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Haverford College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Haverfordmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, a suburb of Philadelphiamarker.

The college was founded in 1833 by area members of the Orthodox Philadelphia Yearly Meetingmarker of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to ensure an education grounded in Quaker values for young Quaker men. It is the oldest college or university in the United Statesmarker with Quaker origins. Although the college no longer has a formal religious affiliation, the Quaker philosophy still influences campus life. Originally an all-male institution, Haverford began admitting female transfer students in the 1970s, and became fully co-ed in 1980 when the board of managers came to consensus on a proposal initiated by former president John R. Coleman. The reason for the delay was not because of a lack of interest in co-education in prior years, but rather a concern for how such a change would affect Haverford's relationship with neighboring, all-female Bryn Mawr Collegemarker. As of 2007, more than half of Haverford's students are women.

All students at the college are undergraduates, and almost all live on campus. Haverford remains one of the smallest of the nation's elite liberal arts colleges. For most of the 20th century, Haverford's total enrollment was kept below 300. It went through two periods of expansion after the 1970s, and its current enrollment is 1,168 students.

Haverford has been described as "quietly prestigious" and has been classified by Princeton Review as one of most difficult schools to get into - ranked 18 among all US colleges and universities in "The Toughest to Get Into" category. It placed ninth in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of U.S. liberal arts colleges in both 2006 and 2007, and tenth in 2008.It is also known as one of the "Little Ivies". Haverford is known for its rigorous academics, symbolized and maintained by the faculty's resistance to grade inflation..

Haverford is a member of the Tri-College Consortium, which allows students to register for courses at both Bryn Mawr Collegemarker and Swarthmore Collegemarker. Haverford enjoys an especially close and storied relationship, familiarly referred to by students and professors as "Bi-Co" (bi-college) with its sister school, Bryn Mawr Collegemarker. It is also a member of the Quaker Consortium ("Penn-Pal") which allows students to cross-register at the College of General Studies (CGS) at the University of Pennsylvaniamarker. Starting spring 2009, Haverford students can also take classes in Wharton School of Business. Haverford also has a 3-2 engineering program with the California Institute of Technologymarker which allows students to receive a dual degree from Haverford and Caltech.

Honor Code

In 1896, the students and faculty of Haverford voted to adopt an Honor Code to govern academic affairs. Since then, every student has been allowed to schedule his or her own final exams. Take-home examinations are also common at Haverford. These exams may include strict instructions such as time limits, prohibitions on using assigned texts or personal notes, and calculator usage. All students are bound to follow these instructions by the Code.

Originally conceived as a code of academic honesty, the Honor Code had expanded by the 1980s to govern social interactions. The code does not list specific rules of behavior, but rather outlines a philosophy of trust, concern, and respect for others that students are expected to follow. When a student (or other community member) feels that another student has broken the Code, he or she is encouraged not to look the other way but rather to confront the possible offender and engage in a dialogue with him or her, before taking matters to an Honor Council which can help mediate the dispute. Ideally, many potential violations are worked out through dialogue (mediated or not) and common understanding.

Student government officers administer the Code, and all academic matters are heard by student juries. More severe matters are addressed by administrators. Abstracts from cases heard by students and joint administrative-student panels are distributed to all students by several means, including as print-outs in mailboxes. The trial abstracts are made anonymous by the use of pseudonyms, which are often characters from entertainment or history.

The student body convenes every semester in a plenary session. At these meetings, the Honor Code or Student Constitution can be amended, and at Spring Plenary it must be re-ratified by the entire student body.

The Honor Code is touted by the Office of Admissions, and every student is required to sign a pledge agreeing to the Code prior to matriculation. Unlike Honor Codes at institutions such as Brigham Young Universitymarker, which are imposed on the students by the administration, the Haverford Honor Code is entirely student-run. The Code originated by a body of students who felt it necessary, and current Haverford students administer and amend it every year.


Haverford offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Students may choose among 31 majors in the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. While nearly all of the departments are strong, and are complemented and enhanced by the offerings of neighboring Bryn Mawr Collegemarker, Haverford’s natural sciences are particularly noteworthy. In the 1950s, Haverford was the first institution in America to teach modern laboratory biology (molecular biology) to undergraduates. In addition, the only National Academy of Sciencesmarker member to teach at a liberal arts college today is at Haverford. Both physics and chemistry departments boast graduates including Nobel laureates.

