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Cedar Crest College
Cedar Crest College seal.png
MottoReligio, Libertas et Scientia (Latin)
Motto in EnglishDivinity, Liberty and Knowledge
TypeLiberal arts college
Religious affiliationUnited Church of Christ (historically related)
EndowmentUS $14.5 million[1]
PresidentElizabeth M. Meade
Academic staff92 full-time
Undergraduates1,800 students
LocationAllentown, Pennsylvania, United States
CampusSuburban, 84 acres (34 ha)
ColorsYellow and white          

Cedar Crest College is a private liberal arts women's college in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[2] At the start of the 2015-2016 academic year, the college had 1,301 undergraduates (628 traditional age, 673 adult) and 203 graduate students.[3] Men may pursue any master's degree, bachelor's degree, certification, and certificate program offered through evening and weekend study and are welcome to study nursing and nuclear medicine by day.[4]

Founded in 1867, the college is historically tied to the United Church of Christ, though it remains academically independent.[5]


The college's Bachelor of Arts and science programs span more than fifty majors. The curriculum also includes programs in Pre-Law, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine and Pre-Veterinary Medicine. In addition, Cedar Crest also offers master's degrees.[6][7][8] Undergraduate and graduate programs are also offered to adult students through the college's School of Adult and Graduate Education (SAGE).[9]

Performing arts


The Theatre major at Cedar Crest College is a holistic major that encompasses both technical experience and performance in the theatre field. First Fridays are offered starting in a student's sophomore year to allow collaboration between those in the Performing Arts majors. In their senior year, students complete their Senior Capstone Project which is meant to feature their work cumulatively throughout their four years at the college.[10]

The college stages four major stage productions which typically includes two musical productions and two straight plays. To feature the female students of the predominately women's college, productions chosen feature strong female leading, supporting, and ensemble roles with outside male performers from the surrounding Lehigh Valley community and beyond in any leading, supporting, or ensemble roles.[10]


Directors for mainstage productions vary, but faculty at the college include Technical Theatre Professor Kevin Gallagher and Professor Roxanne Amico.[11]


The department offers scholarships based on an audition on a Performing Arts Scholarship Day or submitted by video. These are typically $1,500 per year, four-year renewing scholarships, contingent on the student's participation in productions or classes within the Dance or Theatre majors.[12]


Cedar Crest is located off Cedar Crest Boulevard at 100 College Drive on the western edge of Allentown.[2] The 84-acre (34 ha) campus is adjacent to the city's Cedar Beach Park.[13]

Some campus buildings include:

Allen House

What is now known as the Allen House was built in 1927 and was originally home to college President William F. Curtis and his family. This building was later converted to a library and eventually to an office building named in honor of the late William and Roberta Ritter Allen '36, generous supporters of the College.

Blaney Hall Administration Building

Blaney Hall was named after President Dorothy G. Blaney. She was the president of Cedar Crest college for 17 years and championed the cause of elevating the education of women to the kinds of rigorous academic achievement once reserved only for men. She took over the Allentown women's college in October 1989 and gave it new stature and renewed vigor.During Blaney's tenure, the college's enrollment doubled from 700 to more than 1,400 students, the number of honor students rose 35 percent, and the endowment grew fourfold, from $1.2 million to $5.7 million, with a current goal of $3.5 million. For almost all her career at the 139-year-old school, she contributed opinion columns to The Morning Call, writing on women's and local issues.During the ceremony that made her Cedar Crest's 11th president, she told the crowd to "transform knowledge into wisdom and wisdom into action. We need to expand our minds to embrace the diversity of other cultures and the ideas of the world."

Donald P. Miller Family Building for Art, Science and Peace

On the anniversary of Donald P. Miller's death, the executive committee of Cedar Crest College's trustees announced that the school would name its planned $4 million art, science and health complex after his family. Miller, who died at age 89 from natural causes on Jan. 23, 1996, was The Morning Call's former publisher and chief executive officer. Over the years, the Miller family has provided funding and services to such Lehigh Valley institutions as the Allentown Public Library, the Allentown Art Museum, the Allentown Symphony, the Boy Scouts, the Phoebe Home, and Muhlenberg College, which is Donald Miller's alma mater.

