Earlham College

Earlham College is a private liberal arts college in Richmond, Indiana. The college was established in 1847 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and has a strong focus on Quaker values such as integrity, a commitment to peace and social justice, mutual respect, and community decision-making. It is primarily a residential undergraduate college but it offers a Master of Arts in Teaching and has an affiliated graduate seminary, the Earlham School of Religion, which offers three master's degrees: a Master of Divinity, Master of Ministry, and Master of Arts in Religion.

Earlham College
MottoVita Lux Hominum (Life is the Light of Man)
TypePrivate coeducational liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
Endowment$384.1 million (2016)[2]
PresidentAnne M. Houtman
Location, ,
United States

CampusRural, 800 acres (3.2 km2)
ColorsMaroon and White[3]
Sporting affiliations
MascotBig Earl


Earlham was founded in 1847 as a boarding high school for the religious education of Quaker adolescents.[4] In 1859, Earlham became Earlham College, upon the addition of collegiate academics. At this time, Earlham was the third Quaker college in the United States (Haverford College was first, Guilford College the second), and the second U.S. institution of higher education to be coeducational (Oberlin College was first). Though the college initially only admitted students who belonged to the Religious Society of Friends, Earlham began admitting non-Quakers in 1865. The college was named for Earlham Hall, home of the Gurneys, an important English Quaker family.

Over time, as Quakerism in America became more progressive, Earlham's practices changed with them, though the college has remained faithful to its Quaker roots. In 1942 Earlham enrolled several dozen Japanese-American students to prevent their internment during World War II, a decision that was very controversial in Richmond. 1960 marked the establishment of the Earlham School of Religion, then the only Friends seminary in the world.

Earlham College has been facing declining revenues for years.[5][6][5]


Earlham's 800-acre (3.2 km2) campus lies at the southwestern edge of Richmond, Indiana, a city of 36,812 (2010 census). The main quadrangle of the campus is called "the Heart". It is surrounded by Earlham Hall (with the Runyan Center student union directly behind it), Olvey-Andis Hall, Lilly Library, Carpenter Hall, Landrum Bolling Center, the science buildings (Stanley Hall, Noyes Hall and Dennis Hall), Tyler Hall, Bundy Hall and Barrett Hall. Ninety-four percent of Earlham students live on campus in a variety of settings.[7] The campus includes eight residence halls (Barrett Hall, Bundy Hall, Earlham Hall, Mills Hall, Hoerner Hall, Olvey-Andis Hall, Warren Hall and Wilson Hall)[8] and 28 theme and friendship houses, which border the North and East edges of the campus.[9] U.S. Route 40 runs along the edge of the campus.

The Joseph Moore Museum is a natural history museum located on campus and run by students and biology department faculty, focusing on Indiana's natural history. It is open to the public (free of charge) and tours are available upon request. Since 2015, themed ecotours were founded and visitors can register for these outings to the school's properties of natural areas led by biology students for interpretation. The majority of Earlham College's campus is undeveloped forest and meadow, including the undeveloped "back campus" area, which serves as an outdoor classroom. The Biology Department also maintains and manages wildman woods a short drive from the campus which is also used for field work and class field trips.

The school has embarked on major campus improvement projects which cost a combined $62.3 million.[10] The science complex (Stanley and Noyes Halls) has undergone a complete renovation. Stanley Hall was completed by fall 2013 and received a LEED Silver certification and a new Center for Science and Technology was completed in 2015 and is expected to obtain a LEED gold rating.[11] Tyler Hall, originally built thanks to an Andrew Carnegie Grant, fell into a mild state of disrepair over the last several decades and has been renovated to a LEED Silver standard. Tyler Hall now houses Earlham's Admissions department. A new fine arts building was constructed and opened in August 2014 and obtained a LEED gold certification. A new baseball stadium was completed (fall 2013), and major renovations to the football field were completed prior to the 2012 season.

