College of Wooster

College of Wooster
The College of Wooster
College of Wooster.png
Motto Scientia et religio ex uno fonte
(Knowledge and religion from one source)
Established 1866
Type Private
Endowment US $239 million[1] (9/30/10)
President Grant H. Cornwell
Academic staff 137
Undergraduates 1,854
Postgraduates N/A
Location Wooster, Ohio, USA
Campus Suburban, 240 acres (1 km²)
Athletics 23 varsity sports teams
NCAA Division III

Old Gold and Black

Mascot Fighting Scots

The College of Wooster is a private liberal arts college primarily known for its Independent study program. It has roughly 2,000 students and is located in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio, United States (approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of Cleveland). Founded in 1866 by the Presbyterian church as the University of Wooster, it was from its creation a co-educational institution. The school is a member of The Five Colleges of Ohio and the Great Lakes Colleges Association. As of September 30, 2010, Wooster's endowment stood at approximately $239 million.[1]

Wooster is one of forty colleges named in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges That Change Lives, in which he called it his "...original best-kept secret in higher education."[2] It is consistently ranked among the nation's top liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report. In US News' "Best Colleges 2011", Wooster ranked fifth among national liberal arts colleges in the category of "Best Undergraduate Teaching," the second consecutive year in the top ten.



Kauke Hall is the main academic building on campus

Founded as The University of Wooster in 1866 by Presbyterians who wanted to do their part in the education of young people, the institution opened its doors in 1870 with a faculty of five and a student body of thirty men and four women. Wealthy Wooster citizen Ephraim Quinby donated the first 22 acres (89,000 m2), a large oak grove situated on a hilltop overlooking the town. After being founded with the intent to make Wooster open to everyone, the university's first Ph.D. was granted to a woman, Annie Irish, in 1882. The first black student, Clarence Allen, began his studies later in the same decade.[3]

In the pre-dawn hours of December 11, 1901, a fire destroyed the five-story 'Old Main' building, the centerpiece of the campus. Within two years, it was replaced by several new buildings which (after substantial renovations within the last 30 years) remain the primary structures for the classes, labs and faculty offices. These include Kauke Hall (the iconic center of campus), Scovel Hall and Severance Hall (which together form a large courtyard in front of Kauke Hall), and Taylor Hall.

A decade after the fire and rebuilding, there were eight divisions, including a medical school whose faculty outnumbered those in the college of arts and sciences. However, the university had gradually begun to define itself as a liberal arts institution and, in 1915, after a bitter dispute between the faculty and the Trustees, chose to become The College of Wooster in order to devote itself entirely to the education of undergraduate students in the liberal arts. The enrollment of the college is kept intentionally small, around 1800 students, to allow for close interaction between faculty and students.

Every winter, Wooster students try to fill the Kauke Arch with snow which, legend has it, will cause classes to be cancelled

In the 1920s, William Jennings Bryan, a prominent Presbyterian layman, attacked the college for its teaching of evolution, which had been championed by president Charles F. Wishart, and called for the General Assembly of the church to cut off funding to the college. But Wishart defeated Bryan for the position of Moderator of the General Assembly, and the college continued to teach evolution.

The College's 240-acre (0.97 km2) campus boasts of an unusual tree endowment, established in 1987, which supports a tree conservation, maintenance and replacement program. Near the center of campus lies the Oak Grove, a pleasant green space which is the site for the commencement ceremony each May. Several of its trees are older than the college itself, including a black oak near Galpin Hall that dates to 1681, as well as a 1766 white oak. Each senior class plants a class tree in the Oak Grove on the day before graduation.


Students entering Wooster are provided with a liberal arts education, a learning approach that encourages students to experience different fields of study and once majors are chosen, to bring those varied experiences to their selected fields of study. Upon completion of at least 32 courses, students may earn a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Music Education degree.

In addition to the programs listed below, students may design their own major with approval from the registrar and the Provost. Some of the pre-professional programs listed below are cooperative programs, in which students spend a certain period of time at the College of Wooster before transferring to accelerated courses at other colleges and universities.

