Connecticut College is a selective coeducational private liberal arts college located in New London, Connecticut. It is located on the Thames River, on which the College's crew and sailing teams practice. Connecticut College's riverside location and its wooded campus are reflected in the College seal.
Connecticut College's fourth strategic plan (2004) introduced the College's new mission statement: Connecticut College educates students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society.
History and overview
Chartered in 1911 as a women's college, Connecticut College began admitting men in 1969. The founding of the college was a response to Wesleyan University's decision to stop admitting women. Female Wesleyan alumnae, notably Elizabeth C. Wright, convinced others to found this new college, espousing the increasing desire amongst women for higher education. Several large gifts of land gave the college its hilltop location overlooking Long Island Sound. Financial assistance from the city of New London, its residents, and a number of wealthy benefactors gave the college its initial endowment. According to an Oct. 12, 1935 article in the Hartford Daily Times, marking the College's 20th anniversary:
"On September 27, 1915, on this beautiful site, 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. It was an auspicious start for this new undertaking."
Connecticut College has been continuously accredited since 1932 by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In a typical year, the College enrolls about 1,900 men and women from 40-45 states, Washington D.C., and 40-45 countries. Approximately forty percent of students are men. 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.
Students live under the College's 84-year-old student-adjudicated Honor Code and without a Greek system. The Honor Code, which distinguishes Connecticut College from its peers, 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.
According to The Princeton Review 2005 and Campus Compact, Connecticut College is one of the nation’s best colleges for fostering social responsibility and public service. A January 2006 ranking noted that Connecticut College is among the 25 top small colleges in terms of the number of graduates who serve in the Peace Corps.
Connecticut College is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship List, the Annapolis Group and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).
A reciprocal exchange agreement with the United States Coast Guard, allows cadets from the nearby USCG Academy to take some courses at the college, while Connecticut College students may take courses at the Academy.
- The College received an all-time high 4,741 applications for the Class of 2011 (the entering fall 2007 class). 34% of these applicants were accepted with a combined SAT score mean of 1360-1380 out of 1600 (690-700 in Reading and 670-680 in Math)
- In "America's Best Colleges 2009" published by U.S. News and World Report, Connecticut College was ranked 42th out of 215 national liberal arts colleges. In subcategories, the College was ranked No. 28 for graduation and retention rates, No. 41 for financial resources, and No. 55 for admission selectivity. In the Washington Monthly's 2007 rankings, Connecticut College ranked 33 out of 201 institutions.
- Connecticut College had 171 full-time professors in Academic Year 2007-08; 90 percent hold a doctorate or equivalent. All classes are taught by professors. The student-faculty ratio is below 10:1.
- For the 2007-08 academic year, domestic students of color accounted for about 13.0% of all full-time and part-time students. International students accounted for about another 4.4% of the student body. The countries from which the most international students come are Turkey, China, Bulgaria, Germany, and India.
The College offers more than 1,000 courses in 29 academic departments and 7 interdisciplinary programs, and students can choose from 54 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. About 30% of Connecticut College students graduate with double majors. The most common double-major combinations are Government/History, Economics/International Relations, and Economics/Government, but graduates in recent years have also chosen interdisciplinary combinations such as Art/Computer Science, Film Studies/Latin American Studies, Biological Sciences and Religious Studies, and Art History/Italian.
The College's First-Year Seminar Program provides student-faculty engagement in a small, intellectually stimulating setting in their first semester.
Connecticut College has four Interdisciplinary Centers that administer certificate programs, plus a fifth center that facilitates the teaching and researching of race and ethnicity across the curriculum. If accepted into one of the College's four certificate programs, students of any major complete a self-designed series of courses that relate to their academic interest, complete a College-funded summer internship, and complete an integrative project in their senior year. These four centers routinely attract the College's best students and are a model for the kinds of integrated educational pathways the College offers its students.
- Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology (CAT) Through the Ammerman Center, faculty and students can shape the study, use and creation of new technologies, probe the forefront of their fields and work in new markets with innovative products.
- Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA) The CISLA mission is to encourage students to become public intellectuals: those who are politically concerned, socially engaged, and culturally sensitive and informed. CISLA prepares them to internationalize their majors and become responsible citizens in a global community.
- Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy (PICA) The Holleran Center orchestrates College and community resources to build on assets, respond to needs, and facilitate community revitalization and problem solving.
- Goodwin-Niering Center for Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies (CCBES) The Goodwin-Niering Center is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program that builds on one of the nation's leading undergraduate environmental studies programs. The Center fosters research, education, and curriculum development aimed at understanding contemporary ecological challenges. The Center is named in honor of Richard H. Goodwin, Katharine Blunt Professor Emeritus of Botany, and William A. Niering, Lucretia L. Allyn Professor Emeritus of Botany. Professor Goodwin was among the early leaders of the Nature Conservancy, serving as its president from 1956-58 and 1964-66.
- Students can earn Connecticut teacher certification and certificates in the College's Museum Studies program.
- Between 50 and 55% of the student body studies abroad at some point during their four years. Connecticut College offers several ways for students to study abroad, including traditional study away programs, semester-long Study Away, Teach Away (SATA) programs, and shorter Traveling Research and Immersion Programs] (TRIPs) that are typically related to specific courses.
- Many opportunities for conventional study abroad are available, as well as the special programs CISLA (one of the academic centers), which allows students to "internationalize" their major, and SATA (Study Away Teach Away), in which a Connecticut College professor takes a small group of students for a semester to a country that the professor has experience with, and there the students take classes at a local university, and one with the Conn professor.
- Students' classroom learning at Connecticut College is supplemented by a wide variety of service learning courses and volunteer work in the New London area. Many of these opportunities are coordinated by the Office of Volunteers for Community Service. OVCS facilitates student involvement in the community by running the Camel Van shuttle service, which transports students to and from sites in the area.
- 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.
- Connecticut College graduating seniors are regularly awarded prestigious fellowships and grants such as the U.S. Student Fulbright Program grant and Watson Fellowship. In 2008, five Connecticut College graduates received Fulbright grants.
Campus and facilities
The main campus has three residential areas. North Campus contains the newest residential halls (Morrisson, Wright, Lambdin, Park, Johnson -- formerly Marshall -- and Hamilton, collectively known as "The Plex"), all of which are connected to each other and Harris Dining Hall. South Campus contains residence halls along the side of Tempel Green (Harkness, Addams, Freeman, and Knowlton), across from several academic buildings. Central Campus contains the oldest residence halls (Windham, Warnshuis, Burdick, Smith, Larrabee, Plant, Branford, Blackstone, Blunt, and Lazrus) and is the closest to the student center and the library. Students also have several less traditional housing options, including the 360 Apartments, River Ridge Apartments, Earth House, and Abbey House. A few students also live off-campus in New London or Waterford.
The College's science facilities include a rooftop observatory, lab for NMR spectroscopy, a digital transmission electron microscope, a scanning electron microscope, a greenhouse, a channel flow laboratory, and a GIS lab. Its computer facilities include standard UNIX and PC labs as well as specialized labs in robotics, networks, virtual reality and digital signal processing. The robotics lab is equipped with Sun workstations, PCs, robots, and overhead cameras. The virtual reality and signal processing lab (which is also part of the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology) has high-end graphics PCs, head-mounted displays, 3-D trackers, force feedback devices, spatialized audio devices, and software for producing high-end animations and graphics.
The departments of the fine arts are located in three places around campus. The Cummings Arts Center contains two concert halls, the Center for Electronic and Digital Sound, pianos, practice rooms, a pipe organ. The Art and Music departments and their classrooms and studios are also housed in Cummings. Surrounding the Arts Center are numerous sculptures, especially in the courtyard known as Castle Court. This lies between Cummings and the largest of the College's performance spaces, Palmer Auditorium. The Theater department has offices in Palmer, and has classes on the main stage, in a smaller classroom in Palmer, and in Tansill Theater, which is further north, near the main entrance. The Dance department is housed on the third floor of the student center, and includes 3 dance studios.
There are three libraries on the campus. Shain Library houses a collection of more than 500,000 books and bound periodicals, along with an extensive collection of microforms, computer files, audio and video tapes. The library is also home to the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room, a space used for studying, public lectures, and receptions. In 2004, the "Blue Camel Cafe" opened in the library basement, selling coffee, tea, pastries and other items to studying and socializing students. The Greer Music Library in Cummings Arts Center holds books and periodicals about music and musicians, printed music, and numerous recordings on cassette, CD, and vinyl, as well as digital media. The chapel library, in the basement of Harkness Chapel includes volumes and periodicals related to religious studies and social justice.
