Grove City College
is an Christian liberal arts college
in Grove City
, about sixty-five miles north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
. According to the College Bulletin, its stated three-fold mission is to provide an excellent education at an affordable price in a thoroughly Christian environment. College president Richard Jewell has said, "The two tenets that this school is most about are faith and freedom.
The school emphasizes a humanities core curriculum, which endorses the Judeo-Christian Western tradition and the free market. While loosely associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the college is non-denominational and does not require students to sign a statement of faith, though they are required to attend sixteen chapel services per semester.
Grove City has an acceptance rate around 45%. As many as 80-90% of students choose to interview on campus. The average SAT score of the 2011 incoming freshman class was 1269. The average ACT score of the 2011 incoming freshmen class was 28. About 14% of its most recent freshman class are either high school valedictorians or salutatorians. The average GPA of entering freshmen is 3.71 unweighted and 3.85 weighted. The average SAT scores were as follows : Math -- 644, Critical Reading -- 635 and Writing -- Not reported.
Founded in 1876
by Isaac C. Ketler, the school was originally chartered as Pine Grove Normal Academy. In 1884, the trustees of Pine Grove Normal Academy in Grove City amended the academy charter to change the name to Grove City College. By charter, the doors of the College were open to qualified students "without regard to religious test or belief." The founders of Grove City College, consciously avoiding narrow sectarianism, held a vision of Christian society transcending denomination, creeds, and confessions. Isaac Ketler was a devout Presbyterian
with a passion for education and a strong ambition to become an influential teacher and educator. His significance to the college was enormous. Ketler served as president until 1913—37 years altogether, during a very formative period for the school.
Grove City was heavily supported by Joseph Newton Pew, founder of the Sun Oil Company. Pew was one of Ketler's grade-school teachers and a lifelong mentor and friend of the educator. Ketler and Pew would ultimately forge a remarkable relationship that would profoundly influence the purpose and character of Grove City College. Pew, like Ketler a devout Presbyterian and strong believer in the importance of good education, later accepted the presidency of the school's board of trustees. Pew and Ketler's influence continued with their sons, Weir Ketler (Grove City president from 1916 to 1956) and Joseph Howard Pew, who was graduated from the college in 1900 and like his father became trustee-board president. J. Howard Pew continued his father's legacy, richly contributing to the school's programs. A Presbyterian as devout as his father had been, and a conservative, J. Howard Pew insisted that the college operate only on what it received in tuition and fees. In the 1930s, J. Howard Pew, who became the president of Sun Oil Company, was one of the nation's most outspoken critics of the New Deal, so it also was natural that Grove City College look unfavorably upon federal aid and involvement in education and that it would strive to remain the highly independent institution it is today.
Joseph Howard Pew once said that his two major philanthropic causes were GCC and The Pew Charitable Trusts. In October 2004, the college dedicated a statue to his memory outside of the college's Harbison Chapel.
Many students choose Grove City explicitly for its Christian
environment and strong, traditional humanities
curriculum. A three-year required humanities
sequence focuses on the origin, development and implications of civilization’s seminal ideas and worldviews
. The courses cover content that includes religion
and philosophy of science
. Because of its strong adherence to freedom and minimal government interference, Grove City College is considered to be one of America's foremost colleges that teach the ideas of the Austrian School of Economics
. The post-1938 personal papers of Ludwig Von Mises
, are housed in the archive of Grove City College.
In 2005 Grove City founded its Center for Vision and Values
, further advancing its programs in the humanities
. The Center aims to educate the world about faith and freedom by giving its faculty members the opportunity to share their scholarship with a community beyond Pennsylvania
. One of the center’s initiatives is to establishing an annual conference aimed at attracting some of the best minds from around the world to talk about topics of national and international importance.
Grove City College adopts a strong policy in regard to alcohol use on campus, with first time offenders receiving a one week suspension from all activities. Legal age students are permitted to consume alcohol off campus, provided that they do not appear inebriated upon their return. Current student organizations must agree to a strong policy regarding alcohol use both on and off campus, their violation resulting in the loss of their charter.
