Dr. Benjamin Rush founded Dickinson College with a grand,
yet pragmatic goal: He hoped to prepare promising students to become leaders in
the newly chartered United States.
This was a tall order in 1783 America, a fledgling nation in
the wake of the Revolutionary War. Bold revolutionaries such as Rush, a signer
of the Declaration of Independence, and John Dickinson, a signer of the United
States Constitution, laid the foundation for the new democracy; the next
generation of Americans would need to further these democratic ideals in the
New World. Dickinson College was founded to meet this noble goal.
Chartered just days after the signing of the Treaty of
Paris, Dickinson College forged a new frontier in higher education—one that
broke from the traditions of Old World institutions. Under Rush’s model,
students not only acquired knowledge, but also learned how to use that
knowledge in a rapidly changing world.
The backbone of this revolutionary educational model is a
solid foundation in the liberal arts. This “liberal education” teaches students
to embrace new ways of thinking, solve problems creatively and address
important social issues purposefully. Because of this, Dickinson students are
poised to contribute in fields including law, medicine and health services,
scientific research, the arts, business and finance, public service, education,
community service, environmental studies, the military and religion.
Dickinson’s forward-thinking approach is evident today in
lively discourse between students and faculty; in student and faculty writings
and research; and in the shimmering façade of Dickinson’s state-of-the-art
Rector Science Complex. Moreover, the college’s firm commitment to sustainability’s
triple bottom line—fiscal, social and environmental—is manifest in the sustainable systems instituted throughout
the campus and in coursework and programs put forth by our pioneering academic
Today’s Dickinson students also enjoy a truly global
education—a benefit that was unimaginable in
Rush’s day. More than half of all courses at Dickinson maintain a global focus,
and globally minded policies and practices are observed campuswide, and the
majority of Dickinson students study or research abroad. When they return to
Dickinson, they bring a rich global perspective that informs and enriches the
entire on-campus community.
Dickinson today remains committed to a revolutionary course
of study that pursues, in close cooperation with its students, new knowledge
and promotes generous connections across disciplines. A Dickinson liberal-arts
education offers students the opportunity to completely and passionately engage
in the pursuit of knowledge, talent and character for a noble purpose—to be
useful through leadership and high accomplishment.