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Washington College is a private, independent liberal arts college located on a 112 acre (45.3 ha) campus in Chestertown, Marylandmarker, on the Eastern Shore. Marylandmarker granted Washington College its charter in 1782. George Washington supported the founding of the college by consenting to have the "College at Chester" named in his honor, through generous financial support, and through service on the college's Board of Visitors and Governors. Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the United Statesmarker and was the first college chartered after American independence. The school became coeducational in 1891.


Chestertown's historic waterfront
Approximately 1,500 undergraduates and 100 graduate students attend Washington College, 47% from Maryland and the balance from 35 other states and forty foreign nations. Approximately 8% of the American undergraduates are minority students and approximately 8% are international citizens. Approximately 5% of the college's student body is "non-traditional" (25 years old or older). Approximately 80% of all students live in college residence halls; the rest commute either from off-campus housing or from home.

Tuition for the 08-09 year was $34,005 and total expenses per annum (including room, board, and fees) are $44,935. Approximately 85% of the student body receives some form of need-based financial aid or merit-based scholarship award. The cost of attendance has been rising in recent years, with the overall costs (including room and board) increasing by roughly $2,000 per year.

The school has over 90 student clubs. Freshmen, unless local, are required to live on-campus. On-campus housing is available for approximately 900 students. Most students (70-75%) stay on-campus over the weekend to participate in various social and recreational activities. Approximately 30% of students attend graduate school in the first year following graduation and approximately 45% do so within five years. Student/faculty ratio: 12/1. Average class size is 17. The school confers the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Arts (in English, Psychology & History).

The college awards the Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest monetary undergraduate award in the country. The graduating senior with the greatest literary potential is chosen by a faculty committee for this honor each year. The award has grown to over $60,000.

In 2005, Washington College inaugurated another literary prize, the George Washington Book Prize, administered by the college's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and awarded in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington's Mount Vernon. The prize is awarded annually to the most significant new book about the founding era. At $50,000, the prize is one of the most generous book awards in the United States.

The campus has hosted five U.S. presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush. Washington College is host to the Harwood Series, which includes speeches by national politicians, and media pundits. In recent years, Haley Barbour, Howard Dean, John McCain, James Carville, Cokie Roberts, Chris Matthews, Ellen Sauerbrey, Donna Shalala, Eugene McCarthy, Cornel West, Birch Bayh, Gary Hart, Richard Lugar, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Karl Rove have appeared on campus. Entertainers such as the Counting Crows, Bruce Hornsby, Eddy Arnold, Wayne Brady, Jason Mraz, DJ Kool, Guster, and Larry Hagman have all appeared on campus in one capacity or another. Because of its reputation as a liberal arts school with creative writing being a strength, writers such as John Barth, Ray Bradbury, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Robert Pinsky have given readings at the campus.

Washington College campus
There are four fraternities and three sororities on campus: male Greek life includes Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, and Theta Chi. The Kappa Alpha, Theta Chi, and Phi Delta Theta housing can be found in the specialty housing known as The Quad (three buildings found at the center of campus). The women's organizations are Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron Pi, and Zeta Tau Alpha. In 2005, Kappa Alpha Order and Phi Delta Theta were found guilty of hazing as well as violating other college policies. Punishment for such crimes included both fraternities being removed from their respective housing and serving academic probation. Both fraternities served their probationary period, and have since been returned to their housing.

The campus newspaper of record is The Elm. Other campus publications include The Collegian (features) and The Medium (creative writing).

Washington College students celebrate May Day by partying in the nude, mostly by the flagpole. The celebration takes place over two nights with hundreds of students participating.

Washington College has had a regional reputation for excellence for some time, especially in Maryland. However, under the new President, national recognition has been a goal. The fruits of this effort are visible with Washington College's recent ranking among the top Liberal Arts institutions in the United States according to U.S. News rankings.

Honorary societies

Notable alumni and affiliates

For a complete list see List of Washington College alumni

The college boasts of a notable list of persons who served on the original Board of visitors and governors, including:

Varsity athletics

Washington College is perhaps best known athletically for its men's lacrosse team. It has advanced to the NCAA Division III championship game eight times, winning the title in 1998 and is consistently in the top 10 national NCAA Division III Men's Lacrosse rankings since then. The men's tennis team won NCAA Division III national championships in 1994 and 1997.

