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Davidson College

Davidson College
Motto Alenda Lux Ubi Orta Libertas (Latin)
Motto in English
Let Learning Be Cherished Where Liberty Has Arisen
Established 1837
Type Private liberal arts college
Affiliation Loosely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Endowment $649.3 million (2014)[1]
President Carol Quillen
Academic staff
170 [2]
Administrative staff
563 (full-time) Fall 2011[2]
Undergraduates 1,850 On campus[2]
Location Davidson, North Carolina, USA
Campus Suburban, Script error: No such module "convert". main campus and a Script error: No such module "convert". Lake Campus
Colors Red and Black          
Athletics NCAA Division IA-10, Pioneer Football League
Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot Will E. Wildcat
(Bronze sculpture; named for William Lee Davidson, the College's namesake).

Davidson College is a private liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina. The college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars. In the past decade, Davidson has consistently been ranked among the best liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Forbes ranked Davidson 22nd overall in their "America's Top Colleges" list in 2014, and 1st among southern colleges. Majors are offered in more than twenty fields; Davidson also offers several minors and self-designed interdisciplinary options.


The college was named after Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, a Revolutionary War commander. The land for the college came from General Davidson's estate, a large portion of which was donated by his son. The location of the college was determined during a committee meeting of the Concord Presbytery in April 1835 at Beaver Dam Plantation.[4] The college was established by Presbyterians in 1837 and maintains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). According to its Statement of Purpose, "the ties that bind the college to its Presbyterian heritage ... have remained close and strong" and "the loyalty of the college ... extends beyond the Christian community to the whole of humanity and necessarily includes openness to and respect for the world's various religious traditions."[5]

The school became co-educational in 1973 and today maintains a 50/50 ratio of men to women. The lyrics of its alma mater song have been changed from, "Our fathers loved thee” and “their loyal sons undaunted” into “Thy founders loved thee” and “thy loyal sons and daughters.” [6]

On 19 March 2007, Davidson became the first liberal arts college in the country to eliminate the need for loans in financial aid packages. All demonstrated need is met through grants, student employment, and parental contribution.[7]


Admissions profile

File:Chambers Building, Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina).jpg
Chambers Building at Davidson College in Davidson, NC

Numerous magazines such as Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report regard Davidson's admission process as "most selective".[8]

The Davidson College Office of Admission & Financial Aid presents the college as one "dedicated to intellectual and cultural growth in the broadest sense." Davidson prides itself on a student body chosen not only for their academic promise, but also for their character.

"Faculty and admission personnel work together to select students for admission. The selection process is composed of three major elements: 1) the evaluation of academic performance and potential; 2) the assessment of individual characteristics; and 3) the recognition of outstanding interests, achievements, and activities. These three elements are used to gain an understanding of each student's academic and personal strengths and, thus, give an overall evaluation of the individual's eligibility for admission."[9]

For the class of 2018 (enrolled fall 2014), Davidson received 5,560 applications and accepted 1,200 (21.6%).[10] The yield rate (the percentage of accepted students who enroll) was 42.3%.[10] In terms of class rank, 85% of enrolled freshmen reporting rank were in the top 10% of their high school classes.[10] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for admitted students was 640–750 for critical reading, 650–750 for math, and 650–750 for writing, while the ACT Composite range was 30–34.[10] Caucasians represented 67.9% of the incoming class, and 38.9% of enrolled freshmen were from the Southeast.[10]


University rankings
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The 2015 annual ranking by U.S. News & World Report rates it as tied for the 11th best among "National Liberal Arts Colleges" and 3rd in "Best Undergraduate Teaching" in the nation.[13] For 2014, Davidson College was ranked 22nd overall on Forbes ' list of "America's Top Colleges," and 1st in the South.[14]

According to The Princeton Review, Davidson is ranked among the top twenty colleges nationally for the following categories: "Best Overall Academic Experience For Undergraduates," "Professors Get High Marks (#1)," "Professors Make Themselves Accessible (#16)," "Students Study the Most (#10)," "School Runs Like Butter (#4)," "Town-Gown Relations are Great (#3)," "Easiest Campus to Get Around (#3)," and "Best Quality of Life (#16)."[15]


Davidson has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, 89% of its classes are under 30 students, and no classes have more than 50 students.[16]

Davidson has 170 full-time faculty members. Almost all faculty members have terminal degrees in their field, with 96% of full-time faculty members holding a PhD or a terminal degree.[2]

Honor code

File:E.H. Little Library, Davidson College, Davidson, NC.jpg
E. H. Little Library, Davidson College, NC

Davidson students are bound by a strict honor code, signed by each student at the start of their Freshman year.