Its ties to Cedar Crest College are deep. Miller was a college benefactor every year and for every campaign from the 1950s until he died. He was named a Cedar Crest honorary doctor of humane letters in 1968. The college's original location at 4th and Turner Streets in Allentown was previously the family homestead of Marjorie Wright Miller, Donald Miller's first wife. Marjorie Miller was a 1930 graduate of Cedar Crest who served on the Board of Trustees in the 1940s, '50s and '60s and was her class agent for decades. After she died in 1977, Miller honored her passion for poetry in 1980 through a memorial fund that helped establish the "Poet's Corner" inside the college's Cressman Library.[14]

Inside the Miller Building is the Harmon Hall of Peace, which was donated by Elaine Oberkotter Harmon '59 and her husband, John. In the building are five large flags representing the United States; the United Nations; Croatia, for Elaine Harmon's adopted son; Japan, because Elaine Harmon supported Japanese exchange students who attended Cedar Crest; and Ghana, the home country of the then-Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who dedicated the Miller Building and received an honorary degree from Cedar Crest. The Peace Pole, located directly outside of the Miller Building, is one of over 100,000 that exist in 60 countries as international symbols of peace. This pole represents the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in 12 different languages.

Harold and Miriam Oberkotter Center for Health and Wellness

The Harold and Miriam Oberkotter Center for Health and Wellness, a 10,000 square foot building on the western edge of the Cedar Crest campus, added much needed laboratory and classroom space. Since 2001, Cedar Crest has experienced a 50 percent increase in traditional-aged science and nursing students. The number of students interested in forensic science alone has increased tenfold since this program's inception in 2000. The lifelong learning population at Cedar Crest has increased as well. Since the launch of the evening weekend nursing program in 2000, the number of lifelong learning students who are nursing majors has increased more than 105 percent. The main features of the facility include the 100-seat, state-of-the-art, Berta and Harold Keen Multi-Media Classroom; faculty offices including one dedicated to Lorraine Clark Laicha and given by Tom and Stephanie Zimmerer, Ed.D. '72; a forensic science-biological science lab; a biochemistry lab; a student lounge and restrooms.[15]

Lees Hall and Fitness Center

Lees Hall is named in honor of Fortunetta Schlough Lees from the Class of 1897. The Basketball and Volleyball teams both compete in the gym which is located in Lees Hall. The athletic offices and Fitness Center are also located in Lees Hall. Lees has a seating capacity for athletic events for more than 300; for other events, 750. Other facilities in Lees Hall include a fitness center, athletic training room and offices for the athletic department staff. Fitness Center hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Starting in the Spring of 2014, Cedar Crest College will be updating its basketball court (design to be released).

File:Cedar Crest College south gate.JPG

Cedar Crest College South Gate, Class of 1922 senior gift

South Gate

The giving of gifts to the College by the senior class is a long-standing tradition at Cedar Crest. One of the most well-known senior class gifts is the South Gate. In 1922, when President William F. Curtis learned that the highway department planned to build another road near campus, the Class of 1922 agreed to fund construction of a new entrance, incurring an expense that would take them years to pay off. After the gate's completion at the south end of campus, the highway department changed its plans, so the entrance sat useless until 1972, when it was moved to the west end of campus on Cedar Crest Boulevard, during the presidency of Pauline Tompkins, as a fiftieth reunion surprise for the Class of 1922.

The Bell "Dorothy"

The bell is a sculpture by Toshiko Takaezu that resides on the quad, in a garden that was built by the Trustees in 2005 to honor Dorothy Gulbenkian Blaney's presidency. The bell, named Dorothy, was donated by the internationally renowned sculptor to honor President Blaney. It was the first bell that Toshiko ever named. It is meant to have a calming effect and is rung at Open Door Ceremony and at the 50th Reunion memorial service.


