Lafayette College
MottoVeritas liberabit (Latin)
Motto in EnglishThe truth shall set you free.[1]
Endowment$556.9 million (2012) [2]
PresidentDaniel Weiss
Academic staff213 full-time members[3] campus = Suburban
110 acre (0.4 km²) main campus
and additional 230-acre (0.93 km2) athletic complex (0.9 km²)[4]
Undergraduates2,382 admission rate = 33% (2012) (54% male, 46% female)[5]
LocationEaston, PA, USA
ColorsMaroon and white

Lafayette College is a private coeducational liberal arts and engineering college located in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. The school, founded in 1826 by James Madison Porter, son of General Andrew Porter of Norristown and citizens of Easton, first began holding classes in 1832.[6] The founders voted to name the school after General Lafayette, who famously toured the country in 1824–25, as "a testimony of respect for [his] talents, virtues, and signal services...the great cause of freedom".[6] The student body, consisting entirely of undergraduates, comes from 37 U.S. states and 57 countries.[7]

In its 2013 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Lafayette 39th out of all liberal arts colleges in the nation,[8] while Barron's ranked it among the top 65 "Most Competitive" colleges and universities.[5] Lafayette is ranked 10th on Payscale's list of Top Liberal Arts Colleges by Salary Potential.[9] Lafayette is ranked 49th out of 650 undergraduate schools in the 2013 Forbes list of "America's Top Colleges." [10] Its 23 Division I sports teams participate in the Patriot League, with its football team claiming the league championship from 2004–2006 and the national championship in 1896, 1921, and 1926.[11]

On January 16, 2013, Dr. Alison R. Byerly was announced as Lafayette's 17th and first female President. She will replace Daniel Weiss, the current president, on July 1, 2013.[12]



A group of Easton citizens led by James Madison Porter met on December 27, 1824 at White's Tavern to explore the possibility of opening a college.[1] The recent visit of General Lafayette to New York during his grand tour of the US in 1824 and 1825 prompted the founders to name the school after the French military officer.[6] The group also established the 35-member Board of Trustees, a system of governance that has remained at the College since its inception.[1] In need of an education plan, the meeting gave the responsibility to Porter, lawyer Jacob Wagener, and Yale educated lawyer Joel Jones.[1] The charter gained approval and on March 9, 1826, Pennsylvania Governor John Andrew Shulze's signature made the college official.[1]

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 35 campus view.jpg

The school did not open until six years later when the Rev. George Junkin, a Presbyterian minister, took up the charter and moved the all-male Manual Labor Academy of Pennsylvania from Germantown to Easton.[6] Classes began on May 9, 1832, with the instruction of 43 students on the south bank of the Lehigh River in a rented farmhouse.[6] Students had to earn money to support the program by laboring in the fields and workshops.[6] Later that year, Lafayette purchased property on what is now known as "College Hill" – nine acres of elevated land across Bushkill Creek.[6] The College's first building was constructed two years later on the current site of South College.[6]

Church affiliationEdit

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 68 building.jpg

Lafayette became affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in 1854,[13] although recently the ending of this official relationship has been discussed.[14]

Francis MarchEdit

In 1857, Francis March became the first professor of English at an American college when Lafayette became the first college to implement the program of study.[6] His sons, Francis A. March Jr, was mayor of Easton and wrote Athletics at Lafayette College, while Peyton C. March, was the Chief of Staff of the United States Army following World War I.

Coeducational institutionEdit

In 1970, the college increased total enrollment after changing from an all-male school to a coeducational institution.[1]


In 2007, the college commemorated the 250th birthday of General Lafayette through a series of lectures and campus dedications.[15] Major festivities were held on September 6, 2007, Lafayette's birthday, and were kicked off the night before with a lecture by renowned historian David McCullough. Lafayette commemorates the recognition of the College Charter by the Pennsylvania Legislature on March 9, with a campus wide and alumni toast around the world.