Along with alcohol use, the student handbook forbids any sexual conduct that violates historic Christian standards. The school's official stance on homosexuality has subtly changed over the years, from condemning homosexuality to focusing on same-sex activity, and currently only explicitly mentioning premarital sex (heterosexual or homosexual). Off-campus housing was disallowed in the 1980s, an early indicator of the school's change in organizational culture.
Since 1963, the American Association of University Professors, an organization that represents the interests of college professors, has placed Grove City under censure for violations of tenure and academic freedom. In fact, Grove City has the distinction of having been on the AAUP's list of censured administrations longer than any other college that is currently censured. In its report, the AAUP Investigative Committee at Grove City concluded that "the absence of due process [in the dismissal of professors at Grove City] raises...doubts regarding the academic security of any persons who may hold appointment at Grove City College under existing administrative practice. These doubts are of an order of magnitude which obliges us to report them to the academic profession at large.
In recent years, the college has engaged in many new construction projects, including an expansion to the college's music and arts center in 2002, a new academic building in 2003, a new student union/bookstore in 2004, and new apartment style housing in 2006. Grove City's Student Union building was honored with the International Masonry Institute's Golden Trowel Grand Prize for excellence in masonry design and construction in 2005.
The college acquired an observatory from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in February 2008 that will be utilized for astronomy classes as well as faculty and student research. The observatory's telescope will be operated more than 60 miles away remotely from the college's main campus. The purchase of the property, three buildings and equipment inside will pave the way for the addition of an astronomy minor on campus. Through this observatory, the college's physics department plans to work with area public schools as well as other colleges and universities on educational and research projects and draw prospective students who are looking for strong physics programs and astronomy coursework.
Even more construction projects, and renovations of existing buildings are planned for the next few years.
Supreme Court Case
Under President Dr. Charles S. MacKenzie, the college was the plaintiff-appellee in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court
case in 1984
, Grove City College v. Bell
. The ruling came seven years after the school's refusal to sign a Title IX
compliance form, which would have subjected the entire school to federal regulations, even future ones not yet issued. The court ruled 6-3 that acceptance by students of federal educational grants did fall under the regulatory requirements of Title IX, but limited the application to the school's financial aid department. Although the college's materials call this a victory for the school, the Court ruled against it on two out of the three claims it advanced. In 1988
, new legislation subjected every department of any educational institution that received federal funding to Title IX requirements. In response, Grove City College pulled out of the Stafford loan
program entirely, and established its own loan program in association with PNC Bank
. The move earned the respect and admiration of many influential academics, including David Warren, the president of the National Association of Colleges and Universities. Warren said in a 1996 interview that Grove City has a “history of making bold and principled decisions. And a lot of colleges sympathize with what they’ve done.” Grove City does not allow its students to accept federal financial aid of any kind, including grants, loans, and scholarships.
Grove City offers 55 majors in the liberal arts
. The college is accredited
by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States region of the United States. The college's electrical and computer and mechanical engineering
programs are accredited
by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
, Inc. (ABET). The Council for Higher Education Accreditation
(CHEA) a United States organization of degree-granting colleges and universities, includes Grove City College among its list of accredited
colleges recognized by U.S. accrediting organizations.
Grove City ranks third in the 2008 Princeton Review
's The Best 361 Colleges 2007
listing of most politically conservative
colleges. Human Events
Magazine ranks it as one of the cream of the crop in America's conservative colleges.
