Susquehanna University
MottoAchievement, Leadership, Service
TypePrivate, Lutheran-affiliated university
Endowment$119.5 million (2012) [1]
PresidentL. Jay Lemons
Academic staff120
LocationSelinsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA
Campussmall town,
306 acres (124 ha)
NewspaperThe Crusader
ColorsOrange and Maroon          
Athletics24 varsity teams
NCAA Division III

Susquehanna University is a private liberal arts university situated in the Susquehanna Valley in the town of Selinsgrove, in central Pennsylvania, United States. It was founded in 1856 by Benjamin Kutz as a Lutheran based junior college paired with a sister college, before becoming coeducational in 1873 and a full a four year institution in the early 1900s. The university consists of the School of Arts and Sciences and the AACSB International accredited Sigmund Weis School of Business, and offers more than 50 major emphases, along with pre-professional programs in dentistry, law, medicine, ministry, teaching, and veterinary medicine. Degrees offered include the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science.[2] Susquehanna University enrolls more than 2,200 undergraduate students from 35 states and 17 countries, and maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1. Additionally, the university offers more than 100 student organizations, has a large Greek culture, and 23 NCAA III intercollegiate sports.[2] As a unique feature, all students participate in a cross-cultural study away and service learning experience known as a Go Program.[3]


Founding and Early YearsEdit

File:Missionary Institute - Selinsgrove Hall by M.R. Hemperley circa 1863.jpg

Susquehanna University was founded in 1858 as The Missionary Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church by Benjamin Kurtz. Having already assisted in the founding of the Gettysburg Seminary (now Gettysburg College), Kurtz wanted to create another institution in effort to expand a form of American Lutheranism that he and his contemporaries Samuel Simon Schmucker, founder and first president of Gettysburg College, and Samuel Sprecher, second president of Wittenberg College, advocated. His mission was to “educate men for the gospel ministry … who cannot take a full course of training adapted to their age and circumstances; a course so thorough in Theology as will qualify them to be able and faithful ministers of Christ.” The Missionary Institute first saw its realization when the American Lutherans of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania pledged $22,000, fifty students, and the provisional use of its church facilities.[4] However, their offer came with the stipulation that the Missionary Institute be expanded to a junior college, and that a sister college called Susquehanna Female College also be formed. Kurtz’s own personal mission would be the foundation of the institute’s Theology Department, which he led as the first Professor of Theology. The school’s official description, as red in official founding charter, was “An American and Lutheran College.”[5]

File:Drawing of the Susquehanna Female College, circa 1859.jpg

On Wednesday, September 1, 1858, the Missionary Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and its sister college Susquehanna Female College were born and later legally recognized 23 days later. Benjamin Kurtz was officially recognized as the first President. At the time of its founding, it had two departments, the Theology Department headed by Benjamin Kurtz and Henry Ziegler, and the Classical Department. By 1873, the sister college disbanded and the Institute became coeducational. Twenty two years later, in 1895, the institute officially became known as Susquehanna University.[6]

20th CenturyEdit

The 20th century signified many changes within Susquehanna University. The school had just recently transitioned into a full four year college offering bachelor degrees, and changed its name to Susquehanna University five years prior to the new century. Notable benefactors of the university during the turn of the century were Samuel Seibert and Charles Steele, both of which would have buildings named after them.[7] In 1903, the board approved SU’s colors, orange and maroon.[8]

By the 1920s, student enrollment skyrocketed, accommodations were refurbished and the campus expanded, academic departments and offerings enhanced, and new benefactors such as Charles Fischer and Martin Hassinger emerged, both of which also have buildings named after them.[9]

Organization and AdministrationEdit

Susquehanna University is split into two main academic departments, the School of Arts and Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business. The School of Arts and Sciences offers the majority of majors, putting an emphasis on a more traditional liberal arts education including science and the humanities.[10] The Sigmund Weis School of Business is gear towards a more technical degree, although most students in the department are required to take classes from the School of Arts and Sciences by the central curriculum.[11] Interdisciplinary programs themselves are collaborative in nature, but fall ultimately within the governance of the School of Arts and Sciences.[12]

Susquehanna University is governed by the President of Susquehanna University, a governing body of 56 members, and a team of eight administrators.[13]


File:Selinsgrove Hall Oct 09.JPG

Susquehanna University is a small, liberal arts college based in rural central Pennsylvania. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In addition, the university’s business school is accredited by AACSB International, its music department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, and its chemistry department is accredited by the American Chemical Society.[14] The university offers more than 50 majors and minors, and gives students the freedom to design their own major.[15] Additionally, cooperative programs with Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University, Duke University and ROTC are available for students looking to enter pre-med, dentistry, forestry and environmental management, or military service, respectfully.[16]