Independent Study program

The College of Wooster is especially noteworthy for its Independent Study program, in which all students work one-on-one with a faculty advisor to complete a written thesis or other significant project during the course of the senior year. The student also presents an oral defense of the thesis before a faculty committee. The program, begun in 1947 by Howard Lowry (the College's 7th President), has received considerable attention from other colleges and universities, and a number of other institutions have modeled programs after it. In 2003, the independent study program at Wooster was recognized by US News and World Report as the second best 'senior capstone experience' in the US, behind only Princeton University. This unique approach to education has long kept Wooster competitive against better-known colleges. As evidence of this fact, Wooster ranks 14th in the United States among independent colleges whose graduates earned Ph.D.'s between 1920 and 1995 (according to the Baccalaureate Origins of Doctorate Recipients,1998).

Special traditions have been developed surrounding Independent Study. Upon completion, a student will receive a yellow button that says 'I did it!' as well as the highly coveted Tootsie Roll. The tradition developed when the registrar at the time, Lee Culp (also a graduate of the College of Wooster), decided to give out candy along with the buttons one year; the Tootsie Roll itself was chosen simply because it was cheap to buy in bulk. The 'due date,' or the last day that students can turn in their completed Independent Study project, is the first Monday after spring break. On I.S. Monday, the pipe band strikes up and, with the Provost leading the way, the seniors travel through the Kauke Arch in a jubilant parade ending at Kittredge dining hall, where a celebratory dinner with their advisors and college administrators follows.


Built in 1900, Timken Science Library's two-story main reading room is one of the most beautiful interior spaces on campus

The College of Wooster Libraries consists of three branches (Andrews Library, The Flo K. Gault Library and The Timken Science Library in Frick Hall) and a music library located at the Scheide Music Center. Andrews Library, the largest library in the system, houses more than 850,000 volumes and can accommodate over 500 readers.[4] Andrews Library houses the college's Special Collections, media library and the student writing center. The Flo K. Gault Library, built as an addition to Andrews Library in 1995, primarily serves as a place for class seniors to work on their Independent Study projects. The Gault Library contains carrels devoted to Independent Study for every senior student of the humanities and social sciences. The Timken Science Library in Frick Hall (1900, 1998), which is the oldest branch in the system, served as the original academic library for the college from 1900 to 1962. After three decades as an art museum the building reopened as the science library in 1998, with substantial funding from the Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio, and now primarily serves students in the math and sciences departments. The library provides Independent Study carrels for math and science seniors.

  • CONSORT: The College of Wooster became a founding member of the Five Colleges of Ohio Consortium in 1996. The College of Wooster merged its library catalogue with Denison University, Kenyon College and Ohio Wesleyan University to form the CONSORT library system. The CONSORT library system provides its patrons access to the combined holdings of all four colleges.
  • OhioLINK: CONSORT is a member of OhioLINK, a statewide consortium of academic libraries as well as the State Library of Ohio, which agreed to make their collections available to library patrons within this network. CONSORT's membership into OhioLink gives its patrons immediate access to a collection of books, online journals and databases that rivals the largest academic libraries in the country. The OhioLINK catalogue represents 89 libraries in the state and lists nearly 11.5 million unique titles from total holdings of 48 million items.[5]

Art Museum

The College of Wooster Art Museum was established in the 1930s as a small gallery to facilitate the teaching of art and art research at the college. The current museum was established at the Ebert Art Center in 1997. The museum houses two small galleries, the Charlene Derge Sussel Art Gallery and the Burton D. Morgan Gallery, as well as storage for the college's permanent art collection. The museum's encyclopedic collection spans from ancient to contemporary art. Permanent collections include the John Taylor Arms Print Collection - which represents works by Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Isabel Bishop, Martin Lewis, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Albrecht Dürer, Käthe Kollwitz and Félix Bracquemond - the William C. Mithoefer Collection of African Art, Middle Eastern pottery and Chinese decorative art.

