State of the College


In the midst of a very challenging higher-education landscape, when many private colleges are struggling with declining enrollments, fragile finances and growing skepticism about the value of the liberal arts, we can take great pride that Dickinson is truly thriving. Thanks to the work of our expert and passionate faculty and our dedicated staff and senior leadership team, we are achieving many successes, and we continue to provide an outstanding education to our engaged and curious students.

Prospective students and parents take note of our momentum and understand that we offer a distinctive experience with the kind of useful and broad education needed in the 21st century. The class of 2019 is our largest in history — 731 students! What’s more, applications for the class of 2020 are even higher than last year at this time. We are in demand!

We also can celebrate that Dickinson is achieving its long-term goal of enrolling a student body that reflects the global community our students will inhabit. The class of 2019 is made up of 19 percent students of color; 11 percent of the class are international students, representing 27 countries; and 13 percent of our new students are first-generation college students.

I believe deeply in our founder’s vision that an educated citizenry is necessary for our democracy to thrive. Benjamin Rush understood that a residential liberal-arts education should not become limited to the wealthiest among us. Growing our ability to provide scholarships for future generations of Dickinsonians is essential.

As they have for generations, our students continue to make their mark on Dickinson and the wider world. Members of the class of 2015 earned five Fulbrights, led the basketball team to a Centennial Conference championship, advanced to the national Mock Trial championships, built a mobile app for The Trout Gallery and launched the Innovation Competition at Dickinson. They choreographed, exhibited and displayed the fruits of artistic, scientific and fieldwork endeavors. They participated in service trips from Alabama to Ecuador, studied around the world through Dickinson programs and Mosaics and took to the streets in the annual Run for Steph and Color Rush 5K.

Our faculty continue to receive recognition for their expertise and the quality of their scholarship, including an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, grants from the National Geographic Society and U.S. Department of State U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program, groundbreaking boa constrictor research published in The Journal of Experimental Biology and a Cognitive Command training program being implemented in law-enforcement training around the country.

We must continue to invest in our faculty so that they have the tools and resources needed to expand the heart of college — the curriculum. But we must also invest in our students’ lives outside of the classroom. When we admit students to Dickinson, we must do all we can to ensure that they succeed during their four years. Both our residential life system, which must prepare them for life after Dickinson, and our academic program, which demands much from our students, must stand on a support system that fosters excellence in all our students. Because of the strength and dedication of our community, I believe we can provide a holistic education in a way that our peers cannot.

To continue our path forward, we began a strategic planning process in the fall. As the following pages will show, Dickinson is in an enviable position.

Together, we form a powerful community of Dickinsonians, dedicated to ensuring that current and future generations walk down the Old Stone Steps fully prepared for the challenges they will face. Working together, contributing together, we can be certain that Dickinson’s next decades will be the best yet.