Earlham College has been singled out in the National Wildlife Federation's national report card on sustainability in higher education as having exemplary programs.[12] Earlham's Environmental Plan (approved 2005) is an assessment of how Earlham impacts the environment, what steps have been or can be taken to reduce impacts.[13]

Curriculum and community

University rankings
Forbes[14] 132
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[15] 68
Washington Monthly[16] 62

In keeping with Friends' belief in equality, everyone addresses each other at Earlham by his or her first name, without the use of titles such as "doctor" or "professor"; likewise, "freshmen" are referred to as "first year (students)".

Roughly 70% of Earlham students go on a semester-length off-campus program to such destinations as Mexico, the U.S./ Mexican border, Vienna, Martinique, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Japan and Tanzania.[17] This high rate is possible because a student's financial aid helps to offset the full cost of one semester on any Earlham-approved program. In addition, there are a number of shorter off-campus May terms, with destinations both within the U.S. and abroad (Australia, Galapagos, Senegal, Menorca, and Turkey, as recent examples). Earlham has an exchange program with Waseda University in Japan, which has existed since 1963. In addition, Earlham College offers the SICE program[18] in Morioka, Japan, a program in which about twelve to fourteen students teach English in middle schools in Morioka. Students prepare for these programs by studying German, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, French and Chinese which are offered on campus during the school year. Tibetan, Creole, and Kiswalli have been offered during some of these off campus programs.

In the sciences, Earlham places a large emphasis on integrating research into the undergraduate curriculum. Through Ford/Knight grants, most science faculty have been or are currently involved with students in research.[19] Earlham has good representation in the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference, held each year in the spring.[20] The pre-medicine program is particularly distinguished, in that over the last ten years all but one of its graduates have been accepted into medical school. Earlham's biology and chemistry departments have a long history of producing distinguished graduates, such as Warder Clyde Allee, Jim Fowler, Larry E. Overman, Harold Urey, and Wendell Stanley, the latter two of which won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (in 1934 and 1946, respectively). Students and Faculty in Earlham's CS applied groups jointly provide computer infrastructure support for the college.

The choir department organizes regional and national tours every year for its ensembles. In January 2012, the concert choir performed in Indianapolis, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, and Chicago.[21] The choral and instrumental music departments collaborate on a biennial basis, performing works such as Carmina Burana and Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time. The College has a full Gamelan ensemble, which performs concerts in the Spring.[22] Earlham has an entirely student-managed public radio station, WECI 91.5FM. In addition, 6-10 theater performances occur throughout the year on campus through either the academic department, senior projects or the student company.[23][24]

Earlham has students from 77 countries, the most out of any liberal arts college in the United States. This equates to roughly 200 students, which is the highest total number of international students for any co-educational liberal arts college in the country. This high diversity is due in part to a strong relationship with the United World College network of international boarding high schools. Since 2004, Earlham College has been a part of the Davis United World Scholars program, which offers need-based scholarships for UWC graduates to continue their education at select institutions in the United States.[25] The Davis Cup, which is awarded to the college with the most current students from this program, has been awarded to Earlham several times. The college also draws from all regions of the United States, with students from 42 states. Domestic minorities represent 15% of the student body.[17]

Earlham is orienting some of the curriculum around exploring local and global problems as well as possible solutions. In 2016, Earlham students won the million dollar Hult Prize for their "Magic Bus" proposal to help with transportation problems in developing urban environments.[26]

Earlham is known for having the United States' only Equestrian program which is run entirely by students. Lessons are available for students of the college and community members. The equestrian center is adjacent to the college owned 11 acre Miller farm which hosts agricultural interns during the school year and summer and "work days" on Saturdays for the rest of the community during the school year. Miller farm also serves as a residence for upper class students.[27]

In keeping with Quaker tradition, Earlham students voluntarily invest many hours of community service into the Richmond community. Students report an average of 23,000 hours of volunteering work every year and Earlham's Bonner program offers financial aid in exchange for volunteering work for students with high financial need.[17]

Earlham College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Adjacent institutions

There are two institutions located adjacent to the Earlham College undergraduate campus: Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker theological graduate school and Bethany Theological Seminary, an independent Church of the Brethren institution offering graduate and non-degree programs. Earlham College students can take courses at these institutions (which share facilities with the college).