Ebert Art Center houses the art department as well as The College of Wooster Art Museum

Student life

International presence

Wooster has long emphasized international education. An unusually high percentage of its early graduates went overseas as missionaries (Wooster has its own unique collection of artifacts sent back from those alumni, including among other things an Egyptian mummy), and soon not only their sons and daughters, but also the students from their schools, were enrolling at Wooster as students. Dr. Elias Compton, former dean of the College, founded the Wooster in India program during the 1930s, which established a sister school relationship with Ewing Christian College in Allahabad, India. Over a forty-year time span, Wooster sent several former students to serve as Head Resident at Ewing while Ewing faculty were brought to Wooster as Ewing Fellows; a plaque with the names of Ewing Fellows hangs in Babcock Hall.[6] The Wooster in India program helped build this unique bond between Wooster and India that enhanced the exchange of students, ideas and cultures.[7] This international presence affected the entire campus, establishing a tradition which continues to influence the College. Today, approximately six percent of the student body is international in origin, representing more than 30 different countries.[1] The College offers majors in Cultural Area Studies and International Relations, instruction in seven foreign languages and opportunities to study abroad in 60 countries. Fifty-nine percent of Wooster students are from outside of Ohio.[1]

Gault Manor is Wooster's newest residence hall, opened in 2008. It's home to 73 students and features large common rooms on the first floor, as well as four smaller lounges
  • Scot Center: In early 2010, the College broke ground on the Scot Center, a 123,000-square-foot (11,400 m2) recreation facility. Scheduled to open in January 2012, the $30 million facility will include four multipurpose sport courts (for intramural basketball, volleyball and tennis), a 200-meter indoor track, a new fitness center, batting cages for baseball and softball, expanded locker rooms, coaches' offices and meeting facilities. The building will also boast a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) solar roof, the largest of any college facility in the United States.[8] The Scot Center is the first phase of a master plan to create a Campus Center.
  • Babcock Residence Hall: Babcock Hall houses 60% domestic and 40% international students who desire to experience this cross-cultural living environment.[9] Babcock Hall offers cross-cultural programming that includes regular hall meetings with student speakers and cultural activities; celebrations of holidays from around the world; and discussions of international issues led by faculty and invited speakers.
  • Luce Residence Hall: Luce Hall houses six language suites (Chinese, Classics, French, German, Spanish & Russian) providing students with a living/learning environment focusing on developing foreign language skills. The building features submarine-inspired architectural details, like a winding floorplan and porthole windows.


Wooster's athletic history dates back to its first baseball team, in 1880, which played only one game, losing 12-2 to Kenyon College. The football program was established in 1889; over its first two seasons, the team won all seven games it played, by a total score of 306-4. Included was a 64-0 victory at Ohio State on November 1, 1890, in the Buckeyes' first-ever home football game.[10] Shortly thereafter, intercollegiate sports were banned by the College President.[11] After varsity athletics returned in 1901, Wooster became an early member of the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). In 1983, Wooster (along with the rest of the Ohio Five) broke away from the OAC to form the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC). The NCAC, which competes at the non-scholarship Division III level of the NCAA, was founded primarily on the principle of offering women equal opportunity to participate in varsity sports.[12] In its first season of competition, 1984–85, the NCAC sponsored 21 sports, eleven for men and ten for women. Women's softball was added in 1998, and women's golf in 2010, giving the NCAC its current 23 sports. Wooster fields varsity athletic teams in all 23 of these sports.

Scottish Heritage

Wooster's school colors are black and old gold, and its mascot is the 'Fighting Scot.' Early Wooster teams were known as the Presbyterians, or unofficially as the 'Presbyterian Steamroller,' due to the football team's success. In 1939, a large donation from alumnus Birt Babcock funded the purchase of kilts for the marching band, in the yellow-and-black MacLeod tartan, which had no particular significance, except that it matched the school colors.[13] Scottish culture eventually became an important part of the school's heritage; today, the football games feature a Scottish pipe band with Highland dancers in addition to a traditional marching band, with all three groups clad in the MacLeod tartan.


The baseball team has made five appearances in the NCAA Division III World Series, including a second-place finish in 2009. The Scots lost the national championship final game to St. Thomas (Minnesota), 3-2 in 12 innings. Wooster has made seven consecutive appearances in the NCAA baseball tournament, and 20 times overall, under head coach Tim Pettorini, who has led the Scots since 1982. Pettorini has guided the Scots to nearly 1,000 victories, placing him in the all-time top ten among D-III baseball coaches. The Scots have also won a conference-record thirteen NCAC championships, including the 2010 title, in the league's 27 seasons. Prior to Pettorini's tenure, Bob Morgan led the Scots to the NCAA tournament in each of his final five seasons, giving Wooster a total of 25 appearances since the event began in 1976. During the first decade of the 21st century, the Scots had a record of 372-98, winning more games than any other team in Division III, and were second in winning percentage over that span, trailing only St. Scholastica. The team has had six All-Americans in the last two seasons. In 2009, pitcher Justin McDowell, designated hitter Matt Groezinger,[14] pitcher Mark Miller and outfielder Sean Karpen in 2009[15] were all honored, while shortstop Greg Van Horn and second baseman Matthew Johnson were named All-Americans in 2010.[16] Following his graduation, Johnson signed with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, and is currently playing in their minor-league system.