The quad is the grassy area that flows from the front of Blaney Hall, surrounded by Hartzel Hall, Allen House, Cressman Library, Moore Hall, Curtis Hall and Butz Hall. The quad features Abe and Tretchie's Place, a gazebo that was donated by the Board of Trustees in memory of Abram Samuels and in honor of his wife, Tretchie.

Spirit Rock

In Keeping with the tradition of presenting the College with a senior class gift, the Class of 2013, in addition to raising over $6,000 for the Cedar Crest Fund, donated the Spirit Rock to start a new tradition on campus. This rock is meant to provide luck to all who rub it. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to touch the rock for luck during orientation and it is placed strategically so that all graduating seniors can touch it for luck on their way into the graduation tent. An inscription on the plaque reads: "If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life."

Tompkins College Center

The most notable feature of the Tompkins College Center (TCC) is its floor-to-ceiling windows that frame park-like views of the Cedar Crest campus. The TCC was named for Pauline Tompkins, Cedar Crest president from 1967-1978, and is primarily the student union, featuring the Falcon's Nest, the post office, lounge areas, Samuels Theatre and meeting spaces. A generous estate gift of $3.5 million from Verna Orcurto Canova '38 provided for renovations to the dining hall area in January 2015.[16]

Wishing Steps

Between Allen House and the Cressman Library is an area dedicated to the College's historic wishing steps. Over 50 years ago, Cedar Crest women walked with their sweethearts, often men from Lehigh, Lafayette and Muhlenberg, through the woods behind campus, leading to what is now the Allentown Rose Garden. These woods affectionately became known as "Proposal Park" because legend had it that if a student and her date counted the same number of steps while walking to the park and sealed your wish with a kiss, she would get a proposal at the end. The Wishing Steps were ranked number 10 on the list of 25 Most Romantic College Traditions by College Ranker in 2015.[17]

Other buildings

Other campus buildings include Cressman Library, Dorothy Rider Pool Science Center, Alumnae Hall for Art and Performing Arts, and Rodale Aquatic Center for Civic Health.[18] Additional classroom and faculty buildings include Hartzel Hall, Curtis Hall and Hamilton Boulevard Building.[18][19] The college also has four residence halls: Butz Hall, Moore Hall, Steinbright Hall and the upper level of Curtis Hall.[20]

Cedar Crest's collection of 140 species of trees is designated as the William F. Curtis Arboretum, which is registered with the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.[18] The arboretum is named for the college's seventh president, who after purchasing the property in 1915, beautified the campus by planting flowers, shrubs and trees from all over the world.[21]

The campus is also the site of the Da Vinci Science Center, an independent science demonstration facility that opened in 2005.[22]

Global Initiatives and International Programs

The office of Global Initiatives and International Programs at Cedar Crest College has been in existence since August 2010. It handles everything from study abroad to international student services, to international partnerships with institutions overseas. Moreover, the office manages all matters related to campus internationalization, international scholarships, and internationalization of the curriculum.

Office services

The Global Initiatives and International Programs office advises students who are interested in studying abroad . Cedar Crest also runs some short-term study abroad programs to places like Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Guyana, England, Ireland and Korea. Cedar Crest also has exchange programs with universities in Sweden, Germany and Korea. Cedar Crest students are also able to take study abroad programs through outside organizations or universities.

School history with international students

Japanese students attended Cedar Crest College in the 1930s. The college also had a local donor who sponsored international students in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Cedar Crest College had an exchange program with Turkey in the 1940s, and by the early 1950s, it had several students from China, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, India and other countries.


Cedar Crest has 32 students on F-1 visas, and other international students on other types of visa. A considerable number of students are originally "international" students but are U.S. green card holders or U.S. citizens and therefore don’t count as international students in terms of visa status.


Cedar Crest, known athletically as the Falcons, competes in NCAA Division III athletics and has teams in basketball, cross country running, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, swimming, and volleyball. In addition, the Rodale Aquatic Center on campus is home to the college's swimming team. Cedar Crest also has club sports in cheerleading and equestrian.