The Davidson College Honor Code states: "Every student shall be honor bound to refrain from cheating (including plagiarism). Every student shall be honor bound to refrain from stealing. Every student shall be honor bound to refrain from lying about College business. Every student shall be honor bound to report immediately all violations of the Honor Code of which the student has first-hand knowledge; failure to do so shall be a violation of the Honor Code. Every student found guilty of a violation shall ordinarily be dismissed from the College. Every member of the College community is expected to be familiar with the operation of the Honor Code."

As one of the most obvious manifestations of the Honor Code, Davidson students take self-scheduled, unproctored final exams. Some exams (known as "reviews" in Davidson vernacular) are take-home, timed, and closed book. Other take-home exams may be open book or untimed. Often take-home exams may take students days to complete. Every assignment submitted at Davidson includes either an implicit or (more often) explicit pledge that the student neither gave nor received assistance on the assignment beyond the bounds of the Honor Code. The Honor Code extends beyond 'reviews,' essays, or research papers. Notes around campus are commonly seen, whether on a bulletin board or taped to a brick walkway, describing an item found at the location and the finder's contact information so that the property may be recovered.[17][18]

Majors and Minors

Davidson offers majors in 27 subject areas.[2] Students can also design their own major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. In addition to the one major required for graduation, students may pursue a second major, a minor, or a concentration. 17 Interdisciplinary concentrations are offered in Archaeology, Applied Mathematics, Asian Studies, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Education, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Film and Media, Gender Studies, Genomics, International Studies, Medical Humanities and Neuroscience.

In February 2002, the Royal Shakespeare Company opened the Duke Family Performance Hall, one of the premier performance spaces in the Southeast. In 2007 and 2008, the Cunningham Fine Arts building, home to several smaller performance spaces, faculty offices, classrooms and set construction facilities, was completely renovated.

Davidson's former President, Tom Ross, has repeatedly credited Davidson's Classics Abroad program with redirecting his life. Begun by Professor George Labban in the 1960s, the program has survived the retirement of Labban and his successor Dirk French. Presently, it is the most popular of the college’s study abroad programs, along with the Semester in India program. Davidson students may also take advantage of the wealth of outside study abroad programs available, applying their Davidson financial aid package to their program of choice.

Student life


Main article: Davidson Wildcats

Davidson competes at the NCAA Division I level in 21 sports. Of these sports, 11 are men's and 10 are women's. Approximately 24% of the Davidson on-campus student body participates in varsity sports.[19] Davidson has the fourth-smallest undergraduate enrollment of any school in Division I football, behind Presbyterian, VMI, and Wofford (smallest to largest).

Davidson's sports teams are known as the Wildcats. Their colors are red and black, although since 2008, many sports including football, men's basketball, and men's soccer have moved towards a brighter hue of red and white.[20][21][22][23] The Wildcats participate as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference in all sports other than Football and wrestling.[24] Sports that compete in other conferences include football in Division I Football Championship Subdivision Pioneer Football League, Men's Club Lacrosse in the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association, and wrestling in the Southern Conference.

Student organizations

The main student newspaper on campus is the Davidsonian, which is published weekly. The Davidsonian was founded in 1914 and has published a volume every year since then.[25] In 2007, Davidson's Library completed a project to digitally archive all past issues of the Davidsonian.[26]

File:Alvarez College Union, Davidson College, NC.jpg
Alvarez College Union, Davidson College, NC

Davidson offers over 150 student organizations on campus, including arts & culture organizations, performance groups, sports groups, political organizations, gender and sexuality groups, religious organizations, and social action groups. The Student Activities Office encourages and is available for students wishing to develop an organization not yet established at Davidson.[27]

Most student events are sponsored by the Union Board, the student organization in charge of the student union. In addition to hosting concerts throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, the Union Board organizes events such as pancake breakfasts at midnight, movies, and Freshmen welcome events.