In 24 seasons at Wooster, head men's basketball coach Steve Moore has won over 500 games, and has the highest winning percentage among all coaches in the history of NCAA Division III men's basketball[17] . His teams have won 16 NCAC regular-season championships (including seven in a row from 2005 to 2011) and 14 NCAC Tournament titles (the most recent in 2011). Since 1991, the Scots have made 19 appearances in the NCAA Men's Division III Basketball Championship,[18] more than any other school during that span, failing to earn a berth only in 1994 and 2002. The team reached the Final Four of the NCAA D-III Tournament in 2003, 2007, and 2011. The 2011 team set a school record for victories, with a record of 31-3, and reached the national championship game before falling to St. Thomas (Minnesota). The 2003 team was close behind at 30-3, with center Bryan Nelson named D-III Men's Basketball Player of the Year. Home games are contested in the 3,400-seat Timken Gym, which is often filled to capacity for big games, including the rivalry contest with Wittenberg University and post-season tournaments. Since 2000, the Scots have been in the top ten in D-III basketball attendance every year, ranking 2nd in 2010-11 with over 2,000 fans per home game.[19]


The football team's greatest success occurred between 1916 and 1934; during this era, Wooster had a record of 118-31-12,[20] and won four outright OAC championships.[21] The 1934 title would be the Scots' last outright conference championship for 70 years, with only a pair of shared conference titles (1959 OAC and 1997 NCAC) during that time. In 2004, the team recorded a perfect 10-0 regular season and won its first outright NCAC conference championship, as well as its first NCAA D-III football tournament game. From 1995 through 2008, Wooster's record is 99-43, making this the most successful era since World War II. The 2008 Scots had a record of 8-2, placing second in the NCAC and narrowly missing an NCAA playoff berth. With over 3,100 fans per home game, Wooster ranked in the top 25 in D-III football attendance. In 2009, lights and artificial turf were added to the Scots' 4,500-seat John Papp stadium. The first-ever nighttime football game at Wooster was played on October 10, 2009, against Case Western Reserve University, with Case retaining the Baird Brothers Trophy by virtue of a 53-32 victory over the Scots.

John P. Papp Stadium

Other sports

In addition to baseball and men's basketball, two other Wooster teams earning NCAA Tournament berths during the 2009-10 academic year. The women's field hockey and women's lacrosse teams each won their second consecutive NCAC championships, earning automatic bids to their national NCAA D-III tournaments. This was the sixth conference title of the decade for the women's lacrosse team. The only national championship won by a Wooster athletic team came in 1975, when the men's golf team won the NCAA D-III title.

Academic All-Americans

Since 2000, there have been 18 Scots named Academic All-Americans by CoSIDA, in the College division, which includes NCAA Division II and Division III institutions, as well as NAIA schools, a total of over 1000 colleges. During the 2010-11 academic year, Paige Piper (3.91, biochemistry and molecular biology, women's soccer 3rd team) and Erin Plews-Ogan (4.00, anthropology, women's cross-country/track 3rd team) were selected. During the prior year, Wooster had three student-athletes so honored, each of whom were named to an Academic All-American team for two consecutive years before graduating, including Chantal Koechli, (3.97, biochemistry and molecular biology, women's soccer 1st team), Jay Keener (3.94, chemistry men's soccer, 1st team), and Ryan Story (4.00, biochemistry and molecular biology, men's lacrosse, an "at-large" honoree). Both Koechli and Story are now attending medical school, while Keener is working for ABSMaterials, Inc., a company founded by chemistry professor Dr. Paul L. Edmiston.

Performing arts

In addition to its highly-respected music department, Wooster is the home of the Ohio Light Opera, an enterprise founded within the college in 1979, but not part of the college curriculum. It is the only professional company in the United States entirely devoted to operetta. OLO performs the entire Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire, but also regularly revives rarely performed continental works of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Over the years, the Company has produced eighty different operettas.

