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2018-2019 Catalog


Lafayette College was founded in 1826 by citizens of Easton, Pennsylvania, as an all-male liberal arts institution. Throughout its history, the College has continually shaped itself in ways that best serve its educational purpose, remaining supportive of the tradition of liberal art education while being responsive to changes and challenges of society and the times. For example, in 1838, it became one of the first colleges to implement a teacher-training program, thus recognizing the connections within education at all levels. In 1854, the College formed a mutually supportive association with the Presbyterian Church. In 1866, as industrialism was changing the Western world, it established courses in engineering, chemistry, and mining. At a local level, it acknowledged the educational needs of the Easton area by introducing a part-time evening degree program in 1953. More recently, as the role of women in society underwent redefinition, in 1970 the College, began coeducation to prepare both men and women to lead the nation into a new century. Today, Lafayette is an independent, coeducational, residential, undergraduate institution with a faculty of distinction and 2,400 full-time men and women students of high intellectual promise and diverse backgrounds. The student body is 50 percent men and 50 percent women.

The College's curriculum is distinguished by the rare combination, on an undergraduate campus, of degree programs in the liberal arts and in engineering. Students who come to Lafayette may choose among a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses and pursue the Bachelor of Arts degree in 31 fields or the Bachelor of Science degree in nine fields of science and four fields of engineering. Those who pursue professional career preparation do so within programs rooted in and enriched by the liberal arts. Lafayette alumni/ae remain unusually active and supportive of the College and its goals.

Effective and challenging teaching is the first priority of the faculty both in the classroom and in a variety of independent and collaborative learning experiences. Easton's proximity to New York City and Philadelphia helps students extend their learning experiences, as do Lafayette's full co-curricular intellectual, cultural, athletic, and social programs. Faculty research and scholarship are encouraged and supported in the belief that such professional involvement extends the individual faculty member's intellectual resources, strengthens and complements teaching effectiveness, facilitates student/faculty research, and contributes to the scholarly and professional communities outside the College.

In addition to a campus of great beauty, Lafayette offers a well-equipped physical plant. Its programs are supported by a library with more than 500,000 volumes and an extensive array of electronic resources; modern computer facilities and laboratories accessible to students; a thriving Center for the Arts; a large College Center for dining and other communal activities; an athletic complex compatible with its intercollegiate Patriot League commitment and its extensive intramural and recreational program; two chapels serving a variety of religious commitments; and a diversity of living situations. Lafayette's endowment per student is in the top 2 percent of all institutions in the country.