During the 2007 season, the Cedar Crest Falcons tennis team placed 4th in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC), now known as the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC). The team also broke two school records, one for the most wins in a season (12) and one for the most PAC wins (7). The team's record was 12-3. Coach Lynn Pigliacampi is two games away from becoming Cedar Crest's winningest tennis coach. Pigliacampi played both at local Easton Area High School (class of 1999), where she was undefeated, and at Division I Drexel University. Her father, Jules Pigliacampi, is an assistant coach. The United States Tennis Association named her Coach of the Year in 2008.[23]

Cedar Crest's Falcons basketball team finished the 2008-09 season at 13-11 overall and 8-8 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. The team posted more conference victories than in the previous nine seasons combined, earning a CSAC playoff berth for the first time in a decade. Head coach Valerie Donohue (Cedar Crest, '95) led the Falcons in tying the school record of 13 season wins set in 1998-99, the last time the team made the playoffs. The 6th-seeded Falcons beat Centenary College's women in the 2009 tournament's opening round.[24] Donohue was subsequently named the Colonial States Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Coach of the Year.

During the 2013-2014 athletic season, Cedar Crest College enjoyed success on all levels. Jamie Wojiechowski was named CSAC Rookie of the Year, Field hockey goalkeeper Kaitlyn Brendlinger was named the NCAA D-III Statistical Champion in saves per game. Margaret "Maggie" Olock was awarded the conference Rookie and Swimmer of the Year in February 2014.

Hall of Fame

In the spring of 2013, the Cedar Crest College Athletic Department inducted five individuals and one team into their Hall of Fame. The Class of 2013 included Cynthia Blaschak, Gracia Perilli, Jane Tyler Ward, Lisa Tinucci Barnett, and Megumi Yokoyama. Also inducted was the 1997 PAC Championship lacrosse team. The nominees for the Class of 2014 included Nellie Manges, Jacqueline J. Sham, Robyn Kulp, Heidi Bright Butler, and Mari Gillespie Whalen.

Cynthia L. Blaschak Softball Field

In the spring of 1997, Cynthia L. Blaschak made a donation to Cedar Crest to build a softball field. This was done as part of her support of the new NCAA Division III varsity softball team that was beginning their season that year. Blaschak was a student athlete herself while attending Cedar Crest. She participated in both basketball and badminton.


  • Big Sis/Lil Sis: For over 80 years, the Big Sis/Lil Sis program has been a beloved tradition at Cedar Crest College. This program has long-standing success in helping first year students adjust to the challenges of college life. The program combines social events, educational opportunities and chances for first year students to join the unique traditions of the school. During the summer, the Big Sis/Lil Sis Committee pairs incoming first-year students (littles) with returning, upperclass students (bigs). It is a duty as well as a privilege for the Big Sister to help her Little Sister adjust to college life. Sisters meet during August orientation and attend several events together during the year, including Dink Donut Night. Dinks are designed of various materials and are often representative of the student's likes, talents, or passions. On Dink Donut Night, the little sisters participate in a runway show and compete for the best dink while enjoying donuts with their big sisters and classmates.
  • Strawberry Festival: Since 1913, the Strawberry Festival has been a tradition at Cedar Crest for all incoming students. The entire campus enjoys refreshments including strawberries and whipped cream, chocolate covered strawberries, and strawberry lemonade. The event is held on the front lawn of the President's home.
  • Open Door Ceremony: This tradition started in 1923 during the presidency of William F. Curtis. While the actual process changes slightly each year, the sentiment of this tradition - that Cedar Crest welcomes students through its doors with open arms - remains the same. New students exit through the front doors of Blaney Hall and announce their names and hometowns to the college community. As they descend the steps, the students are given welcome gifts from the Student Affairs staff and the Alumnae Association, and add their name to the registry of students who came before them.
  • Junior Ring Ceremony: Having been celebrated for more than 70 years, the Junior Ring Ceremony is one of the College's most beloved traditions. Each year, juniors are presented with their class rings by the President or the Dean of Students as a confirmation of their commitment to the Cedar Crest community. Since 1965, the rings' design has not changed from the white or yellow gold ring with a large oval onyx carved with three interlaced C's. As a result, many students have rings identical to those of their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. During the ceremony, juniors wear black and are presented with yellow roses by their friends, families and Cedar Crest sisters.

