Lafayette College

Photo: Lafayette College

 

Lafayette College is a relatively small college with less than 3,000 students. This college is highly selective, and boasts of its liberal arts programs as well as engineering programs. Lafayette’s academic excellence in the liberal arts led to the establishment of a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in the institution. Students can expect better discussion with instructors because of the student:faculty ratio of 11:1. The Lafayette Leopards are competitors in the NCAA Division I Patriot League.

The college offers 45 different majors across four academic divisions, such as natural sciences, humanities, engineering, and social sciences.The most popular majors in Lafayette are Art, Biology, Civil Engineering, Economics, English, International Relations, Mechanical Engineering, Political Science and Psychology. Minors are also offered by each department, along with twelve interdisciplinary minors. A student may also opt for double major or create a coordinate major in two different departments.

School History

James Madison Porter along with several other Easton citizens held a meeting in 1824 to discuss their prospects of establishing a college in their locality. The founders decided to name the school after General Lafayette, a travelling French military official who went to New York as a part of his grand US tour in 1824-25. The group of Easton citizens also assembled a Board of Trustees for the school comprising thirty-five members. This exact system of governance in Lafayette has remained since the institution’s founding. The first education plan was conceptualized by James Porter along with lawyers Jacob Wagener, and Joel Jones. In 1826, Pennsylvania Governor John Andrew Shulze’s officially granted the charter.

The school opened after Presbyterian minister Rev. George Junkin transferred the all-male Manual Labor Academy of Pennsylvania from Germantown to Easton. The first classes were held in a rented farmhouse along the Lehigh River. Students tilled the soil and worked to come up with the funds to support the school. Francis March is an English professor who taught at Lafayette during 1857. Lafayette was the first college that implemented an English program in the country. This institution is home to the oldest college newspaper in the state of Pennsylvania, The Lafayette, which has been around since 1870. During the 1970s, the college decided to accept women, which increased the total number of students enrolling.

Campus life

Fraternities and sororities have a strong presence on campus. The four fraternities are Delta Upsilon, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Phi Kappa Psi, and Zeta Psi. There are six sorority groups, Alpha Phi, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, and Alpha Gamma Delta. Most of these Greek-letter societies have houses, where approximately a quarter of the student body lives. Accepted members are active in charity works and other activities of the organization. This school is also the historic founding place of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity in 1925 by Frank Reed Horton. Branches of the organization still exist worldwide.

The school has a separate administrative group to facilitate housing and student activities on campus, the Division of Campus Life. This department helps students adapt to the dynamic environment that the school and the various organizations create.

Financial Aid

Scholarships, grants, loans and work-study jobs are the main forms of financial aid offered by Lafayette. On-campus jobs are arranged by the administration for students that accept this kind of financial aid. Students that apply for aid are assessed based on their financial need, academic standing or regional criteria. Some grants are also given to qualifying students from a particular major or department. The average debt of a student after graduation is a little over $20,000.

Rankings

2012

Forbes – Forbes ranks Lafayette at number 42 among all private colleges in the United States, and number 49 overall.

US News and World Report Rankings – Lafayette College ranks in at number 40 among liberal arts colleges.