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Davidson College

Davidson College is a private liberal arts college for 1,700 students in Davidson, North Carolina, in the United States. Both the town and college were named for Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, a Revolutionary War commander. The land for Davidson College came from General Davidson's estate, a large portion of which was donated by his son.

The College was established by Presbyterians in 1837. According to its Statement of Purpose, "the ties that bind the college to its Presbyterian heritage . . . have remained close and strong" but the dedication of the college "extends beyond the Christian community to the whole of humanity and necessarily includes openness to and respect for the world’s various religious traditions. Majors are offered in over twenty fields, as are several minors and self-designed interdisciplinary options. The college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine.

Institution

According to The Princeton Review, it is ranked in the top twenty colleges nationally for the following categories: "Best Overall Academic Experience For Undergraduates," "Professors Get High Marks," "Professors Make Themselves Accessible," and "Their Students Never Stop Studying." Davidson students once complained of a lack of name recognition among the American public, but recent national media coverage, including articles in the New York Times Education supplement and Time and Newsweek magazines, has heightened Davidson's national profile. Newsweek named Davidson as one of twenty-five "New Ivies." In 2007, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Davidson fourth in the list of liberal arts colleges. On 19 March 2007, Davidson became the first liberal arts college in the country to eliminate the need for loans in financial aid packages. All demonstrated need is met through grants and student employment.

The school became co-educational in 1973 and today maintains a 50/50 ratio of men to women. A high percentage of Davidson graduates enter the legal profession, medicine, or government service.

Academics

Admissions profile

Admission to Davidson is highly selective.

The Davidson College Office of Admission & Financial Aid presents the college as one "dedicated to intellectual and cultural growth in the broadest sense." Davidson prides itself on a student body chosen not only for their academic promise, but also for their character.

"Faculty and admission personnel work together to select students for admission. The selection process is composed of three major elements: 1) the evaluation of academic performance and potential; 2) the assessment of individual characteristics; and 3) the recognition of outstanding interests, achievements, and activities. These three elements are used to gain an understanding of each student's academic and personal strengths and, thus, give an overall evaluation of the individual's eligibility for admission.

Faculty

Davidson has a student-faculty ratio of 10-1, 89% of its classes are under 30 students, and no classes have more than 50 students.

Davidson has 167 instructional faculty members, of whom 159 are full-time employees. Almost all faculty members have terminal degrees in their field, with 163 of the 167 faculty members holding a PhD or their field's terminal degree.

Honor code

Davidson students are bound by a strict honor code, signed by each student at the start of their Freshman year.

The Davidson College Honor Code states: "Every student shall be honor bound to refrain from cheating (including plagiarism). Every student shall be honor bound to refrain from stealing. Every student shall be honor bound to refrain from lying about College business. Every student shall be honor bound to report immediately all violations of the Honor Code of which the student has first-hand knowledge; failure to do so shall be a violation of the Honor Code. Every student found guilty of a violation shall ordinarily be dismissed from the College. Every member of the College community is expected to be familiar with the operation of the Honor Code."

Because of this Honor Code, Davidson students take self scheduled, un-proctored final exams. Many exams (known as "reviews" in Davidson vernacular) are take-home, timed, and closed book. Every assignment submitted at Davidson includes either an implicit or (more often) explicit pledge that the student neither gave nor received assistance on the assignment beyond the bounds of the Honor Code. The subscription of students to this Honor Code extends beyond 'reviews,' essays, or research papers. Notes around campus are commonly seen, whether on a bulletin board or taped to a brick walkway, describing an item found at the location and the finder's contact information so that the property may be recovered.

Majors and minors

Davidson offers majors in 20 subject areas, which include Anthropology, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Economics, English, French, German, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology, Spanish, and Theater. Students can also design their own major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. In addition to the one major required for graduation, students may pursue a second major, a minor, or a concentration. Interdisciplinary concentrations are offered in Applied Mathematics, Asian Studies, Computer Science, Education, Ethnic Studies, Film and Media, Gender Studies, Genomics, International Studies, Medical Humanities, Neuroscience, and Southern Studies.

