Connecticut College

Coordinates: 41°22′42.36″N 72°06′16.81″W / 41.3784333°N 72.1046694°W / 41.3784333; -72.1046694

Connecticut College
Motto Tanquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum
Motto in English
"Like a tree planted by rivers of water" (that bringeth forth its fruit in its season. – Psalm 1:3)
Type Private
Established April 1911
Endowment US$299.6 million[1] (2017)
President Katherine Bergeron
Academic staff
182 full-time
Administrative staff
527 full-time
Undergraduates 1,817
Postgraduates 0
Location New London, Connecticut, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Colors Navy Blue, Powder Blue, and White[2]
Athletics NCAA Division III - NESCAC
Affiliations NESCAC
Mascot Camel

Connecticut College (Conn College or Conn) is a private liberal arts college located in New London, Connecticut. It is a residential, four-year undergraduate institution with nearly all of its approximately 1,815 students living on campus.[3] The college was founded in 1911 as "Connecticut College for Women" in response to Wesleyan University closing its doors to women in 1909; it shortened its name to "Connecticut College" in 1969 when it began admitting men.

Students choose courses from 41 majors, including an interdisciplinary, self-designed major.[4] Forbes ranked Connecticut College 81st in its 2016 overall list, 45th in the Northeast, 68th among private colleges, and 39th among liberal arts schools. Forbes also ranked Connecticut College 58th in "Grateful Grads".[5] U.S. News & World Report ranked the school 46th among the top liberal arts colleges in 2018.[6] The college competes athletically in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).


The college was chartered in 1911 in response to Wesleyan University's decision to stop admitting women.[7][8] Elizabeth C. Wright and other Wesleyan alumnae convinced others to found this new college, espousing the increasing desire among women for higher education.[9][10] To that end, the institution was founded as the Connecticut College for Women. Their initial endowment came from financial assistance from the city of New London and its residents, along with a number of wealthy benefactors. The college sits on a former dairy farm owned by Charles P. Alexander of Waterford. He died in 1904 and his wife Harriet (Jerome) Alexander died in 1911, and their son Frank sold a large part of the land to the trustees to found Connecticut College.[11]

The Hartford Daily Times ran an article on October 12, 1935 marking the College's 20th anniversary: "On September 27, 1915 the college opened its doors to students. The entering class was made up of 99 freshmen students, candidates for degrees, and 52 special students, a total registration of 151. A fine faculty of 23 members had been engaged and a library of 6,000 volumes had been gathered together." The College became co-educational in 1969, and President Charles E. Shain claimed that there was evidence that women were becoming uninterested in attending women's colleges.[12]


University rankings
Forbes[13] 81
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[14] 48
Washington Monthly[15] 100

Admission to the college is considered "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[6] The college received 5,879 applications for the Class of 2020 (the entering fall 2016 class) and 35.1% were accepted; of the 68% of the entering class who submitted SAT scores, the middle 50% range was 630-740 for Critical Reading and 640-720 for Math. Of those admitted students 56% ranked in the top 10% of their class and 80% ranked in the top 20% of their class.[16]

In the 2018 college rankings of U.S. News & World Report, Connecticut College was ranked tied for 46th.[6] These figures represent a significant decline in the college's traditional ranking within the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the country in the 1990s and early 2000s.[17] Connecticut College ranked 46th among liberal arts colleges in Washington Monthly 's 2017 rankings, which are based on recruiting and graduating low-income students, producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs, and encouraging students to give something back to their country.[18]


The College offers more than a thousand courses in 31 academic departments and seven interdisciplinary programs, and students can choose from 41 traditional majors plus opportunities for self-designed courses of study. The 10 most common majors over the last five years have been English, Economics, Psychology, Government, History, Biological Sciences, International Relations, Anthropology, Human Development, and Art.

Starting with the class of 2020, students at Connecticut College participate in a new interdisciplinary general education curriculum called Connections.[19][20]

Connecticut College has a history of undergraduate research work and students are encouraged to make conference presentations and publish their work under the guidance of a professor.[21] Graduating seniors are regularly awarded prestigious fellowships and grants such as the U.S. Student Fulbright Program grant. Connecticut College has been recognized as a top producer of Fulbright awardees,[22] producing, in 2012, nine Fulbright Grant recipients.[23] The College had 182 full-time professors in Academic Year 2017-18; 93% hold a doctorate or equivalent. The student-faculty ratio is about 9 to 1.[24]