In order to emphasize a liberal arts education, all students must complete a Central Curriculum that includes course requirements in the following sections: Richness of Though, Natural World, Human Interactions, Intellectual Skills, and Connections. These courses make up around 40% of a student’s graduation requirement.[17]


US News & World Report ranks Susquehanna University the 124th best liberal arts college out of 266 liberal arts colleges in the United States.[18] In 2010, Washington Monthly ranked Susquehanna University the 53rd best liberal arts college in the United States[19] and 61st best liberal arts college in 2011.[20] The Princeton Review ranks Susquehanna University as a Best Northeastern College, with the 17th most popular study abroad program, the 20th best health services, and the 12th easiest campus to get around.[21]

GO ProgramEdit

The GO Program, as part of a school policy adopted in 2009, requires all Susquehanna students go off-campus for cross-cultural learning at some point during their four years, most often outside of the country. Students have a choice between GO Short Programs, GO programs 2 to 3 weeks in length, or GO Long Programs, semester long programs overseas.[3] In 2013, the GO Program was awarded the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education, due in part to its emphasis on internationalizing the campus [22]

Semester-length (GO Long) opportunities embrace learning opportunities in destinations around the globe, and include semesters in The Gambia at the University of the Gambia, Macau at the University of Macau, Japan at Senshu University, and England at the Regent's American College London.[23] Other programs in South America, Europe, Africa Southeast Asia and Australia like Travel Writing in South Africa, Sherpa Life and Culture in Nepal, Performance and Design in Post-Communist Prague, and SU CASA (Central America Service Adventure) are also popular among Susquehanna students who decide to choose GO Long or GO Short.[24] The GO Short program, SU CASA, is an award-winning[25] program that takes students to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to serve congregations, clinics, hospitals, and refugee and immigrant communities.[26] The New Orleans Culture and Service: Hurricane Relief Team GO Short program remains closer to home, coordinating service trips to the Gulf Coast to aid in the post-Katrina rebuilding efforts.[27]

One of the biggest draws of the SWSB School of Business is the GO Long SWSB London Program. The program is coordinated with the business school to allow students to enroll in a full semester with full non transfer credits, while living in and attending classes in London. The program also includes trips to various multinational companies and cultural activities in the United Kingdom and the Western and Central Europe.[28]


The current total cost of attendance for the 2013-14 year is $49,170: $38,780 in tuition and fees and $10,390 for room and meal plan. However, around 95% of students receive some form of financial aid. The total amount awarded for the 2011-12 year numbered more than $56 million, and was handed out in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and Federal Work-Study programs.[29]


File:Susquehanna University path.jpg

The Susquehanna University campus spans 325 acres (132 ha) in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. There are more than 50 buildings on campus, two of which, Selinsgrove Hall and Seibert Hall, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[30] The campus architecture is primarily Georgian in style.[clarification needed]

File:Seibert Hall Oct 09.JPG

Students are guaranteed housing all four years.[citation needed] Most students live on campus. Students can choose from traditional, corridor-style halls, suites, townhouses, apartments and family-style houses, each requiring no more than a 10- minute walk to class.[citation needed]

Natural sciences centerEdit

The newest addition to the Susquehanna campus is a $32-million complex that houses Susquehanna’s biology, chemistry and earth and environmental science programs.[citation needed] The building has been designed to meet or exceed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards.[citation needed] The 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) building was dedicated on October 23, 2010.[31]

Student LifeEdit

Susquehanna University offers more than 100 student organizations, including a variety of religious life organizations and cultural interest groups.[citation needed] Examples include such international organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, SU Paranormal, and GeoClub. The performing arts are represented through several theater, dance and music programs.[citation needed] The theater department also hosts a student-run play each semester.[citation needed]

The university's student-run newspaper, The Crusader, covers campus events, activities, and athletics, and provides a forum for the opinions of members of the campus community.[citation needed]

WQSU, The Pulse, is the college's 12,000-watt station, making it the third most powerful college station and the tenth most powerful non-commercial station in Pennsylvania.[citation needed] Broadcasts can be heard at a 70-mile radius, which is approximately one-third of the state of Pennsylvania.[citation needed] The station is operated by students, faculty and staff as well as community volunteers, and features a wide variety of music and talk programs including regularly scheduled Associated Press news broadcasts.[citation needed]

Susquehanna's on-campus, student-run night club is TRAX, which offers a stage for live bands, comedians and other performers as well as a dance floor, bar, pool tables, an outside patio, and a DJ booth.[citation needed] TRAX also hosts benefit concerts for different philanthropies and Greek organizations.[citation needed]