In February 2002, the Royal Shakespeare Company opened the Duke Family Performance Hall, one of the premier performance spaces in the Southeast. In 2007 and 2008, the Cunningham Fine Arts building, home to several smaller performance spaces, faculty offices, classrooms and set construction facilities, will be completely renovated.

Davidson President Tom Ross has repeatedly credited Davidson's Classics Abroad program with redirecting his life. Begun by Professor George Labban in the 1960s, the program has survived the retirement of Labban and his successor Dirk French. Presently, it is the most popular of the college’s study abroad programs, along with the Semester in India program. Davidson students may also take advantage of the wealth of outside study abroad programs available, applying their Davidson financial aid package to their program of choice.

Student life

Athletics

Davidson competes at the NCAA Division I level in 21 sports. Of these sports, 11 are men's and 10 are women's. Approximately 24% of the Davidson on-campus student body participates in varsity sports. Davidson has the second smallest enrollment of any school in Division I football.

Davidson's sports teams are known as the Wildcats; their colors are red and black. The Wildcats participate as a member of the Southern Conference in most sports. The sports that compete in other conferences include football in the Division I-AA Pioneer Football League, men's and women's swimming and diving in the Colonial Athletic Association, Field Hockey in the Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference, and lacrosse in the American Lacrosse Conference.

Men's basketball

Davidson's basketball team first reached considerable success in the 1960s under Coach Lefty Driesell, when Sports Illustrated ranked it No. 1 in the country prior to the 1964-65 season.

The Wildcat men have competed in 10 NCAA tournaments (1966, 1968-70, 1986, 1998, 2002, 2006-08). Their last tournament victory was in 2008 over University of Wisconsin in the third round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. With that victory, the Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight where they lost to the eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks 59-57, capping off an incredible run that saw the rise of Stephen Curry to national prominence. The Wildcats' NCAA Tournament run came after finishing their regular season undefeated in conference play, at 20-0, and as the champions of the Southern Conference Tournament.

Under the guidance of Coach Bob McKillop, the Wildcats have consistently posted winning seasons. In 2006-07, the team completed its regular-season conference schedule with only one loss and entered the Southern Conference Tournament as a No. 1 seed, where the team would win the Southern Conference Tournament for the second consecutive season.

In 2005-06, the Wildcats went 20-10 and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after winning the Southern Conference Tournament. In 2004-05, the Wildcats were undefeated in conference play at 16-0 and advanced to the third round of the NIT. In 2001-02, the Wildcats won the Southern Conference Tournament and lost a close game to Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

In addition to Driesell and McKillop, a number of notable NCAA men's basketball head coaches have coached at Davidson. Matt Doherty, current head coach at SMU and former head coach of Notre Dame, North Carolina and Florida Atlantic, experienced his first coaching job as an assistant under McKillop, who, not coincidentally, was Doherty's high school coach on Long Island. Former Virginia head coach and current East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland is a Davidson graduate (Class of 1964) and was Driesell's first recruit at Davidson, before advancing to assistant coaching, head coaching and athletic director duties at Davidson. Larry Brown, who would go on to win an NCAA championship with Kansas in 1988 and NBA championship with Detroit in 2004, began his nomadic head coaching career at Davidson, managing to depart before the start of his first season. Jim Larranaga, who took George Mason to the 2006 Final Four, is a former Davidson assistant coach. Rick Barnes of Texas was also a Davidson assistant.

Men's soccer

The men's soccer team at Davidson was declared a varsity sport in 1956 and had their first All-American player, Claude Finney, just four years later in 1960.