Among all colleges, however, the widely-followed US News and World Report
college rankings place Grove City in the third tier of liberal arts colleges. The conservative think tank
-- Free Congress Foundation
, includes Grove City among its list of top colleges that provides excellent liberal arts
education based on a list of criteria.For two consecutive years (2006 and 2007), The Young America's Foundation
has placed Grove City in its Top 10 Conservative
Colleges list. The schools on this list offer coursework and scholarship in conservative
thought and emphasize principles including smaller government, strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values
. Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College concurs and lists Grove City among its top 10 conservative
colleges. However, not all Grove City students and professors are politically, socially, religiously, and ideologically conservative
According to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's most recent publication of Choosing the Right College, the 2007 US News and World Report college guide ranks Grove City the number one "best value" among northern comprehensive colleges -- the fifth year running the school has earned that distinction. The school has a total cost (including tuition, room, and board) of $18,514 a year. Barron’s Educational Series has called Grove City College a “Best Buy” in recognition of the College’s quality education and affordable price. It has also been positively reviewed in the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's guide -- Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth about America's Top Schools. Princeton Review also ranks Grove City College as among the Top 20 in career/job placement services based on satisfaction of students who graduate from the school. It is considered one of the most home school friendly colleges in the Northeast. Grove City College is also considered one of the most selective Christian colleges in the nation. Barron's Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges - 2004 also lists Grove City College as one of the 65 Most Competitive Colleges and Universities in the nation. College Data's Online College Advisor profile ranks Grove City as Most Difficult in terms of entrance requirement. Peterson's College Guide also ranks its entrance requirement as Most Difficult.
In two consecutive nationwide studies made by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) in cooperation with researchers from the University of Connecticut's Department of Public Policy to determine the extent of civic literacy in higher education, Grove City College students ranked among the top 5 nationally in terms of knowledge of U.S. history, government, economy and international relations. The study was based on the results of a multiple-choice test given to some 14,000 randomly chosen freshmen and seniors on 50 college and university campuses. In two consecutive years of ISI's study, Grove City was ranked number 4 in 2006 and number 2 in 2007, above most Ivy league universities.
College Prowler, the largest publisher of college content in the United States, gave Grove City College an “A+” rating for the safety and security of the campus, according to its latest released rankings. Only 12 schools in the USA received the highest rating.
The high grade “means that students generally feel safe, campus police are visible, blue-light phones and escort services are readily available, and safety precautions are not overly necessary,” according to the College Prowler guide. The rating is a result of the recommendation of the guide’s student author, direct student feedback and other factors such as the presence and size of a police force and security staff, services provided, the area and campus crime reports, security of dormitories and the prevalence of campus theft.
Connections to Think Tanks
Although it is a small liberal arts college, Grove City's faculty and administrators significantly influence and impact the ideas of various think tanks around the USA especially on issues involving the environment, education, minimum wage, and anything economic and conservative. Grove City College has international ties, founded in 1955, and on the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) Freedom Network.
Among them are the Shenango Institute for Public Policy, a Western Pennsylvania based non-partisan research and educational institute whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies at the local-government level based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom and responsibility, and a respect for traditional values.
The National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise an organization that seeks to provide effective community and faith-based organizations with training and technical assistance, links them to sources of support, and evaluates their experience for public policy in order to address the problems of youth violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, homelessness, joblessness, poor education and deteriorating neighborhoods, publicizes events held at Grove City College.
The Lone Mountain Coalition part of the Property and Environment Research Center America's oldest and largest institute dedicated to original research that brings market principles to resolving environmental problems, has ties to Grove City through Michael Coulter, Vice-President of the Shenango Institute for Public Policy, and associate professor of political science at Grove City College.
The college also has ties to the Mises Institute, a libertarian academic organization engaged in research and scholarship in the fields of economics, philosophy and political economy. Several members of the Ludwig von Mises Institute faculty are also faculty at Grove City. Jeff Herbener is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and professor of economics at Grove City College. Shawn Ritenour is an associate professor of economics at Grove City College and an adjunct professor at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala.
Grove City also has ties to Michigan through Lawrence W. (Larry) Reed, president of Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Reed received his B.A. in Economics from Grove City in 1975. Reed is also past president of the State Policy Network The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan research and educational institution devoted to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens. The Center assists policy makers, business people, the media and the public by providing objective analysis of Michigan issues and by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions from a free market perspective.
The Academic Advisory Committee of the John Locke Foundation, a free market think tank in North Carolina, which supports the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a nonprofit institute dedicated to improving higher education in North Carolina and the nation, includes Dr. Walter E. Williams, the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University, holder of a Doctor of Humane Letters from Grove City College and John Moore, Former President of Grove City College, who led the College through its withdrawal from federal student loan programs, which completed the College’s break from federal ties.