The main campus has three residential areas. The North Campus contains the newest residential halls: Morrison, Wright, Lambdin, Park, Johnson (formerly Marshall), and Hamilton. The South Campus contains residence halls along the west side of Tempel Green: Harkness, Jane Addams, Freeman, Knowlton, and Windham, across from several academic buildings. The Central Campus contains the oldest residence halls: Burdick, Smith, Larrabee, Plant, Branford, Blackstone, Katharine Blunt, and Lazarus, which is closest to the student center and the library. The oldest dorms on campus are Plant House and Blackstone House, which were founded in 1914.[25][26]

Connecticut College's two principal libraries are the Charles E. Shain Library and the Greer Music Library, which is located in the Cummings Arts Center. The Shain Library houses a collection of more than 500,000 books and periodicals and an extensive collection of electronic resources; it is also home to The Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives, and to the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room.[27] ]The Lear Center has more than 50 book, manuscript and art collections including research archives devoted to Rachel Carson, Eugene O'Neill, and Beatrix Potter.[28] The Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room serves both as a quiet reading area and as the permanent exhibition space for the Chu-Griffis Art Collection.[29]

The Shain library was originally dedicated in 1976 and is named after former College President Charles Shain. It was renovated, expanded, and re-dedicated in 2015, and that renovation was honored by the American Institute of Architects with a 2015 New England Honor Award in the category of Preservation.[30] In 2016, LibraryJournal named the library a New Landmark Libraries Winner.[31]

Features of the renovated library include:

  • The Technology Commons with a state of the art Christie Micro Tile Visualization Wall.[32][33]
  • The Digital Scholarship and Curriculum Center.[33]
  • The Academic Resource Center.[33]
  • Collaboration rooms, outfitted with whiteboard walls and LCD panels on which students can share laptop displays.[33]

Performance spaces on campus include:

  • Palmer Auditorium
  • Tansill Theater, housed in Hillyer Hall
  • Myers Dance Studio,[34] housed in Crozier-Williams College Center
  • Harkness Chapel
  • Evans Music Hall
  • Fortune Recital Hall
  • Oliva Hall, housed in Cummings Art Center.[35]

Palmer Auditorium was home to the American Dance Festival from 1947 to 1977, featuring choreographers such as Martha Graham, José Limon, and Merce Cunningham in what was called "the most important summertime event in modern dance."[36][37]

The Connecticut College Arboretum is a 750-acre (3 km²) arboretum and botanical garden. Students frequently go to the arboretum to walk, study, or otherwise enjoy nature.

Harkness Chapel is a fine example of noted architect James Gamble Rogers' colonial Georgian style, with twelve stained glass windows by G. Owen Bonawit. The building is used for denominational religious services, as well as for ceremonies, concerts and recitals, weddings, and other public functions.[38]

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is located on campus, although it is not connected to the campus proper. The museum's web site states that "the permanent collection includes over 10,000 paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, furniture, and decorative arts, with an emphasis on American art from the 18th through 20th centuries." This collection is "housed in a handsome Neo-Classical building designed by Charles A. Platt".[39]

Student life

Honor code

Students live under the college's 85-year-old student-adjudicated Honor Code, which distinguishes Connecticut College from most of its peers. The honor code underpins all academic and social interactions at the college and creates a palpable spirit of trust and cooperation between students and faculty. Other manifestations of the code include self-scheduled, unproctored final exams.[40][41]


In a typical year, the college enrolls about 1,900 men and women from 40-45 states, Washington D.C., and 70 countries. Approximately forty percent of students are men. The fall 2017 student body was 71.4% White, 7.8% Hispanic, 4.5% Asian American, 3.8% African American, and 3.5% multiracial, with an additional 7.5% international students.[42] The college is now particularly known for interdisciplinary studies, international programs and study abroad, funded internships, student-faculty research, service learning, and shared governance. Under the college's system of shared governance, faculty, staff, students, and administrators are represented on the major committees that make policy regarding the curriculum, the budget, and the campus and facilities.


Connecticut College is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Annapolis Group, and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). The College provides financial aid packages that meet 100 percent of its students' demonstrated financial needs.[43]

Clubs and organizations

Connecticut College does not offer a Greek system of fraternities or sororities.

The College has seven a cappella groups:


  • The ConnChords
  • The Shwiffs
  • Miss Connduct


  • The Co Co Beaux


  • ConnArtists
  • Vox Cameli
  • Williams Street Mix[44]

The college radio station (WCNI 90.9 FM) broadcasts a variety of music, including polka, blues, and celtic music shows. A 2,000 watt transmitter installed in 2003 reaches much of the lower New England region.[45] The College Voice [46] is Connecticut College's only student newspaper, an editorially independent print and online bi-weekly publication. Students handle all aspects of production: reporting, editing, ad sales, management, photography, layout, multimedia, and design.[47]