The peak of the soccer program was in 1992 when the team made a magical run to the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Final Four. Led by two-time All-American Rob Ukrop, Davidson finished the regular season 17-5-5, earning an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Three electrifying wins -- two on penalty kicks and one in sudden death overtime -- propelled Davidson into the Final Four, which miraculously was being hosted by Davidson on the school's campus. Davidson lost 3-2 in overtime against San Diego in the semifinal game, but the team received plenty of accolades. Ukrop led the nation with 31 goals and 72 points and was awarded the Adi Dassler Award, given to the nation's best player. Head coach Charlie Slagle was awarded NCAA Division I Coach of the Year for men's soccer. Remarkably, all of this was accomplished without the use of a single athletic scholarship on the 1992 team, leading The New York Times to herald the team as "22 educated feet."

Croquet

Davidson's two-man golf croquet team has won the National Collegiate Croquet Championship back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.

Student organizations

The main student newspaper on campus is the Davidsonian, which is published weekly. The Davidsonian was founded in 1914 and has published a volume every year since then. In 2007, Davidson's Library completed a project to digitally archive all past issues of the Davidsonian.

Davidson offers over 150 student organizations on campus, including arts & culture organizations, performance groups, sports groups, political organizations, health & sexuality groups, religious organizations, and social action groups. The Student Activities Office encourages and is available for students wishing to develop an organization not yet established at Davidson.

Most student events are sponsored by the Union Board, the student organization in charge of the student union. In addition to hosting concerts throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, the Union Board organizes events such as pancake breakfasts at midnight, movies, and Freshmen welcome events.

Davidson College A Cappella

Davidson is also known for its three a cappella groups: the Generals, the Delilahs, and Androgyny. The groups are among the most popular musical groups on campus. The Davidson Generals, an all-male group, took first place in the "Rockin' the Forest" intercollegiate A-cappella competition at Wake Forest University in 2005. Following the release of their third CD, "Alpha-Kappa-Pella" in 2006 they were selected for the Voices Only 2006 collegiate a cappella compilation CD with their cover of John Legend's "Used 2 Love U. In the Spring of 2008 they released their fourth album, titled "General Consensus."

The Davidson Delilahs, an all-female group, have produced four albums to date: "Falling into Place" (2001); "Head over Heels" (2004); "Kickin' Off our Heels" (2006); and a brand new self-titled album "Davidson Delilahs" (2008). The Delilahs also frequently host other a cappella groups from across the country, including, most recently, the Haverford S-Chords.

Davidson Androgyny was founded in 1998 as a response to the absence of a co-ed a cappella group on campus. Androgyny has released two albums, "Everything But The Piano" (2001) and "The A Capocalypse" (2003), and is set to release its third album in Fall of 2008. The group also sang "I'm Yours" with platinum recording artist Jason Mraz on his "Music, Magic, and Make Peace Tour" stop at Davidson College on April 19, 2008.

Fraternities and eating houses

The fraternity and eating house system at Davidson is known as Patterson Court and is governed by the Patterson Court Council. The houses included on Patterson Court are as follows: Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Order, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, Connor House, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Warner Hall, Kappa Sigma, Black Student Coalition, Rusk House, Turner House, Kappa Alpha Psi and Alpha Phi Alpha. The NPHC sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha is also in the process of joining the Davidson College community.

In total, there are eight national fraternities and five local eating houses on campus. Approximately 65% of the female students and 38% of male students belong to a fraternity or an eating house.

Royal Shakespeare Company Residencies

In 2002, the Royal Shakespeare Company performed William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in residency at Davidson College, the RSC's second residency at a US college or university. The performance inaugurated the Duke Family Performance Hall. In March 2005, the RSC returned to Davidson and was in residency for most of the month, performing The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, as well as numerous educational activities, many of which were open to the general public. In February 2006, their artists directed scenes from Shakespeare's plays and other theatric materials inspired by Shakespeare, entitled For Every Passion, Something, with Davidson students as actors. The productions Infinite Variety and For Every Passion Something were presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. In February 2007, the Royal Shakespeare Company performed Shakespeare's Pericles and The Winter's Tale, as well as Roy Williams's Days of Significance, in the Duke Family Performance Hall. In 2008, the RSC is to conduct educational programs, similar to those they presented in 2006.