Susquehanna University also has Charlie's Coffeehouse, a student-run café on campus, named after the university's benefactor, Charles Degenstein.[citation needed] Students work as baristas, while the management team consists of five students who are responsible for the coffee shop's finances, marketing, programming, stocking, and managerial duties.[citation needed] This non-alcoholic venue offers a variety of programming every night of the week, much of which centers on student performances or events.[citation needed] Charlie's also works in partnership with the student activities committee to bring in outside entertainers and host movies before they are released to the general public.[citation needed]

Greek lifeEdit

Nearly 36 percent of the undergraduate student population is active in Greek life on campus. There are four NPC sororities (Alpha Delta Pi, Kappa Delta, Sigma Kappa and Zeta Tau Alpha), four NIC fraternities (Phi Mu Alpha, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Theta Chi, Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Mu Delta), and two NPHC organizations (Sigma Gamma Rho and Phi Beta Sigma). There is also a professional women's music organization (Sigma Alpha Iota) and one co-ed service fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega).

Volunteer programsEdit

Susquehanna University has a strong reputation for civic engagement in the community, with an average of 20,000 hours of service logged every academic year.[citation needed] The Center for Civic Engagement runs a first-year student service event titled SU GIVE, or Get Into Volunteer Experiences, during the fall orientation.[citation needed] Additionally, Susquehanna offers three trips to the Gulf Coast region each year to assist with hurricane relief efforts.[citation needed]


American School Search gives Susquehanna University a grade of D- for safety.[32] The small campus had seven forcible sex offences as well as 18 assaults and two hate crimes reported between the years 2006 and 2008.[33] College Prowler gives Susquehanna University an A for health and safety. College Prowler lists one aggravated assault, seven burglaries, two robbery incidents and three sex offenses.[34]


Susquehanna competes in 23 varsity sports in Division III of the NCAA. Most sports compete as part of the Landmark Conference with other Northeastern colleges. Susquehanna competes in the Centennial Conference for football and women's golf and the Empire 8 for men's golf.[citation needed] Cheerleading is Susquehanna's 24th varsity team.[citation needed]

Susquehanna offers 14 intramural sports which are free of charge to all students. Both flag football and basketball league winners advance to national tournaments.[citation needed] Students may also join several club sports — including men's and women's rugby, men's ice hockey, ultimate Frisbee, men's volleyball and men's and women's crew — that compete against other colleges.[citation needed]

The Goal Post Trophy goes to the winner of the annual football game with rival Juniata College.[citation needed] It is a section of goal post from the post that was torn down after the 1952 Juniata-Susquehanna game.[citation needed] The visiting Indians (now Eagles) upset the Crusaders in Selinsgrove, and Juniata fans tore down the goal post after the game.[citation needed] At roughly 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, it is one of the tallest trophies in college football.[citation needed]

Susquehanna also plays Lycoming College for the Amos Alonzo Stagg's hat (bronzed) trophy.[35]

Susquehanna University was the focus of attention when it suspended 11 athletes from their teams after they produced an "internet parody video". based on the "Harlem Shake." [36][37] The students were given a plan of action outlining the pathway to reinstatement to their teams.[38]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. As of June 30, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "About Susquehanna University". Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Study Away and Service Learning". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  4. Housley, Donald (2007). Susquehanna University 1858-2000: A Goodly Heritage. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-57591-112-0. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  5. Housley, Donald (2007). Susquehanna University 1858-2000: A Goodly Heritage. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-1-57591-112-0. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  6. Housley, Donald (2007). Susquehanna University 1858-2000: A Goodly Heritage. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. pp. 29–30. ISBN 978-1-57591-112-0. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  7. Housley, Donald (2007). Susquehanna University 1858-2000: A Goodly Heritage. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. pp. 105–125. ISBN 978-1-57591-112-0. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  8. Housley, Donald (2007). Susquehanna University 1858-2000: A Goodly Heritage. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-57591-112-0. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  9. Housley, Donald (2007). Susquehanna University 1858-2000: A Goodly Heritage. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses. pp. 157–165. ISBN 978-1-57591-112-0. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  18. "Best Colleges – National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013..
  19. "Best Colleges – National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". Washington Monthly. 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2013..
  20. "Best Colleges – National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2013..
  21. "Susquehanna University". The Princeton Review. 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013..
  22. "Institute of International Education". Institute of International Education. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  23. "GO Long Programs". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  24. "GO Short Programs". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  25. "Student Affairs Administrators in Higer Education". Sixth Annual Best Practices Award-Student Philanthropy. NASPA. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  26. "GO Short: Central & South America". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  27. "GO Short: United States/North America". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  28. [https:// "London Program"]. https:// Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  30. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
  35. "Amos Alonzo Stagg Trophy". Lycoming Tops SU, 37-23, Keeps "Stagg Hat.". Susquehanna University. 2009-09-19.

External linksEdit

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