Wilson College, founded 1869, is a private, Presbyterian-related, liberal arts college located on a 300-acre (121.4 ha) campus in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, United States. It was founded by two Presbyterian ministers, but named for its first major donor, Sarah Wilson of nearby St. Thomas Township, Pennsylvania. For 144 years, Wilson has been a women's college. In 2013 the college's board of trustees voted to make the college coeducational beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year.
The college was founded by the Rev. Tryon Edwards and the Rev. James W. Wightman, pastors of Presbyterian churches in nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, and Greencastle, Pennsylvania. The original charter was granted by the Pennsylvania Legislature on March 24, 1869. Wilson was one of the first colleges in the U.S. to accept only female students and was named for Sarah Wilson (1795ï¿½1871), who gave two large donations to help get the college started. Anna J. McKeag served as Wilsonï¿½s first woman president from 1911 to 1915. In 1967 the Wilson College sailing team won the first Intercollegiate Sailing Association national championship held in a women's event (dinghy). In the 1970s, two tropical storms, Agnes in 1972 and Eloise in 1975, caused flood damage to low-lying buildings on campus. Although it nearly closed its doors in 1979, a lawsuit organized by students, faculty, parents and an alumnae association succeeded in allowing the college to remain open, making it one of the few colleges to survive a scheduled closing. (It subsequently adopted the Phoenix as its mascot, to symbolize the college's survival.) Wilson remained open as a women's college until 2013, despite the trend toward turning women's colleges into coeducational institutions. In 1982, Wilson began offering a continuing studies program to meet the needs of adults seeking post-secondary education. In 1996, the college was one of the first in the nation to offer an on-campus residential educational experience for single mothers with children. Beginning in summer 2006, Wilson offered its first graduate-degree program, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) for certified elementary school teachers. The first men to attend and to graduate from Wilson entered at the end of World War II. Men later became able to earn degrees from Wilson through the continuing education program (now called the Adult Degree Program), although the primary emphasis at the college remained its College For Women. In January 2013, the college's board of trustees voted to make the college coeducational; male commuter students will be admitted for fall 2013 and male students will be allowed to live on campus beginning in fall 2014.
Wilson College is an independent liberal arts institution founded in 1869. Wilson is dedicated to preparing women and men for successful careers through undergraduate, graduate and adult degree programs. Guided by the Honor Principle and distinguished by a commitment to transformative student growth, Wilson College prepares all of its graduates for fulfilling lives and professions, ethical leadership and humane stewardship of our communities and our world.
Rural,nearly 300 acres (121.4 ha)