News about the e-newsletter published by The Center for Vision and Values consistently gets notice outside the college. For example, the Traditional Values Coalition website links to the center's e-mail publications.
Many of the Grove City faculty are active in publishing, including in op-eds in newspapers, that promote conservative ideas. In addition, the college prominently posts links to its faculty's op-eds and articles, showing that it wants to spread its influence.
‘Mid the pines in columns growing,
By the stream so deeply flowing,
Dear to hearts with mem’ries glowing,
Stand the halls, the halls we love.
Dear to hearts with mem’ries glowing,
Stand the halls, the halls we love.
Hail to thee our Alma Mater,
Praises from each son and daughter,
Pledges of love and honor Grove City still shall own,
Pledges of love and honor Grove City still shall own,
Pledges of love and honor Grove City still shall own.
Tho’ the land and sea may part us,
Far remove thy towers and campus,
Staunch and true there dwells within us,
All the spirit of thy life,
Staunch and true there dwells within us,
All the spirit of thy life.
Students are required to take general requirements courses, with science, mathematics/reasoning, and several other courses. The base of the general requirements are centered around a humanities core, with courses on Western Civilization, Art, Literature
, and Biblical Revelation
. Requirements for majors differ, but typically a student is also required to gain mastery in a foreign language and reach some mathematical proficiency. Many Grove City students take one to three general requirements classes in their freshman, sophomore, and sometimes junior years, along with classes for their respective major.
Each Grove City College full-time student is given a Hewlett Packard Tablet PC/printer upon arrival, which is theirs to keep upon graduation.
Grove City students must attend a minimum of 16 chapel
services each semester. These requirements may be accomplished on Tuesday mornings, Thursday mornings, and Sunday nights (through a "vespers
" service). Recently, students have been given the opportunity to receive a chapel credit for attending lectures on the first and last Monday night of each month; chapel staff is still working on this option. These chapel services vary greatly, and feature many touring singers and worship groups. Nearly all chapel and vespers services are held inside the Harbison Chapel; occasionally chapel may be held in Crawford Hall or the student union instead.
Failure to attend the required number of chapel services results in a graduating student's diploma being withheld until the offending student has completed a corresponding number of single-page book reports. While the college maintains this requirement, it has become less stringent than in years past.
Known as the Wolverines, Grove City College competes in the Presidents' Athletic Conference
of NCAA Division III
and plays host to a wide range of varsity, club, and intramural sports, including football
, cross country
, water polo
, Grove rugby
, and lacrosse
List of Varsity Sports
List of IM Sports
Groups and Organizations
Grove City's various student organizations
are numerous. There are approximately 150 Student Organizations / Activities in which to participate. At the beginning of the fall semester an Organizational Fair is held. Representatives from various organizations set up areas in the Intramural Room and give students an opportunity to ask questions and possibly sign up to join an organization. A list of some of the more notable groups can be found here
Fraternities and sororities
live on campus, in pre-selected upper class halls. Strict regulations apply to students joining a Greek organization. Grove City's fraternities and sororities are not affiliated with any national groups.
Over the years, many sororities and one fraternity, Chi Delta Epsilon, have permanently died out. The most recent sorority to become defunct was the short-lived Delta Chi Omega, which was founded in 1980 and lasted approximately one decade.
Fraternities which have died out (meaning all their active members graduated or left the college) and been reinstituted via block classes include Beta Sigma
, Sigma Alpha Sigma
. All three of these fraternities are currently in existence. Other Greek organizations, such as Nu Lambda Phi
, have retained an unbroken line of membership throughout their histories.
Both fraternities and sororities are overseen by governing bodies. The fraternities each send delegates to weekly meetings of the Interfraternity Council. The sororities' counterpart organization, the Pan-Hellenic Council, also meets each week. In the spring, the two councils hold joint meetings to plan the annual Greek Games.