Almost all departments require a senior thesis or project for graduation, and many departments also have junior-level seminar or year-long project such as in biology (superlab) and chemistry (superlab). The College also maintains a distribution requirement, spreading course work in all three areas of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, in addition to major course works.

In addition to majors and minors, Haverford offers concentrations in Africana studies, biochemistry, biophysics, computer science, East Asian studies, education, feminist and gender studies, health and society, Latin American and Iberian studies, mathematical economics, neural and behavioral sciences, and peace studies. Students may pursue pre-medical, pre-law or pre-business intentions through any major; the college offers special advising by professionals in those fields. Music students enjoy close proximity to Philadelphiamarker's music tradition: the Philadelphia Orchestra and The Curtis Institute of Musicmarker, where students can receive discounted concert tickets and take on extra instrument or voice lessons.

An additional option is the "3/2 liberal arts and engineering" course of study. This allows students to take three years of liberal arts and science courses at Haverford and then two years of engineering courses at the California Institute of Technologymarker.


The northwest portion of the campus is located in Haverford Townshipmarker in Delaware Countymarker, and the southwest part of the campus is located in Lower Merion Townshipmarker in Montgomery Countymarker.

The campus is a national arboretum. Its contain a nature trail, a pinetum with 300 different conifers, a duck pond, historic trees of diverse species, sculpture, as well as flower and Asian gardens. The buildings on campus are mostly stone and reflect Quaker and colonial design principles. Recent renovations and additions within the last 5 years include a center for science (The Integrated Natural Science Center, or INSC) and a new athletics center (The Douglas B. Gardner '83 Integrated Athletic Center). Planned additions in the future include renovations for a larger humanities center, new performing arts space, a student center and a new dorm to decompress current housing.

Much of the student body (99%) lives on campus, where housing options include apartments, themed houses such as Yarnall House, and traditional dormitories. Various options for housing exist, including suites of singles, doubles, and triples. Housing policy is very liberal and many non-freshman suites are co-ed. In 2000, at the urging of Haverford’s inQUEERy, co-ed roommate options were officially permitted for the first time, having occurred without official sanction since 1974.

Approximately 75% of faculty live on campus, which is unusually high for liberal arts colleges.

Local attractions within walking distance include Wawa and IHOP and Chipotle. Merion Golf Clubmarker and Suburban Square are also located within walking distance.

Haverford is located on the Main Line about west of Philadelphiamarker. The school is connected to center city Philadelphia by the SEPTA R5 commuter rail system and Norristown High Speed Line (R100).

Student life

Activities available at Haverford range from the usual small college options of a capella singing group performances, alternative concerts, student film screenings, and improv comedy, to smaller adventures, such as tag or sardines in the sciences center.

Free music events are often presented in the basement of Lunt (a student dorm), adjacent to the always-popular Lunt Café. Professional funk, rock, blues, and jazz bands are brought in by the Federation of United Concert Series, a student organization. Student musicians have created a vibrant musical community on campus, forming a number of bands with eclectic styles. Haverford boasts practice facilities, a recording studio, and a record label, Black Squirrel Records, which releases compilation albums that feature Haverford student bands. Students also run their own radio station, WHRC Radio, which broadcasts streaming audio.

Student publications include the Bi-College News, a newspaper in collaboration with students at Bryn Mawr Collegemarker that serves both campuses; The Haverford Review, a student literary magazine; Without a , the Haverford satire/humor magazine; the Haverford Journal, an academic journal; and The Record, the student yearbook.

Many students are involved in volunteering, either on their own or through Haverford's volunteer coordination organization, Eighth Dimension. Volunteer opportunities are especially plentiful due to Haverford's proximity to Philadelphia. Activism is also a part of student life, and groups such as the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), Students Toward a New Democracy (STAND), Amnesty International, College Republicans, and College Democrats have a presence on campus. The student body is overwhelmingly politically liberal, but is not without its vocal conservative elements. High value is placed in listening to many sides without disrespect or vitriol, in spirit with the Honor Code.

The college has regular college-sponsored events, such as a "Screw-Your-Roommate" Dance, where roommates set each other up on blind dates. Haverford has no fraternities or sororities, but Drinker House is considered to be the closest resemblance to one on campus.

In 2002, a group of students founded a computing club called FIG (a recursive acronym for FIG Is Good). Services provided by FIG include the college's student portal, Go!, server space for students, and an online discussion forum called the Go! Boards. Amid controversy, the boards have become a major venue for discussion on campus as well as providing a popular method of procrastination.

