Washington College is a private, independent liberal arts college located on a 112-acre campus in Chestertown, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore. Maryland granted Washington College its charter in 1782.
Washington College evolved from the Kent County Free School, an institution of more than 60 yearsï¿½ standing in ï¿½Chester Town,ï¿½ which by the collegeï¿½s founding date of 1782 had reached considerable strength and importance as a port city. George Washington consented to the fledgling collegeï¿½s use of his name, pledged the sum of 50 guineas to its establishment, and extended his warm wishes for the ï¿½lasting and extensive usefulnessï¿½ of the institution. He would later serve on Washington Collegeï¿½s Board of Visitors and Governorsï¿½his only such involvement with an institution of higher learning during his lifetime. The collegeï¿½s first president, the Reverend William Smith, was a prominent figure in colonial affairs of letters and church, and he had a wide acquaintance among the great men of colonial days including Benjamin Franklin. Joining General Washington on the Board of Visitors and Governors of the new college were such distinguished figures as U.S. Senator John Henry, Congressman Joshua Seney and his Excellency William Paca, Governor of Maryland. The Maryland legislature granted its first college charter upon Washington College in May 1782. The following spring, on May 14, 1783, the college held its first commencement. With his election as first President of the United States, General Washington retired from the Board of Visitors and Governors and accepted the honorary degree of doctor of laws, which a delegation from Chestertown presented to him on June 24, 1789, in New York, then the seat of Congress. Since Washingtonï¿½s last visit to campus, Washington College has hosted five U.S. presidents: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush. The original college building, opened in 1788, was destroyed by fire January 11, 1827. The oldest existing building ï¿½ Middle Hall ï¿½ was erected in 1844 on the site of the original college building. By 1860, Middle Hall was joined by East and West Halls. All three structures, known as the Hill Dorms, are on the Maryland Register of Historic Places.
Washington College challenges and inspires emerging citizen leaders to discover lives of purpose and passion.
Robert Wright, Maryland's 12th Governor, fmr US Senator & US Representative John Emory, Class of 1805, educator, namesake of Emory University* Benjamin H. Vandervoort, Class of 1938, highly decorated WWII paratrooper. John Wayne portrayed him in The Longest Day. Col. Hiram Staunton Brown, Class of 1900, president of RKO Movie Studios Mary Adele France, Class of 1900, established junior college now known as St. Mary's College of Maryland James M. Cain, Class of 1910, journalist, screenwriter and novelist Louis L. Goldstein, Class of 1935, Comptroller of Maryland; the state's longest-serving elected official William O. Baker, Class of 1935, President of Bell Labs Robert K. Crane, Class of 1942, American biochemist, discoverer of sodium-glucose cotransport. Ralph Snyderman, Class of 1961, Chancellor Emeritus, Duke University and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine Terumi Kohwi-Shigematsu, Class of 1971, Molecular Biologist, University of California - Berkeley Laboratory, Life Sciences Division Thomas Bortmes, Class of 1973, USN, Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence Kenneth Merz, Class of 1981, computational chemist, University of Florida - Quantum Theory Project Peter Turchi, Class of 1982, Writer, teacher, Arizona State University Victoria Hagan, Class of 1983, Interior Designer H. Lawrence Culp, Class of 1985, President and CEO of Danaher