Notable alumnae

  • Jane Amsterdam, editor of Manhattan, inc. and the New York Post[25]
  • Rita Kogler Carver, theater and lighting designer
  • Judy McGrath '74 - former CEO of MTV Networks[26]
  • Suzanne Fisher Staples - author and international news reporter[27]
  • Dr. Blenda Wilson '62 - former Chancellor of California State University-Northridge and University of Michigan[28]

Notable faculty

  • Chrystelle Trump Bond, American dancer, choreographer, and dance historian
  • Fred Benjamin Gernerd - former Congressman and former Cedar Crest trustee
  • Frank Reed Horton - first national president of Alpha Phi Omega; former professor
  • Diane Moyer - former Olympic field hockey player; current associate professor in the psychology department
  • Barton C. Shaw - historian
  • Pauline Tompkins - first female president of Cedar Crest College

See also

  • List of historic places in Allentown, Pennsylvania


  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 5, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Cedar Crest College website". Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  3. Williams, Lyn (2015-10-01). "Cedar Crest College Fall Fact Sheet". Cedar Crest College.
  4. "Cedar Crest College Catalog • The Center for Lifelong Learning Overview".
  5. "United Church of Christ website". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  6. "College Profile: Cedar Crest College" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  7. "Cedar Crest College Catalog • 2015-2016".
  8. "Graduate Catalog Issue for 2008-2009" (PDF). Allentown, Pennsylvania: Cedar Crest College. 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  9. "Cedar Crest College: An Adult Student's Guide" (PDF). Cedar Crest College Center for Lifelong Learning. August 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-27.[dead link]
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Performing Arts".
  11. "Performing Arts - Faculty".
  12. "Performing Arts – Scholarship Opportunities".
  13. "Virtual Campus Tour". Allentown, Pennsylvania: Cedar Crest College. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  14. "Cedar Crest Will Honor Late Publisher * College Will Name Complex After Donald P. Miller Family.". Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  15. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}".
  16. "Canova Commons: Dining Hall Renovation".
  17. "The 25 Most Romantic College Traditions - College Ranker" (in en-US).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "Campus Facilities". 2007-2008 Catalog. Cedar Crest College. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  19. "Cedar Crest College Celebrates Official Opening of New Facility". News Release. Cedar Crest College. October 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-27.
  20. "Housing lottery nears: Residence halls revealed" (PDF). The Crestiad. March 29, 2007. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  21. "William F. Curtis Arboretum: Mission/History". Cedar Crest College. Archived from the original on 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  22. "Da Vinci Science Center website". Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  23. Messner, Sara (November 20, 2008). "Pigliacampi named College Coach of the Year". The Crestiad (Allentown, Pennsylvania: Cedar Crest College) 90 (10): p. 1. Retrieved 2009-05-02. "Along with the USTA Coach of the Year Award, L. Pigliacampi is also Cedar Crest's winningest tennis coach with a record of 37-26 overall which tops Cedar Crest's previous tennis coach, Mikki Smith (1996-1999) who had a record of 29-28. (Records date back to 1993.)"
  24. "Colonial States Athletic Conference - Women's Basketball CSAC, NCAA & ECAC Championship Information". Colonial States Athletic Conference. March 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  25. Kasindorf, Jeanie (May 30, 1988). "The Amsterdam News". New York: 40–44.
  26. "Cedar Crest College Profile". Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  27. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2015-07-07.
  28. "Blenda J. Wilson, Ph.D.". Retrieved 17 February 2016.

External links

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40°35′13″N 75°31′08″W / 40.587, -75.519