Of the nation's 357 "best" colleges, the Princeton Review ranks Haverford as #6 for Best Overall Undergraduate Experience. In addition, Haverford, unlike many of its peers, is located within easy travel of a large metropolitan center and the opportunities that Philadelphiamarker offers.

Princeton Review placed Haverford on several other lists for the 2007 year. On the list for "Best Overall Academic Experience for Undergraduates," Haverford ranks #8; "School Runs Like Butter," #17, "The Toughest to Get Into," #20, "Best Quality Of Life," #14, "Happiest Students," #16.


Haverford College competes at the NCAA Division III level in the Centennial Conference.

The men's and women's track and field and cross country teams are perennial powerhouses in their division. The men's outdoor track and field team has won all 16 Centennial Conference championships. In the 2007 NCAA National Cross Country Championship Race, the men's team finished 2nd; their highest finish ever. The women's team has captured the last four Conference titles. In 1997, Karl Paranya '97 became the first (and only) Division III athlete to run a four-minute mile, clocking 3:57.6. The history of Haverford track also includes former team captain Philip Noel-Baker 1908, who later captained Great Britainmarker's 1924 Olympic team upon which the movie Chariots of Fire is based, and became a 1959 Nobel peace prize winner years later.

Haverford's soccer team, the nation's oldest, won the first intercollegiate soccer match in 1905, beating Harvard Collegemarker. It is also of interest to note that Harvardmarker's team was founded by a Haverford alumnus during his graduate education there. Haverford soccer squads were named national intercollegiate champions three times by the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association in 1911, 1915 and 1917. This was prior to the NCAA's sanctioning of a season ending tournament to crown the national champion, which began in 1959.

Haverford boasts the only varsity cricket team in the United States, and ESPN Magazine has called Haverford "the epicenter of Philadelphiamarker's cricket craze". The team, which was started in 1833, is generally accepted as the first cricket club exclusively for Americans. Haverford has a strong rivalry with the University of Pennsylvaniamarker's club team. The first match in this series was played in 1864 and is believed to be the 3rd oldest intercollegiate game in America after the 1852 Harvardmarker-Yalemarker crew and 1859 Amherst-Williams baseball contests. Haverford's current team has a heavy contingency from students of South Asian heritage, and the XI team regularly travels to Oxbridge for games.

The first intercollegiate basketball game played east of the Mississippi River occurred in Ryan Gym in 1895 between Haverford and Temple Universitymarker. A former varsity star is Hunter R. Rawlings III, the former president of Cornell Universitymarker.

The fencing team has competed since the early 1930s and is a member of both the Middle Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) and the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA). Recently retired coach, David Littell, fenced in the 1988 Olympics in Seoulmarker, South Koreamarker. In 2007, the Haverford Fencing team fenced an undefeated MACFA season (a school record) and won its third championship. Other championships were won in 1983 and 2004. The current Haverford Coach is Chris Spencer, formerly head coach of Mount Holyoke Collegemarker.

The women's volleyball team competed in the NCAA tournament in 2006 and 2007 after winning the Centennial Conference for the first time in 2006 and repeating the victory in 2007. In the 2007 tournament, the team hosted the regional NCAA tournament where they advanced the to the regional championship but lost to defending national champion Juniata.

Notable people

Haverford is a smaller college and has a smaller alumni population than its peers. Because expansion occurred in the 1980s, most of Haverford's alumni are still quite young. Despite this, as of 2007, Haverford alumni boast 4 Nobel Prizes, 4 MacArthur Fellows, 19 Rhodes Scholarships, 10 Marshall Scholarships, 9 Henry Luce Fellowships, 48 Watson Fellowships, 2 George Mitchell Scholarship, 2 Carnegie Endowment Junior Fellowships, 1 Churchill Scholar, 13 All Americans, and 19 NCAA Post-graduate winners. Since March 1961, over 138 Haverford alumni have served in 64 developing countries as Peace Corps Volunteers.


  1. URL accessed July 31, 2007.
  3., 2007.
  5. Physics and Astronomy: Options for Engineering at Haverford URL accessed February 9, 2007.
  6. The Haverford College Arboretum's website URL accessed May 02, 2007
  7. Bi-Co News: National media reacts to non-issue at Haverford URL accessed July 9, 2007.
  10. Haverford College's Best 361 College Rankings . URL accessed June 2, 2007.
  11. The Capital of Cricket URL accessed February 9, 2007.

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