Davidson College a cappella

Davidson has four a cappella singing groups: the Generals, the Delilahs, Androgyny, and the Nuances.

The Davidson Generals, an all-male group, took first place in the "Rockin' the Forest" intercollegiate a cappella competition at Wake Forest University in 2005.[28] Following the release of their third CD, "Alpha-Kappa-Pella" in 2006[29] they were selected for the Voices Only 2006 collegiate a cappella compilation CD with their cover of John Legend's "Used 2 Love U."[30] They released their fourth album, titled "General Consensus," in the Spring of 2008 and their fifth album, "Decorated" in Spring 2010.

File:Sloan Music Center, Davidson College, NC.jpg
Sloan Music Center, Davidson College, NC

The Davidson Delilahs, an all-female group, have produced five albums to date: "Falling into Place" (2001); "Head over Heels" (2004); "Kickin' Off our Heels" (2006); "Davidson Delilahs" (2008); and "Small Town, Big Voices" (2011).[31] The Delilahs also perform regularly throughout the year.

Davidson Androgyny was founded in 1998 as a response to the absence of a co-ed a cappella group on campus.[32] Androgyny has released four albums, "Everything But The Piano" (2001), "The A Capocalypse" (2003), "A Class Act" (2008), and their latest album "iCapella" in spring 2011. The group also sang "I'm Yours" with platinum recording artist Jason Mraz on his "Music, Magic, and Make Peace Tour" stop at Davidson College on April 19, 2008.[33]

The Davidson Nuances, a co-ed a cappella group on campus, was founded in 2009. In addition to performing on campus and in the community, the group released their debut album "Shaken, Not Stirred" in spring 2012.[34]

Fraternities and eating houses

The fraternity and eating house system at Davidson is known as Patterson Court and is governed by the Patterson Court Council. Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Order, Phi Gamma Delta, Connor House, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Warner Hall, Kappa Sigma, Black Student Coalition, Rusk House, and Turner House all currently occupy houses on Patterson Court.

Additionally, Kappa Alpha Psi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Delta Sigma Theta maintain a presence on campus. The NPHC sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first sorority of Davidson College's social community, receiving its charter in the Fall of 2008. The NPHC sorority Delta Sigma Theta is the newest member to Davidson's Patterson Court, having received its charter in the Spring of 2011.

In total, there are eight national fraternities, four local women's eating houses, and two sororities on campus. Approximately 65% of the female students and 38% of male students belong to a fraternity or an eating house.[35]

The Farm

The College Farm offers fresh, naturally grown, local produce to Davidson College students through the college's Dining Services operation. The farm is a stand-alone, business-based unit of the college and does not introduce additional costs to Dining Services. It engages Davidson students, faculty, and staff to enhance educational opportunities and create a collaborative and innovative environment for curricular and co-curricular activities that support local farming. Located on Grey Road in Davidson, its initial production is situated on a three-plus-acre site on land known as McIntosh Farm. In 2008, the college purchased a total of 109 acres from the McIntosh family. The farm grows naturally—no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. All seeds are certified organic, non-GMO, and/or open-pollinated heirloom varieties. There is a 16-foot x 42-foot propagation greenhouse, and a 30-foot x 96-foot high tunnel that allows year-round growth. The Farm runs largely off community volunteers and work study students. Its production includes lettuce, spinach, greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, melons, strawberries, beets, carrots, blueberries, herbs, and cut flowers for catering.

Major Events

Spring Frolics is one of the most important student events of the entire year. Because Davidson College is one of the hardest school in the world and May is full of exams, students drink away their last weekend of freedom for three days straight.

Davidson's concert committee typically organizes one major concert as well as a couple smaller ones throughout the weekend. In addition to concerts, activities include free blowup houses, drinking, water slides, ice cones, hotdogs, and drinking. Guests must be signed up with the college Union Board in order to attend.