The music department's home, Scheide includes a 291-seat recital hall, more than twenty individual and group practice rooms, and a closet filled with 200 kilts

Wooster's large performing ensembles include The Wooster Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1915 by Daniel Parmelee, then Professor of Violin at the college. The orchestra currently is the second-oldest orchestra in continuous performance in the state of Ohio.[22]Additional large ensembles include the Scot Symphonic and Marching Bands, the Wooster Chorus, and the Wooster Jazz Ensemble.

Wooster is also one of a few colleges in America to have an active on-campus pipe band. Officially called the College of Wooster Pipe Band, members perform at many official on-campus events such as commencement, sports games (football, basketball, swim meets, and sometimes lacrosse games) and many spontaneous student-run events. During the spring season they perform and compete at a grade 3 level, having won prizes at the Scots wi' Shotts event in Cleveland hosted by the local Lochaber Pipe Band. The Pipe Band also placed first in the grade 3 contest at the 2009 Toronto Indoor Highland Games. Wooster was the only American band competing.

In 2007, Wooster's theatre production of 'Nocturne' was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. Wooster's production was one of four shows chosen from a field of approximately 400 entries.

Student activities and clubs

The College of Wooster has over one hundred student organizations, from the Jenny Investment Club, which allows students to invest real money for the College as they learn about the stock market, to Common Grounds, a student-run coffee shop and house program offering 'an alternative atmosphere to the partying scene' for the College community.[23]

There are currently ten active Greek groups at the College of Wooster, six sororities and four fraternities. Called clubs and sections, these groups are not affiliated with national Greek organizations, and approximately fifteen percent of the student body participates.

The college has a wide variety of student-run media. The Wooster Voice is the weekly student newspaper with a newly launched website, and has been published continuously since 1886 (see list of college newspapers), while WCWS (WOO 91) is the college radio station. The Goliard is the annual literary magazine. Each year, English professor Daniel Bourne also publishes an international literary magazine called Artful Dodge. Additionally, the English Department has classes every two years on journalism and magazine writing; these students create and publish a newspaper and a magazine respectively.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

  • Daniel Bourne, poet, professor of English
  • William Gass, novelist (The Tunnel), professor of Philosophy and English
  • Jack Lengyel, head football coach and lacrosse coach 1966–1970; head football coach at Marshall University 1971–1974
  • Dijana Pleština, former first lady of Croatia, advisor for the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, professor of Political Science
  • Orange Nash Stoddard, professor of natural history


  1. ^ a b c d Fast Facts <>
  2. ^ Loren Pope. Colleges that Change Lives <>
  3. ^ "Official website: Our history & traditions". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  4. ^ Andrews Library - College of Wooster Campus Tour <>
  5. ^ What is OhioLINK <>
  6. ^ 'International Education Week,' Cosmos Oct. 2008, Vol. 22 Issue 3 <>
  7. ^ Wooster Voice - International Insight <>
  8. ^
  9. ^ Babcock Hall - College of Wooster <>
  10. ^ "Site of First Ohio State Home Football Game / The Ohio State University First Football Team 1890 Marker". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  11. ^ "Athletics - College of Wooster". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  12. ^ "NCAC History". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  13. ^ "Admissions & Financial Aid - College of Wooster". 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  14. ^ " 2009 All-America team". Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  15. ^ "2009 NCAA Division III Baseball Championship". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  16. ^ "Van Horn, Johnson Consensus All-American Picks - College of Wooster". 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  17. ^ "2011 Coaching records". NCAA. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "2011 NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL ATTENDANCE". NCAA. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  20. ^ "Athletics - College of Wooster". Retrieved 2010-07-17. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Wooster Symphony Orchestra home page <>
  23. ^ Common Grounds home page <>
  24. ^ Mary Crow, Colorado Poet Laureate <>

Further reading

  • James R. Blackwood, The House on College Avenue: the Comptons at Wooster, 1891-1913 (Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press, 1968).
  • Lucy Lilian Notestein, Wooster of the Middle West (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1971).

External links

Coordinates: 40°48′42″N 81°56′08″W / 40.81167°N 81.935494°W / 40.81167; -81.935494

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