The Greek Games, a multi-day event which involved such activities as water balloon tossing and egg dropping, have declined in notoriety at Grove City College along with the size of Greek organizations; until the 1990s they were well-known on campus, with the majority of the student body either participating or spectating.
Male students who do not join fraternities can obtain block housing privileges through one of nine organizations known as housing groups.
Grove City College housing groups are collections of similarly-interested students which enjoy block housing, yet are not fraternal or Greek in nature. Such groups were founded in the 1970s and given permission to use Greek letters by the extant fraternities on campus and the Grove City College administration. Greek organizations have taken issue with the purported failure of housing groups to abide according to the original founding stipulations, which include having a common purpose and limiting membership to those living in groups' respective dorm halls. Fraternities and housing groups are distinctly different organizations that serve different roles in the student body at Grove City College.
List of Men’s Housing Groups
Orientation Board, often referred to as “OB”, is a group of roughly 100 upper classmen students chosen each year to welcome the incoming students beginning on move-in day and throughout the year. Orientation Board is divided into 5 different committees: Social, Outreach (formerly Academic), Religious, Co-Rec, and Publicity. The group also plans and holds numerous events the first week freshmen arrive on campus. These events include the graffiti dance, street dance, carnival, and co-recreational games.
Student Government Association
The student body elects members to serve on this board, which acts as the primary communication link between the students and the administration.
Publications and Media
The purpose of the Bridge, the college yearbook, is to produce an accurate account of the school year in words and pictures. Weekly staff meetings and work times help the staff to meet deadlines and produce a quality publication. Staff positions are open to all students and provide experience for those writers, photographers, and those wishing to learn computer-aided graphic design. Published in the Fall semester the book is partially financed through the Student Activities Committee.
The student newspaper, The Collegian, is owned and published by The College. The paper is published weekly, free of charge, with the purpose 1) reporting happenings on campus and beyond and 2) teaching students responsible journalistic practices. It contains sections for news, perspectives, features, entertainment, religion and sports. Student editors and staff handle writing, editing, photography, layout and all other aspects of newspaper production, except the actual printing. Students may apply for the staff at the Organizational Fair or by contacting the editor.
The Echo is a student-produced creative review, which features student poetry, prose, fiction, photography and artwork. The magazine is published during the Spring semester. Students are urged to submit works to the magazine or join the various committees involved in producing The Echo. The Echo reached its apogee when colleagues Dr. Eric Potter and Dr. Joe Tanner, Professor Emeritus of Public Transportation Administration, waged a full scale literary revolution on campus in the 2005-2006 academic year.
The Entrepreneur promotes free market economics through student and faculty articles. Provided free of charge to GCC students, the publication is supported by outside funding. The newsletter has a readership of four hundred people across the nation.
Assigned its call letters in April 1920, the Grove City College radio station, WSAJ-AM, was one of the first radio stations in the country. The call-letters were predated by experimental stations at the college dating back to 1914. In 1968, WSAJ-FM was put on the air and currently broadcasts at 91.1 FM, functioning as a learning tool for all students, but especially those in the communication and engineering majors. The 100-watt AM station, operating from a longwire antenna on 1340 kHz, was one of the few remaining stations in the U.S. to share time. It surrendered its broadcast license in 2006. The 1,600-watt FM signal covers a 30-mile radius in Western Pennsylvania. The station broadcasts fine arts programming, college football and basketball games. It also airs community events and high school sports. Students host weekly music shows during the evening hours when school is in session
Traditions and Trivia
Lying in the center of Grove City College Campus is the quadrangle, or "quad." Students have historically been prohibited by the administration from walking on the grass in this area. In recent years, restrictions have laxed, and the quad has been the subject of controversy among students and faculty. In the fall of 2005, the student government association voted to open the Upper Quad to "light athletic activities" and the administration established new policies for quad use. The Lower Quad remains off-limits and is only used for such events as baccalaureate, commencement, and homecoming. There is a long-standing legend of the "Tower Sniper" which is passed from upperclassmen to freshmen. The Tower Sniper lives in the clock tower of Rockwell Hall and is said to shoot at anyone who walks across the quad.