File:Lafayette College Easton PA 24 lecture room.jpg

Lafayette's student body consists of 2,382 undergraduate students hailing from 37 U.S. States and 57 countries. For the class of 2012, the acceptance rate was 42%, with 59% of those accepted ranking in the top 10% of their high school classes.[16] The middle 50% of accepted students have SAT scores ranging from 570 - 670 Critical Reading and 600 - 710 Math, and ACT scores ranging from 26–30.[16] The college has 199 full-time faculty members, giving it an 11:1 student to faculty ratio. This ratio will decrease to 9:1 after the hiring of 35 new faculty members as part of the College's Strategic Planning Initiative.[5]

Lafayette students have been honored in recent years with national and international scholarships,[17] including the most Goldwater Scholarships obtained by a liberal arts college over the past six years.[18] For the class of 2012, Lafayette gave financial aid to 66% of the students, with the average package amounting to $26,850 for all students.[19] The college also offers a merit-based academic scholarship – the Marquis Scholarship, which provides $20,000 per year.[20] Lafayette's endowment is more than $580 million, with total assets amounting to more than $1 billion.[5]

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 43 building.jpg
File:Lafayette College Easton PA 60 Skillman Library.jpg

In its 2012 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Lafayette 40th out of all liberal arts colleges in the nation,.[8][21] In Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, a study of the best valued schools ranked Lafayette 14th among liberal arts colleges.[22] The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has ranked Lafayette as fifth among the nation’s 50 leading liberal arts colleges and universities in the percentage of full-time African American faculty members, and twelfth for first year black enrollment.[23]

The College offers 45 different Majors across four academic divisions: natural sciences, humanities, engineering, and social sciences. Most departments offer minors, and twelve interdisciplinary minors are also available. A.B. requirements allow students to double major or create a coordinate major in two departments.[24] Students declare their major during the second semester of their sophomore year.

The Policy Studies program, established in 2006, is an interdisciplinary major that allows students to better understand the design, management, and evaluation of policies and institutions.[25] The Policy Studies Program sponsors student events such as the Election Night Broadcast, where students reported the events of the 2006 mid-term election to the College, and also brings guest speakers to campus. Also new to the College is a Chinese language program which will offer classes on Chinese language and culture. Lafayette's Strategic Planning Initiative is also considering the possibility of introducing additional non-European language programs over time, including Arabic, Hindi, and Swahili.

Participation in U.S. News rankingsEdit

File:Lafayette College in Easton PA 3.jpg

Starting in the 2006–2007 academic year, President Daniel Weiss agreed to boycott the controversial Peer Assessment in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which accounts for 25% of a school's overall ranking.[26] Lafayette and eleven other colleges, working with Lloyd Thacker of the Education Conservancy, created a petition calling for a boycott of the reputational survey as well as a refusal to use the rankings to promote a college or to indicate its quality.[27] 63 college and university presidents have signed the letter. Lafayette College's ranking fell from #30 in 2007 to #34 in 2008.

University RankingsEdit

Publication Ranking
Forbes - Top Colleges 49
US News - National Liberal Arts Colleges 39

Campus overviewEdit



Lafayette College is settled at the top of College Hill in the rural town of Easton, Pennsylvania, located in the Lehigh Valley. The campus location is about 70 miles west of New York City and 60 miles north of Philadelphia. Its 340 acre campus houses 69 buildings, comprising approximately 1.76 million square feet, which includes a 230 acre athletic campus.[3]

Lafayette’s campus buildings range in architectural style from Pardee Hall’s Second Empire design and Hogg Hall’s Collegiate Gothic, to the late modern architecture of the Williams Center for the Arts, the William E. and Carol G. Simon Wing of Skillman Library and the Farinon College Center.[28]

Academic facilitiesEdit

The College's performing arts center is Williams Center for the Arts. Completed in 1983, the building houses the Performance Series, the Williams Art Gallery and College Collections, the College Theater program, the departments of art and music, and the student-led Arts Society.[29] The centerpiece of the Williams Center is the 400-seat theater/concert and also contains a versatile art gallery, a 100-seat black box theater, and classrooms and studios for music and art.[29]

Completed in 1873, Pardee Hall remains as one of the earliest edifice at Lafayete College.[30] Currently, Pardee holds most of Lafayette's humanities and social science departments. [30]

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 25 Library with tall shelves.jpg
File:Lafayette College Easton PA 26 staircase Kirby Hall.jpg

Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, the interior of which is constructed of travertine marble, was rumored to have been the most expensive collegiate building, per square foot, built at its time. The building was designed by the same architectural firm that designed New York City's Grand Central Terminal.