Financial aid

On 19 March 2007, Davidson College announced that all students would have their demonstrated financial need met by grants and student employment; loans would no longer be a component of any Davidson financial aid package. Davidson became the first liberal arts college in the country to do so. On 7 June 2007, the Duke Endowment pledged $15,000,000 to support the initiative.

In addition to not including loans in their financial aid packages, Davidson recently completed a capital campaign adding 156 new scholarships funded with $88 million. Davidson states that they are committed to providing 100% of demonstrated need of all students, with 33% of students receiving need-based aid and over 50% receiving some form of financial aid.

Notable alumni

See also Davidson College alumni

Arts, film, theatre, and broadcasting

Athletics

Business

Education

Law

Politics (Elected Office)

Politics and Activism (Non-Elected Office)

Religion

Writers, Journalists, & Publishers

History

Davidson College was founded in 1837 by The Concord Presbytery after purchasing of land from William Lee Davidson II. The first students graduated from Davidson in 1840 and received diplomas with the newly created college seal designed by Peter Stuart Ney, who is believed by some to be Napoleon's Marshal Ney.

In the 1850s, Davidson overcame financial difficulty by instituting "The Scholarship Plan," a program that allowed Davidson hopefuls to purchase a scholarship for $100, which could be redeemed in exchange for full tuition to Davidson until the 1870s. The college's financial situation improved dramatically in 1856 with a $250,000 donation by Maxwell Chambers, making Davidson the wealthiest college south of Princeton. The Chambers Building was built to commemorate this gift. On November 28, 1921, the Chambers Building was destroyed in a fire but was rebuilt 8 years later with funds provided by a generous gift from the Rockefeller family. The Chambers Building continues to be the primary academic building on campus.

In 1923, the Gamma chapter in North Carolina of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Davidson. Over 1500 men and 500 women have been initiated into Davidson's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

In 1924, James Duke formed the Duke Endowment, which has provided millions of dollars to the college, including a $15 million dollar pledge in 2007 to assist with the elimination of student loans.

On May 5, 1972 the trustees voted to allow women to enroll at Davidson as degree students for the first time (women had attended classes as early as the 1860s but did not enjoy degree privileges). The first women to attend classes at Davidson were then-President Kirkpatrick's five daughters, who attended classes to increase the size of the student body during the Civil War. Art major Marianna "Missy" Woodward ‘73, the only woman in a class of 217, was the first woman to graduate from Davidson.

In early 2005, the College's Board of Trustees voted in a 31-5 decision to allow 20% of the board to be non-Christian. John Belk, the former mayor of Charlotte and one of the heirs of Belk Department Store, was a casualty of this decision, resigning in protest after more than six decades of affiliation with the college. Stephen Smith also resigned. Belk, however, continued his strong relationship with his alma mater and was honored in March 2006 at the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Belk Scholarship.

Presidents

  • Robert Hall Morrison (1837-1841)-father of Mary Anna Morrison Jackson (Mrs. Thomas Johnathan)
  • Samuel Williamson (1841-1855)
  • Drury Lacy (1855-1860)
  • John Lycan Kirkpatrick (1860-1866)
  • George Wilson McPhail (1866-1871)
  • John Rennie Blake (1871-1877) - served as Chief Administrative Official for 6 years after President McPhail died in 1871, during which period there was no official president of the college
  • Andrew Dousa Hepburn (1877-1885)
  • Luthar McKinnon (1885-1888) - The first alumnus to serve as president
  • John Bunyon Shearer (1888-1901)
  • Henry Louis Smith (1901-1912) - Henry Smith and his students at Davidson are credited with producing one of the first (if not the first) X-ray photographs in the United States on January 12th and 13th 1901
  • William Joseph Martin, Jr. (1912-1929)
  • Walter Lee Lingle (1929-1941)
  • John Rood Cunningham (1941-1958)
  • David Grier Martin (1958-1968)
  • Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr. (1968-1984)
  • John Wells Kuykendall (1984-1997)
  • Robert Fredrick Vagt (1997-2007)
  • Thomas W. Ross (2007-present)

See also

External links

References

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