Each fall during Homecoming Weekend, the fraternities and sororities set up tents in which to meet, greet, and sometimes eat with their returning alumni. These tents make up Grove City College's Greek Village. The Greek Village has typically been set up on Lower Campus, near the football field, but in 2005 the tents were set up on Upper Campus, on the Quad. While most of the tents belong to fraternities and sororities, some other organizations also have been known to share a space in the Village.
Creeking takes place on two occasions, typically. The first is when a male Grove City student becomes engaged. The second occasion for creeking is when a fraternity man has been elected as the sweetheart of a sorority. Creeking is done by a group of men, who are typically the subject's friends, subduing the man to be creeked and carrying him from his dorm building down to Wolf Creek in the center of campus while chanting, "Wolf Creek." The friends then toss the subject into the creek. If the bride-to-be does not reach her fiance with a towel when he is coming out of the creek, then he is allowed to throw her in as well.
When it opened, Grove City College was one of the first institutions of higher learning in the United States to admit both male and female students. The school currently maintains a one-to-one ratio of men to women, ensuring that the study body is 50% men and 50% women.
Alumni and Professors
- David M. Bailey (Alumnus, Guitarist, Singer-songwriter, Cancer Survivor)
- R.J. Bowers (Alumnus, Professional Football Player, till October 2007 , College Football's Former all-time rushing leader )
- Edward D. Breen (board member; CEO of Tyco)
- Scott Bullock (Alumnus, Senior Attorney and founding member of The Institute For Justice)
- Alejandro A. Chafuen (Alumnus, Founding board member of the Acton Institute, President and CEO of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, President and Founder of the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research(HACER) )
- Robert D. Childs (Alumnus, Director, Information Resources Management College, National Defense University)
- Bill Deasy (Singer/Songwriter, author of the novel 'Ransom Seaborn' (Winner of the 2006 Needle Award for best novel). Former lead singer of the popular Pittsburgh-area band 'The Gathering Field')
- C. Fred Fetterolf (Alumnus, former president of ALCOA)
- Scott Hahn (Alumnus, Author, Roman Catholic Theologian and Apologist. Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville)
- Matt Kibbe (Alumnus, President and CEO of FreedomWorks)
- R. Heath Larry (Alumnus, former president of National Association of Manufacturers)
- Michael P. Lazarus (Alumnus, Managing partner and co-founder of Weston Presidio , a private equity and venture capital firm in San Francisco, and a former director and founding chairman of JetBlue Airways )
- Brian Leftow (Alumnus, Eminent Theistic and Analytic Philosopher. Holder of the Nolloth Chair in the Philosophy of Religion, Oriel College, Oxford University. Author of Time and Eternity (1991) , and over fifty papers in philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and the history of medieval philosophy).
- Bruce McClymonds (Alumnus, President and CEO,West Virginia University Hospitals. Who's Who in West Virginia Business 2007 Winner )
- Paul McNulty (Alumnus, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General)
- Joseph Howard Pew (founder and former president of Sun Oil Company)
- Jeffrey Pyles (Alumnus, current Operations Support Analyst at CapitolWealth)
- Lawrence Reed (Alumnus, President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy)
- Hans Sennholz, former president of the Foundation for Economic Education.
- Spike Shannon (Alumnus, former professional baseball player who played with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates. The National League leader in runs scored in 1907 with the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) )
- J. Paul Sticht (Alumnus, former president of R. J. Reynolds)
- Douglas Voiers (Alumnus, 2005 World Congress of Microdentistry Clinician of the Year. Creator of the The One Visit / One Hour CEREC Crown technique)
- Harold Willis Dobbs (Alumnus,15th President of Princeton University)
- Thomas C. Woodward, Pennsylvania state president and Philadelphia market president for Bank of America.
- Isaac Conrad Ketler (1876-1913)
- Alexander T. Ormond (1913-1915)
- Weir Carlyle Ketler (1916-1956)
- John Stanley Harker (1956-1971)
- Charles Sherrard Mackenzie (1971-1991)
- Jerry H. Combee (1991-1995)
- John H. Moore (1996-2003)