File:South College at Lafayette College.jpg

Farinon College Center, the student union, was architecturally inspired by the McKelvy House, a college-owned mansion just off campus. It is located in the original location of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, and the fireplace in the lobby is the original fireplace from the fraternity. While the top floor of Farinon is an "all-you-can-eat" style buffet paid for in blocks from a meal plan, the downstairs is a station-based food court in which students pay itemized fees for food. The dining area for the downstairs area also serves as the stage for comedy acts brought in by the Lafayette Activities Forum, the College's student-run activities committee.

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 30 campus view.jpg

Markle Hall, now the main administrative building, housing the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid, originally was designated the Hall of Mining Engineering. An online historical survey of campus buildings is maintained by the College's Special Collections.[31]

Gilbert's Cafe, a coffeehouse located on the ground floor of Kirby House, was opened in 1999 to provide a late-night hangout for students. Its name was the subject of a contest, and the winning student selected one of General Lafayette's middle names: Gilbert. In the fall of 2006, a sinkhole was discovered underneath Kirby House, and the much-beloved coffeehouse had to be closed during the spring semester. However, it was reopened for the subsequent fall semester. Gilbert's Cafe is the site of many open mic nights where student bands can perform for their classmates.

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 67 Skillman Library coffee area.jpg

Skillman Library underwent an extensive renovation from 2003 to 2005, and the building has won several awards, including the 2006 national honor award for interior architecture from the American Institute of Architects.[32]

Housing and student life facilitiesEdit

Lafayette College guarantees campus housing to all enrolled students.[33] The school requires students to live in campus housing unless approved for residing in private off-campus housing or home as a commuter.[33] The College offers on campus housing options including traditional halls, Greek chapter houses, suite-style halls, and group living units; where some halls are single gender while others may be co-ed by floor, wing, room, or suite. [34] In addition, Lafayette College provides specialty housings that ties to academic department, student organization, or religious program. [33] Such housing the school offers include the McKelvy House, the Arts Houses, the French/German House, Hispanic Society of Lafayette, and the Hillel House.[33]



Lafayette offers students an array of athletic opportunities, which includes 23 Division I sports, 18 club sports, and over 30 intramural sports.[35] The football team has made three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division I-AA football tournament. American football innovations at Lafayette include the first use of the huddle[36] and the invention of the head harness, precursor to the football helmet.[37] The men's basketball program also has a long history, peaking in the late nineties under the leadership of Fran O'Hanlon, who led the Leopards to back-to-back Patriot League championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1999 and 2000. These seasons were documented by John Feinstein in his book, The Last Amateurs.

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 31 Stadium.jpg

The RivalryEdit

Lafayette College's athletic program is notable for The Rivalry with nearby Lehigh University. Since 1884, the two football teams have met 147 times, making it the most played rivalry in the history of college football.[38] It is also the longest running rivalry in college football, with the teams playing at least once every year since 1897.[38] The Rivalry is considered one of the best in all of college athletics, and ESPNU recently ranked it #8 among the Top Ten College Football Rivalries.[39] The game is sold out long before gameday each year.

Lafayette leads the all-time series 76–67–5. In the latest contest, Lafayette lost to Lehigh on Saturday, November 17, 2012 by a score of 38–21 at Lafayette in Easton. Lafayette has lost the last five games.

Student lifeEdit

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 7 Student dorm room.jpg

Fraternities and sororitiesEdit

Lafayette has four fraternities including chapters of Delta Upsilon, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Phi Kappa Psi, and Zeta Psi. They also have six sororities including Alpha Phi, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, and Alpha Gamma Delta. All but two of those Greek organizations are located on campus. Approximately 25% of students participate in Greek Life at Lafayette, making it a viable living option. Members of each house commit themselves to various philanthropic ventures throughout the academic year.

Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity was founded in 1925 at Lafayette College by Frank Reed Horton in Hogg Hall (formerly Brainerd Hall). The organization still exists and continues what Frank Reed Horton started.

The Rho Chapter of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity is the oldest fraternity and the oldest student organization at Lafayette College, having been chartered on October 15, 1855. Among the chapter's alumni are Peyton C. March, U.S. Army Chief of Staff during World War I, and William E. Simon, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house was in Guinness World Records for a number of years as the largest free standing structure to undergo transportation.[citation needed] The "Old Grey Barn", as it is often called, is now located along March Field. It underwent a major interior renovation during the 2006–2007 academic year.

The Zeta Psi Fraternity House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.[40]


The Lafayette, Lafayette's weekly student newspaper, was founded in 1870 and is the oldest college newspaper in Pennsylvania.[41] It is available in both print and online form. The newspaper has been published continuously since its creation, with the exception of during World War II, when operations were suspended between fall 1943 and March 1945. Over 4,200 digitized issues of The Lafayette are available online.[41]

Engineers Without BordersEdit

File:Lafayette College Easton PA 47 campus view fence.jpg

The club was founded in 2003 and is a member of EWB-USA. Members of the club represent many disciplines in engineering and the liberal arts. The club is linked with rural villages in the Yoro region of Honduras. EWB's mission is to design and implement projects in these villages that help promote better life. The club has focused its efforts on water treatment systems.

El Convento, which is located in the Yoro district of central Honduras, will be the third sustainable water project EWB-LC students have worked on in the country since 2003 when the club was founded. The group has implemented gravity-fed water systems in neighboring Lagunitas and La Fortuna. In La Fortuna, the group utilized a slow sand filter in its system. The group’s previous work garnered national media exposure for being one of six national institutions to receive a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

WJRH 104.9FMEdit

The campus radio station, WJRH 104.9FM, first established licensure with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1946, broadcasting under a Class D educational license on 90.5 FM. As FM frequencies grew in demand, the FCC mandated that stations operating in the frequency range currently provided to WJRH increase their power to serve larger audiences. Since WJRH was only to serve the Lafayette community, it was decided to give the frequency to another facility and relocate to its current home frequency, 104.9.

The station is regularly being upgraded with the latest broadcasting technology. Several additions have included the relaunch of WJRH Broadband (a live Windows Media Player stream available to Lafayette students) and WJRH PC (an online database of MP3 Podcasts of select shows as part of an overall website renovation). WJRH has been housed for over 30 years in its current location, Hogg Hall.

Notable alumniEdit

File:William E Simon.jpg

Lafayette has produced many prominent businessmen, engineers, politicians, and other notable individuals including James McKeen Cattell, the first psychology professor; Vineyard Vines founder Ian Murray, member of the Zeta Psi fraternity; and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon. David K. McDonogh, of the Class of 1844, is argued by the College to be the first "legalized" slave ever to receive a college degree. In addition, the founders of the 1960s pop group The Cyrkle, guitarists Don Danneman and Tom Dawes, were graduates of Lafayette. F. Wilbur Gingrich, Class of 1923, became a well known Greek scholar, and is noted for translating and adapting the work of Walter Bauer’s Greek-German lexicon (Bauer lexicon) in collaboration with William F. Arndt. Leslie Wah-Leung Chung 鍾華亮, Class of 1948, Member of the Hong Kong Volunteers Defense Corps (義勇軍), wounded in action at Lei Yue Mun Fort (鯉魚門炮台), during the Japanese invasion in December 1941, became President of the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants’ Association 香港政府華員會 (1965–68), with contribution to the establishment of equal pay for men and women, including the right for married women to be permanent employees [42] [43][44][45][46] [47][48][49] Leonard Jeffries, a professor at CCNY, was president of a traditionally Jewish fraternity while he was a student at Lafayette College.[50] Jim Rosenhaus, broadcaster for the Cleveland Indians, also graduated from Lafayette College. Joe Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, went to Lafayette College and was a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity. The College has approximately 28,000 registered alumni.


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External links Edit

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