Davidson Terms

Commons - The on-campus dining hall. Patterson Court - The area where the fraternities and eating houses are located.

Royal Shakespeare Company Residencies

In 2002, the Royal Shakespeare Company performed William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in residency at Davidson College, the RSC's second residency at a US college or university. The performance inaugurated the Duke Family Performance Hall.[36] In March 2005, the RSC returned to Davidson and was in residency for most of the month, performing The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, as well as numerous educational activities, many of which were open to the general public. In February 2006, their artists directed scenes from Shakespeare's plays and other theatric materials inspired by Shakespeare, entitled For Every Passion, Something, with Davidson students as actors. The productions Infinite Variety and For Every Passion Something were presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. In February 2007, the Royal Shakespeare Company performed Shakespeare's Pericles and The Winter's Tale, as well as Roy Williams's Days of Significance, in the Duke Family Performance Hall.[37] In 2008, the RSC conducted educational programs, similar to those they presented in 2006.[38] In addition, during this residency, playwright Rona Munro developed a new play, Little Eagles.

Financial aid

On 19 March 2007, Davidson College announced that all students would have their demonstrated financial need met by grants and student employment; loans would no longer be a component of any Davidson financial aid package.[39] On 7 June 2007, the Duke Endowment pledged $15,000,000 to support the initiative.[7] In March 2008, the initiative was named The Davidson Trust.

In addition to not including loans in their financial aid packages, Davidson recently completed a capital campaign adding 156 new scholarships funded with $88 million.[40] Davidson states that they are committed to providing 100% of demonstrated need of all students, with 44% of students receiving need-based aid and over 50% receiving some form of financial aid.[40]

Notable alumni

Davidson has many notable graduates, particularly in politics, athletics, and the arts. These include several governors of North and South Carolina, a former White House Press Secretary, the current US Secretary of Transportation, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Charles Wright. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, and 2015 NBA MVP Stephen Curry attended Davidson. Neither Wilson nor Curry graduated, though Curry has stated he intends to do so.[41] George Osborne, the current British Chancellor of the Exchequer, attended Davidson College for one semester as an exchange student.[42]


Davidson College was founded in 1837 by The Concord Presbytery after purchasing Script error: No such module "convert". of land from William Lee Davidson II. The first students graduated from Davidson in 1840 and received diplomas with the newly created college seal designed by Peter Stuart Ney, who is believed by some to be Napoleon's Marshal Ney.[43]

In the 1850s, Davidson overcame financial difficulty by instituting "The Scholarship Plan," a program that allowed Davidson hopefuls to purchase a scholarship for $100, which could be redeemed in exchange for full tuition to Davidson until the 1870s. The college's financial situation improved dramatically in 1856 with a $250,000 donation by Maxwell Chambers, making Davidson the wealthiest college south of Princeton. The Chambers Building was built to commemorate this gift. On November 28, 1921, the Chambers Building was destroyed in a fire but was rebuilt 8 years later with funds provided by a generous gift from the Rockefeller family.[44] The Chambers Building continues to be the primary academic building on campus.

In 1923, the Gamma chapter in North Carolina of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Davidson. Over 1500 men and 500 women have been initiated into Davidson's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.[45]

In 1924, James Duke formed the Duke Endowment, which has provided millions of dollars to the college, including a $15 million pledge in 2007 to assist with the elimination of student loans.

On May 5, 1972, the trustees voted to allow women to enroll at Davidson as degree students for the first time. (Women had attended classes as early as the 1860s but did not enjoy degree privileges. The first women to attend classes at Davidson were then-President Kirkpatrick's five daughters, who attended classes to increase the size of the student body during the Civil War.) Art major Marianna "Missy" Woodward '73, the only woman in a class of 217, was the first woman to graduate from Davidson.[46]

In early 2005, the College's Board of Trustees voted in a 31–5 decision to allow 20% of the board to be non-Christian. John Belk, the former mayor of Charlotte and one of the heirs of Belk Department Store, was a casualty of this decision, resigning in protest after more than six decades of affiliation with the college. Stephen Smith also resigned. Belk, however, continued his strong relationship with his alma mater and was honored in March 2006 at the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the Belk Scholarship.