- 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. The Arboretum is also open to the community, and its staff host frequent workshops, guided hikes, and other interpretive activities.
- 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 several denominational religious services each week, as well as for ceremonies, concerts and recitals, weddings, and other public functions.
- The College has a variety of indoor and outdoor athletic facilities.
- The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is located on campus, although it is not connected to the campus proper. The museum's web site describes it as follows: "Housed in a handsome Neo-Classical building designed by Charles A. Platt, 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."
Recent Connecticut College graduates of note include The Atlantic
senior editor Joshua Green
, New York Times
best-selling author Sloane Crosley
, fashion designer Peter Som
, and members of the indie-rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
- The Honor Code is signed by all students upon matriculation. It allows a strong student voice in shared governance through the Student Government Association, and the luxury of self-scheduled, unproctored exams. Because of the Honor Code, students are treated by faculty, staff, and the administration as mature adults. A student-run Judicial Board adjudicates alleged infractions of the Honor Code.
- Through a gift by an alumnus, Connecticut College students may take music lessons during the semester at no charge.
- Connecticut College has six a cappella groups: two women's groups (the ConnChords and The Schwiffs), one men's group (Co Co Beaux), and three coed groups (Conn Artists, Vox Cameli, and Williams Street Mix).
Connecticut College in film and culture
- Connecticut College was mentioned on the television program the The Office (in the episode "Night Out") Steve Carell's character wishes the University of Scranton women's basketball team luck in a game against Connecticut College. One of the show's writers, Lee Eisenberg, is a Conn College graduate.
- In the AMC series Mad Men (in the episode "Red in the Face"), Pete Campbell's friend says "Connecticut College for Women, indeed..." in reference to Pete's attractive cousin.
- The film The Visitor featured a fictional Connecticut College economics professor.
Programs and offices
- Career Enhancing Life Skills (CELS) is a four-year program through which students explore career options, assess interests and skills, learn to consider lifetime goals when planning coursework and activities, look for a career-related junior-year internship, and get help with a job search as seniors.
- Unity House is the college's multicultural center. Unity House promotes, supports, educates, and implements multicultural awareness programs on campus. It also houses a library and group meeting room, open to all. It also hosts many intercultural organizations, including but not limited to Umoja (African Diaspora club), and CCASA (Connecticut College Asian/Asian American Student Association).
- The LGBTQQIA Resource Center serves the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Ally students by providing a supportive space, resource library, social events, and educational programming. The Center also serves as a resource for the entire College Community to learn about issues related to sexuality and gender identity. It hosts the student organizations Spectrum (formally SOUL), Connecticut College Queer and Questioning (CQ^2), and the Campaign for Gender Identity Awareness (CGIA).
- The Renewable Energy Club (REC) is a group of people on campus who meet once a week to brainsorm ways to reduce energy consumption through advertising ways to conserve, renewable energy technologies and Jedi mind tricks. Popular REC events include Black Out Night and Concert for Conservation.
- Office of Volunteers for Community Service (OVCS) helps students find volunteering opportunities in the community. Also provides a student-staffed van service (the Camel Van) to drive students to their community service.
- Friday Nights Live The Student Activities Council hosts a series of weekly concerts performed by on-campus and off-campus bands. Some of the recent acts include: Paranoid Social Club, Land of Talk, Langhorn Slim, Girl Talk, Locksley, Stephen Kellogg, Girlyman, Winterpills, Blackalicious, RJD2, okgo, Reel Big Fish, and Ari Hest.
- Floralia The annual spring concert festival on the library green, with musical performances and socializing. See Floralia.
- Daily CONNtact (newsletter)
- Friends of CC Library
- Inside Information
- Source (faculty/staff newsletter)
- College Voice (newspaper)
- Confluence Magazine (student-run literary, political, travel publication)
- Koiné (yearbook)
- Expose (interdisciplinary academic journal)
- Speakleft! (campus radical publication. distributed at student center, library, and one other location)
- Underexposed (black-and-white photography magazine)
Connecticut College presidents