Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) is a private, liberal arts college in Lancaster, PA. It is one of the rigorous colleges in both the academic and athletic fronts. Students are encouraged to excel in athletics as well as academics. Students frequently collaborate with professors in research and development projects. Popular majors offered by the college are Biology, Business Administration, Creative Writing, Economics, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Political Science and Psychology.
The Franklin & Marshall Diplomats have teams competing in the NCAA Division III Centennial Conference for most sports. The F&M men’s wrestling team competes at the Division I level.
The charter for Franklin College was granted in 1787, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The campus was built on a brewery, and was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, who donated £200 to the new institution. The founding members are four prominent ministers from the German Reformed Church and the Lutheran Church. Several influential citizens of Philadelphia also contributed to the founding of the school. Franklin was then a German college that aims to preserve the present republican system of government. Its first board of trustees comprised five individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence, two members of the Constitutional Convention and seven officers of the Revolutionary War. This is the first college in the country to teach two languages, English and German.
Franklin College also made history as the first coeducational institution, with a significant percentage of females in the first class. But the school decided to close its doors to women afterwards, and remained an all-male institution for 182 years. In 1807, an academy that was to be a counterpart of the financially unstable college was established. In 1835, the first student organization on campus was created, the Diagnothian Literary Society, which is essentially a debate club. Another club was established, Goethean, for the sake of competition. The two clubs organized oratorical contests and debates. They discussed politics, philosophy and literature.
The other half of the college, Marshall College, has a rich history of its own. This school opened in 1836 in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania and was named after the fourth US Justice. The school was smaller but the faculty, and consequently the quality of education offered by the college, was excellent. Because of the way the administration imposes rules and keeps the students well disciplined, the repute of the college grew. Many students from all over the country. However, financial troubles came during the late 1840s. On December 6, 1849, the two colleges decided to secure the future of both colleges by merging, hence the creation of Franklin & Marshall College.
Housing options are many and varied, from traditional residence halls to theme houses. Franklin & Marshall students mostly live on campus. All in all, the college offers 1550 beds on campus and in the theme houses. All freshmen students are required in the residence halls where they were assigned upon acceptance. Second year students may move out and live in different houses. Seniors and Juniors have the option of living in off campus houses approved by the college. The fraternities and sorority houses have been reinstated in 2004 but have to submit proofs of housing quality to continue receiving approval by the college.
Athletic life is big on campus as F&M is an active charter member of the Centennial Conference, an athletic conference of 11 mid-Atlantic institutions that compete in 22 sports in the NCAA’s Division III.
The school awards grants and scholarships to students that apply for aid, along with work-study programs, scholarships and family education loan programs. Students have to submit documents that prove their financial need, which are then analyzed by the administration. The average debt after graduation amounts to $30,000.