A delegation from BNU-HKBU United International College was invited by the Associated Colleges of the South (ACS), a consortium of 16 liberal arts colleges in the US, to explore collaborative ties. UIC visited three of the ACS member institutions between 17 and 25 April. The delegates discussed exchange opportunities and collaborative projects with Davidson College.[47]

Past Presidents of Davidson College

Rev. Robert Hall Morrison 1836-1840

Rev. Samuel Williamson 1841-1854

Rev. Drury Lacy 1855-1860

Rev. John Lycan Kirkpatrick 1860-1866

Rev. George Wilson McPhail 1866- 1871

Prof. John Rennie Blake Chairman 1871-1877

Rev. Andrew Dousa Hepburn 1877-1885

Rev. Luther McKinnon (Class of 1861) 1885-1888

Col. William Joseph Martin Acting President 1887-1888

Rev. John Bunyan Shearer 1888-1901

Dr. Henry Louis Smith (Class of 1881) 1901-12

Dr. William Joseph Martin, Jr. (Class of 1888) 1912-29

Rev. Walter Lee Lingle (Class of 1892) 1929-41

Dr. John Rood Cunningham 1941-57

Prof. Clarence John Pietenpol Acting President 1957-58

David Grier Martin (Class of 1932) 1958-68

Prof. Frontis W. Johnston (Class of 1930) Acting 1968

Dr. Samuel Reid Spencer (Class of 1940) 1968-1983

Prof. Frontis W. Johnston (Class of 1930) Acting 1983-84

Dr. John Wells Kuykendall (Class of 1959) 1984-1997

Robert F. Vagt (Class of 1969) 1997-2007

Thomas Warren Ross (Class of 1972) 2007-10

Dr. John Wells Kuykendall (Class of 1959) Acting President 2010-11

Dr. Carol Quillen 2011–present

See also

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  1. ^ As of June 30, 2014. "Davidson Fact File 2014‐15" (PDF). Office of Planning and Institutional Research, Davidson College. December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Fast Facts - Davidson College". 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  3. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  4. ^ Davvd Foard Hood and Jerry L. Cross (n.d.). "Beaver Dam Plantation House" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2015-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Davidson College Statement of Purpose". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (24 September 2013). "Rutgers Updates Its Anthem to Include Women". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b "The page cannot be found - Davidson College". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Davidson College | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  9. ^ Davidson College Admission – Incoming Class Profile
  10. ^ a b c d e "Class of 2018 Profile". Davidson College. 
  11. ^ "America's Top Colleges". LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ "National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2015. 
  14. ^ "Best Public Colleges 2014". Forbes. July 30, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Davidson College". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Davidson College administrative documents
  17. ^ "The page cannot be found - Davidson College". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "The page cannot be found - Davidson College". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Davidson Athletics
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "2009 Georgia Southern". Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  23. ^ "Davidson College - Davidson Football Falls To Marist In Season Finale, 14-6". Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  24. ^ "Davidson College - Davidson College to Join Atlantic 10 Conference". 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  25. ^ The Davidsonian
  26. ^ "The Davidsonian Digitized". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Generals News
  29. ^ "RARB Review of The Davidson Generals – Alpha Kappa Pella". 6 June 0606. Retrieved 19 September 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  30. ^ Voices Only 2006 A Cappella Compilation CD Album
  31. ^ Delilahs Release CD
  32. ^ "Androgyny". Davidson Androgyny. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  33. ^ Jason Mraz: "I'm Yours" a cappella with Androgyny on YouTube
  34. ^ The Nuances
  35. ^
  36. ^ "The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  37. ^ "Davidson College – 2008 RSC Residency". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  38. ^ Davidson College News Archives
  39. ^ E-mail from Bobby Vagt to all Davidson College students, 19 March 2007
  40. ^ a b "Davidson College – A Word on Affordability". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  41. ^ "Davidson's Stephen Curry will enter NBA Draft". The Staten Island Advance. AP. April 23, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Peter Stuart Ney". Davidson Encyclopedia. Davidson College. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  44. ^ Davidson College Timeline
  45. ^ "Davidson College". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  46. ^ Coeducation
  47. ^ [1]

External links

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