovoltaics.

Bucknell has strong programs in Theatre, Dance and Music, where students work closely with experienced professionals. State-of-the-art performance and practice facilities, including the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, enhance the undergraduate performing arts experience.

Bucknell ranks among the top 20 liberal arts colleges in the number of students that go on to gain their Ph.D's, and is No. 3 on the All-Time List (CoSida) for Producing Academic All Americans. It also ranks in the Top 100 for schools that produce America's top business leaders.

Forty percent of Bucknell students study abroad. The University sponsors semester-long programs in four locations: Londonmarker, Barbadosmarker, Tours, Francemarker, and Granada, Spainmarker, and several short-term summer programs in locations such as Northern Irelandmarker and Nicaraguamarker, all of which are staffed by Bucknell professors. Students can also choose to study in a variety of other countries through alternative providers.

Athletics

Bucknell Bison logo
Naval Academy/Bucknell lacrosse game, March 2006.


Bucknell is a member of the Patriot League for Division I sports, Division I-AA in football.

Bucknell won the first Orange Bowl (26–0 over the University of Miamimarker on January 1, 1935) as well as the first Division II NCAA Swimming & Diving championships in 1964. It is also the alma mater of baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson, who requested burial in a cemetery adjoining Bucknell's campus.

In 2005, the men's basketball team went to the NCAA men's basketball tournament and became the first Patriot League team to win an NCAA tournament game, upsetting Kansasmarker (64–63). The victory followed a year that included wins over #9 Pittsburghmarker and St. Joe's. They lost to Wisconsinmarker in the following round, but received the honor of "Best Upset" at the 2005 ESPY Awards.

Student life

First-year undergraduates are required to live on campus. The school guarantees on-campus housing for all four years. Some students choose to live off campus after their first year.

The campus is roughly divided into "uphill" and "downhill" areas by a large slope between Moore Avenue and Dent Drive. The uphill area flanks U.S. Route 15 and the Susquehanna River, and features many of the academic buildings, including the main academic quadrangle and library, as well as some dormitories, Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadiummarker, and Fraternity Road. Downhill borders the Victorian-era neighborhoods of downtown Lewisburg, and features mainly residential buildings, including the majority of first-year dormitories, the Gateway apartment complex, the President's house, many of the indoor athletic facilities, and Hunt Hall, home to the school's sororities. Bucknell West, which is separated from the rest of campus by Route 15, features some housing, athletic fields, art and psychology/animal behavior laboratories, and an 18-hole golf course. All on-campus students must purchase a campus meal plan. There are several dining options on campus for students, including the Bostwick Cafeteria, Bison snack bar, and Terrace Room in the Langone Student Center, and the Library and 7th Street Cafes.

Because of its rural location and lack of nearby large cities (Harrisburg, Pennsylvaniamarker, is located about one hour south), Bucknell may seem fairly isolated. However, its more than 130 student organizations, a historical downtown movie theater, many student performances, and year-end formal ball provide students with a wide array of activities. Downtown Lewisburg is within short walking distance of the campus and features a variety of shops, museums, galleries and restaurants in addition to old-fashioned gingerbread houses.

Bucknell's student newspaper is The Bucknellian, which is printed weekly. Its radio station is WVBU 90.5 FM.

Bucknell has active religious life involvement on campus. Groups such as Bucknell University Catholic Campus Ministry, Rooke Chapel Congregation, Muslim Students Association, and Hillel are available to students for spiritual and personal growth.

The university also has a lively Greek community. Students cannot "rush" until the first semester of their sophomore year, but approximately 50 percent of eligible students join the school's 13 fraternities and 7 sororities.

Active Fraternities:



Active Sororities:



Notable alumni



Notes

  1. Dandes, Rick, "Bucknell invests in new money manager", The Daily Item, July 16, 2007.
  2. US News: Most Selective


External links




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