Teams from the college compete in the Centennial Conference, and field sports are played at Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium. The college sailing team competes in the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association and has been ranked nationally in the top 15 for the past two years. Washington College competes in the following sports:

  • Baseball (M)
  • Basketball (M, W)
  • Field Hockey (W)
  • Lacrosse (M, W)
  • Rowing (M, W)
  • Sailing (CoEd)
  • Soccer (M, W)
  • Softball (W)
  • Swimming (M, W)
  • Tennis (M, W)
  • Volleyball (W)

Washington College also hosted a Maryland Championship Wrestling event in 2001 with Jerry Lawler headlining. In addition, Tom Seaver once gave a talk.

Club Sports

Club Lacrosse

The Washington College Club Lacrosse team is a student run club that consists of a group of student athletes who like to play Lacrosse but who do not play NCAA Division III level. It is a great club sport for beginning Lacrosse players or students who have been playing the sport their entire life. Its is a great balance between a laid back atmosphere but also wanting to become better and win as many games as possible.

Washington College Men's Club Lacrosse is a part of the NCLL (National College Lacrosse League). The team is a member of the Chesapeake Conference and play teams such as University of Baltimore, University of Delaware, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola University (MD), Salisbury University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Towson University and Morgan State University.

The Mens Club team plays most of there home games on Shriver Field at Washington College, but occasionally has games in Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium.

The past four presidents of the Washington College Club Lacrosse Team were:
  • Alex Walsh
  • Patrick McGrath
  • Patrick Mulford
  • Nicholas Bash

Season Records
  • 2005 2 wins 4 Losses
  • 2006 7 wins 4 Losses (Lost in the NCLL Final Four)
  • 2007 6 wins 8 Losses
  • 2008 3 wins 5 Losses
  • 2009 5 wins 5 losses

Men's Rugby Club

Washington College's Men's Rugby Club is made up of a group of amateur rugby players with experiences that range from never played to players that have played their entire lives. It is a great way for guys who played football, lacrosse, hockey or any other hard hitting sport in highschool, but decided not to play those sports in college, to continue on in that same hard hitting matter.

The club play's in the PRU, which is the Potomic Rugby Union. This is the Division III governing body for rugby in the Maryland area. Howevr, some of the schools that participate are far above the Division III standard. Those schools include Towson, Navy,American and Georgetown. Although the schools might be bigger, the games are always fun and exciting, with our small school generally keeping up with the other teams.

Along with the Men's Club Rugby team, there is a Women's Club team as well. They also play in the PRU and play relatively the same schools as the guy's team.

The Rugby teams both practice and play on Shriver field. The mens team practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the women's team practices on Monday and Wednesdays, with the practices always being at 4 p.m.

Both Teams look forward to having successful seasons, and we hope you can come out to enjoy a game.


Residence halls

Middle, East and West Halls stand on the crest of a low hill (the terrace) at the center of campus. Middle Hall (built 1844) and East and West Halls (built 1854) hold a special place in the history of Washington College in that they are the oldest surviving campus buildings. They serve as monuments to the original Common Building (completed in 1789), whose site they occupy. They are all three story buildings constructed of brick.

They were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

They now function as follows:
  • East Hall—The International House is a three-floor coed building that serves as a home for students interested in international relation and foreign language study. This theme house has a faculty advisor and has limited housing available for new students.
  • Middle Hall—The Creative Arts House is a coed building for students interested in drama, music, visual art, literature, and the creative arts in general. Limited housing available for new students.
  • West Hall—The Science House is a three-floor coed building that serves as a home for students interested in the natural sciences. This theme house has a faculty advisor and is limited to upperclassmen.

Other residence halls include:
  • Caroline House—This three-floor coed building houses men on the first floor, and women on the second and third floors.
  • Cecil House—This building is configured to accommodate four three-student suites and two six-student suites.
  • Chester Hall—This is a three-floor coed building housing students of all years. It contains both full suites (with common room) and partial suites (with out common room). All suites have a double and two singles. There is a lounge and kitchenette on each floor with a full kitchen on the first floor.
  • Dorchester House—This building is configured to accommodate four three-man suites and two six-man suites.
  • Harford House—This three-floor building is configured to accommodate four seven-person suites per floor.
  • Kent House—This is a two-floor building, co-ed by hallway.
  • Minta Martin—This single-sex building houses women only; residents include but are not limited to members of the Alpha Chi Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha sororities.
  • North Campus/Western Shore Residence Halls (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, St. Mary's) -- These eleven buildings contain four apartment-style suites. Each suite contains four single bedrooms, two baths, a common area, and kitchenette. These halls are limited to upperclassmen. Two new apartment-style suite buildings, Sassafras and Chester, will open in the Fall semester of 2008.
  • Queen Anne House—This two-floor, co-ed building is home to the substance-free program. Alcohol and tobacco products are prohibited in this building.
  • Reid Hall—This three-floor building is for women only.
  • Sassafras Hall—This is a three-floor coed building housing students of all years. It contains both full suites (with common room) and partial suites (with out common room). All suites have a double and two singles. There is a lounge and kitchenette on each floor with a full kitchen on the first floor. This building also houses a small exercise room and snack bar open to all residential students.
  • Somerset House—This four-floor building houses only men.
  • Talbot House—This building is configured to accommodate four three-student suites and two six-student suites.
  • Wicomico House—This is a two-floor men's building. Men are housed on both floors. Until recently, it was a coed dorm with men housed on the first floor, and women on the second floor.
  • Worcester House—This is a two-floor coed building, housing men on the first floor and women on the second floor.

