University of Redlands opened in Southern California in 1909, with 39 students and nine professors, thanks to efforts of the local community and the congregation of American Baptists. The period from 1987 to 2005 was one of great strides in terms of development; there was significant private fundraising, institutional investment, and strong enrollment. Currently the University is funded with an endowment of 110 million dollars supporting the University structure and an undergraduate enrollment of 3600 students, but it was not always this way.
University of Redlands had a rocky start. School fundraising was hampered right off the bat by the great freeze of 1911, and again during the great depression of 1932. It was not until the era of WWII that University of Redlands really began to develop; ingrained Baptist social restrictions were eased and enrollment grew quickly as veterans and their families were admitted in large numbers.
The University of Redlands has a unique institutional structure. Students at the University of Redlands study within one of five schools on campus, which include: The College of Arts and Sciences, The Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, The School of Music, The school of business, and the School of Education. While some of these schools lead into graduate studies and directly admit graduate students, all of them are available to undergraduates and undergraduate studies. Let’s briefly take a closer look at each of them.
The College of Arts and Sciences draws the majority of undergraduates, offering 40 majors and a student/faculty ratio of 11:1. The College provides a liberal arts foundation, which leads to more specific learning later on. The interdisciplinary approach is a core value at University of Redlands and is reflected by institutional pieces such as the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. The Johnston Center is offered for those seeking a more personal approach, the possibility of a customized major, and a more independent experience.
The School of Music is another option that draws students to University of Redlands in general. Also based on the liberal arts foundation, and following the interdisciplinary approach, the school is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. There are two distinct degree options for students at the undergraduate level, within the School of Music.
And, like the School of Music, The School of Business offers two distinct degree programs for undergraduates: A B.S. in business, or a B.S. in management. The basic program is based on ‘concentrations,’ which range from 12 to 26 units. The concentrations are open to any student who wishes to focus his or her attention in a given area the school offers. The School of Business is open to and draws working adults as well as students. Likewise, the School of Education draws current teachers seeking to expand their horizons as well as students seeking to develop basic skills.
Within each of the five schools we have talked about are ‘centers of distinction.’ These are opportunities for students in each of the schools to do research, sponsor symposiums and ‘focus’ on, or present, specific aspects of study with importance to the community. So, not only do these centers of distinction enhance the knowledge of the participating student, but they enhance the experience of the community at large as well.
78 percent of undergraduate students at Redlands receive some kind of need based financial aid to offset the cost of tuition. There is no one particular route through the University, but a majority of students do study abroad. 60 percent of students follow this opportunity and it is one of the prominent features of a Redlands education. Given all of the academic options available to students, it is no wonder that only 25 percent choose to join a fraternity or sorority, even though that opportunity exists as well. With all these elements of diversity, there is one other worth mentioning, and that is, 40 percent of students live off campus.
For those students remaining on campus, there are residence hall communities to which students can belong. Each community has its’ own staff and, in conjunction with students, plans events and activities designed to enhance the growing and learning processes.
Given the location of University of Redlands, there is no end of things to do in the surrounding community. Beaches and ski areas can each be found within a sixty minute drive! Los Angeles is also a sixty minute drive. There are nearby wilderness areas and conservancies where students can learn the importance of conservation. Indeed, this last fact has been picked up by the students and administration. The idea of sustainability permeates the campus. Redlands is equipped with a cogeneration and chiller plant that allows the University to produce most of its’ own power, and there are a number of other campus initiatives concerning sustainability. Those include a recycling program and campus community garden.
The sheer number of academic and educational options at University of Redlands is impressive. Adding this to the selective status the University enjoys makes this a college worth visiting!