The Student Activities Council (SAC) runs events including club fairs, school dances, concerts, and off-campus excursions.[48] SAC is also responsible for Floralia, the annual spring concert. Recent Floralia artists have included Misterwives, Cash Cash,[49] RAC, and St. Lucia.[50]

Unity House is the college's multicultural center which promotes, supports, educates, and implements multicultural awareness programs on campus.[51] It supports various affinity, activist, and performance student groups.[52] The Women's Center provides a space for programming and events concerning gender issues.[53] The LGBTQIA Resource Center serves queer students and their allies by providing a supportive space, resource library, social events, and educational programming. It also hosts several student organizations.[54] In August 2013, Campus Pride named Connecticut College one of the top 25 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities.[55]


The College's teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Camels are a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Men's sports include basketball, cross country, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, squash, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and water polo; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, sailing, soccer, squash, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball and water polo.[56]

Notable alumni

Connecticut College graduates of note include Bloomberg Businessweek senior national correspondent Joshua Green, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, New York Times best-selling authors Sloane Crosley, Hannah Tinti and David Grann, Academy Award-winning actress Estelle Parsons, fashion designer Peter Som, National Baseball Hall of Fame director Jeff Idelson, philanthropist Nan Kempner, President Donald Trump's former press secretary Sean Spicer, and Senior Federal District Judge Kimba Wood.



  1. As of June 30, 2017. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2016 to FY 2017". National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2017.
  3. "Residential Life" on the Connecticut College website
  4. "Majors and Minors" on the Connecticut College website
  5. "America's Top Colleges: Connecticut College". Forbes. July 30, 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 "Liberal Arts Rankings: Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. 2014.
  7. "History of Wesleyan University". Archived from the original on 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  8. "Connecticut College: Centennial video generates excitement". 2011-01-19. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  9. "Connecticut College: Centennial News: A History of Connecticut College: New London Raises $100,000". Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  10. "Connecticut College: Centennial News: The founding of Connecticut College". 2011-01-05. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  11. "A Modern History of New London County, Connecticut;, Volume 3, Page 163 | Document Viewer". 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  12. "Connecticut College Goes Fully Co-Ed"
  13. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  14. "Best Colleges 2017: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  15. "2016 Rankings - National Universities - Liberal Arts". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  16. "Admission Statistics". Connecticut College.
  17. "Liberal Arts Rankings: Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. 1999.
  18. "2017 Liberal Arts College Rankings". Washington Monthly.
  19. title=Connecticut College Connections homepage
  20. "Connecticut College revamps gen ed". Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  21. Connecticut College. "Connecticut College Internships and Student Research". Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  22. Connecticut College. "Connecticut College Fulbright Awards". Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  24. "About us" on the Connecticut College website
  25. "Blackstone House" on the Connecticut College website
  26. "Plant House" on the Connecticut College website
  27. "Libraries, Collections & Services". Connecticut College. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  28. "Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives". Connecticut College. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  29. "Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room". Connecticut College. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  30. "AIA New England 2015 Design Awards". AIAConnecticut. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  31. "Charles E. Shain Library New Landmark Libraries 2016 Winner". LibraryJournal. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  32. "The ultimate display for video walls". Christie. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  33. 1 2 3 4 "Charles E. Shain Library". Connecticut College. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  34. "Performance Spaces". Connecticut College. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  35. "Performance Spaces" on the Connecticut College website
  36. "American Dance Festival History"
  37. ""Eighth Sister No More": The Origins and Evolution of Connecticut College by Paul P. Marthers p. 163
  38. "Reserving Harkness Chapel". Connecticut College. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  39. "Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Connecticut". Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  40. "Self-Scheduled Exams" on the Connecticut College website
  41. "Honor Code" on the Connecticut College website
  42. "Diversity Demographics" (PDF). Connecticut College. Connecticut College. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  43. "Cost and Financial Aid". Connecticut College. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  44. "Clubs & Organizations" on the Connecticut College website
  45. "WCNI - FM 90.9 - New London, CT" on Streema
  46. "The College Voice". The College Voice. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  47. "About" on The College Voice website
  48. "Clubs and Organizations | Governance on the Connecticut College website
  49. "Rocking the Dot" from The College Voice
  50. Floralia: A Recent History Memories of the Past and Upcoming Excitement from The College Voice
  51. "Unity House" on the Connecticut College website
  52. "Unity-Affiliated Student Clubs" on the Connecticut College website
  53. ""The Women's Center"". Archived from the original on 2013-12-11.
  54. "LGBTQ Resource Center" Archived 2016-03-24 at the Wayback Machine. on the Connecticut College website
  55. Campus Pride Releases 2013 ‘Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Universities And Colleges’ Listing Unity House and the LGBTQIA Center are both staffed by full-time staff members.
  56. "Connecticut College Camels". Connecticut College. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
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