Academic buildings

Athletic facilities

  • Athey Field
  • Benjamin Johnson Lifetime Fitness Center
  • Cain Athletic Center
  • Casey Swim Center
  • Kibler Field at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium
  • Schottland Tennis Pavilion
  • Truslow Boat House (off-campus near Chester River)
  • Washington College Softball Field
  • Shriver Field (named in memory of Eleanor Ringgold and Samuel Shriver, Sr., grandparents of Eleanor Shriver Magee '93 and Pam Shriver)

Washington College's 18th C.
Custom House

Administrative buildings

  • Alumni House
  • Bunting Hall
  • Custom House
  • Spanish House


  • Brown Cottage
  • Hodson Hall (Dining Hall, Cafe, Quick Shop Eatery, Hynson Study Lounge)(Currently undergoing renovations, to be completed October 2009)
  • Hynson Pavilion (off-campus near Chester River)
  • Hynson-Ringgold House (President's House)
  • Nussbaum House
  • White Cottage


George Washington Birthday Ball: A college-wide dance where students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the college come together to celebrate George Washington's birthday. The event usually takes place on, or around, the actual date of George Washington's birth. Formal dress is required for all in attendance.

The All Campus Picnic: A carnival held for the students and community members before the beginning of the academic year.

The Renaissance Christmas Dinner: Held before the beginning of Winter Break and features performances by the Early Music Consort and Vocal Consort of the College.

War on the Shore: The annual men's lacrosse game, held in late spring between Washington College and Salisbury University, two of Maryland's Eastern Shore's undergraduate schools. Beginning in 2004, the winner of the game has been awarded the Charles B. Clark Cup.

May Day: Started in 1968 by Professor Bennett Lamond of the English Department, who retired in 2004. He brought a class out onto the green, where they read poetry and drank wine. Later that night some of the students returned, and Washington College's May Day celebration was born. Since then, May Day has become a two-night party on April 30 and May 1, often involving public nudity by a percentage of the student body. The event draws many students as spectators.

Past Washington College Presidents

  • William Smith 1782-1789
  • Colin Ferguson 1793-1805
  • Hugh McGuire 1813-1815
  • Joab G. Cooper 1816-1817
  • Gerard E. Stack 1817-1818
  • Francis Waters 1818-1823
  • Timothy Clowes 1823-1829
  • Peter Clark 1829-1832
  • Richard W. Ringgold 1832-1854
  • Francis Waters 1854-1860
  • Andrew J. Sutton 1860-1867
  • Robert C. Berkeley 1867-1873
  • William J. Rivers 1873-1887
  • Thomas N. Williams 1887-1889
  • Charles W. Reid 1889-1903
  • James W. Cain 1903-1918
  • Clarence P. Gould 1919-1923
  • Paul E. Titsworth 1923-1933
  • Gilbert W. Mead 1933-1949
  • Daniel Z. Gibson 1950-1970
  • Charles J. Merdinger 1970-1973
  • Joseph H. McLain 1973-1981
  • Garry E. Clarke (acting), 1981-1982
  • Douglass Cater 1982-1990
  • Charles H. Trout 1990-1995
  • John S. Toll 1995-2004
  • Baird Tipson 2004-


  1. Borukhova, T. (2005). Letter to the Editor. The Elm 76, (17), pg. 6
  2. Last, K. (2005). Phi Delta Theta Leadership Consult Speaks Out. The Elm 76 (18), pg. 1-2
  3. Last, K. (2006). Fraternities to Return to Quad Next Year. The Elm 77 (18)
  9. Washington College | News and Events
  10. Washington College | Student Life
  11. Washington College Men's Lacrosse |

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