While Earlham is predominately an undergraduate institution, it also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.[28]


Earlham competes in NCAA Division III and in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The women's sports are basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. The men's sports are baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, and tennis.[29]

The football team was organized in 1888 and been playing games since the 1889 season. As one of the earliest college programs, Earlham has competed against larger foes such as Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Kentucky, Ball State University, and Butler University. Perhaps the Quakers' most notable football game was an exhibition game against Japan's Doshisha University Hamburgers in 1989.[30] The Earlham football team has not won a football game since October 26, 2013, the longest losing streak in NCAA Division III history at 53 games. In November 2018, the school chose to cancel the program for the remainder of the 2018 season and all of 2019.[31] The team was featured on ESPN in 2016 [32]

Earlham College baseball coach (Steve Sakosits) led the 2017 Quakers to their first ever HCAC Conference title.

Indiana Legend and long-time NBA coach Del Harris was the head coach at Earlham for 9 years (1965-1974). He twice led the Quakers to a Top 10 ranking in the NAIA final poll and won a school-record 175 games and three Hoosier Collegiate Conference championships. He led them to the NAIA National Tournament in 1971 with a record of 24-5.

Earlham was an NAIA member in all sports until 19xx; they won the NAIA Men's Soccer National title in 1963.[33] In the 2010–11 season, the Earlham College Men's Tennis team became the first squad in Earlham history to qualify for the NCAA Div. III Championships by winning the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament title.[34] Since the 2011 conference championship, the men's tennis team has won the conference title in 2012 and 2013. In February 2013 the men's tennis team earned its first national ranking in NCAA Division III athletics at no. 30, the first Earlham team to do so since 1999 when the men's soccer team was ranked no. 16.[35]

Earlham has many Club teams: some of the more successful ones are Ultimate Frisbee, Women's and Men's rugby. Other clubs include the Bike Co-Op, Cheerleaders, Earthquakers (Competitive Dance), Equestrian Program, martial arts groups, Men's Volleyball, and Outdoors Club.[36] A $13-million Athletics and Wellness Center opened at the beginning of the Fall 1999 semester. Students are not charged to use the facility, which features an energy center for cardiovascular and strength training, a group fitness studio for aerobics and yoga, Weber Pool (25 meters by six lanes), racquetball courts, tennis courts, a running track, a climbing wall and Schuckman Court (a performance gymnasium with seating for 1,800).[29] In 2007, Earlham opened its new 2,000 seat Darrell Beane Stadium, with a football field and running track.[37]

Wilderness programs

Earlham was one of the first colleges in the country to initiate student and faculty-led wilderness programs, back in 1970.[38] These programs were designed for incoming first-year and transfer students who received credit for them. The program is divided into the Water August Wilderness and the Mountain August Wilderness and lasts for approximately three weeks; the former canoes in Wabakimi Provincial Park in Ontario and the latter hikes in the Uinta Mountains in Utah. Students have taken ice climbing, dog sledding, caving, white water kayaking, rock climbing, trail construction and canoeing courses for credit. The program in the past has led spring break canoeing trips to Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas, a semester course to New Zealand and a May Term (a condensed three-week term after the spring semester) instructor training course for its August Wilderness program. Challenge/experiential education courses on the college's own high and low ropes is offered as well as the chance to be certified as a Wilderness First Responders in an intensive spring break course where students must complete mock rescues. In the past students have also had the opportunity to rappel off the College's three-story science building.

In a decision marred by allegations of corruption and unfairness to the Kenyan locals who assisted with the program, Earlham College has discontinued its aardvark program and is no longer the only American institution of tertiary education that allows students to study aardvarks extensively in their native habitat in the Kakamega Forest.

Notable wilderness students include the likes of Kai Kim, and Jessenia Fanini (see Facebook for identification).

Student life

Tension sometimes arises between students and the Quaker Indiana and Western Yearly Meetings over issues of sexuality. Western and, to an even greater degree, Indiana Yearly Meeting tend to be more conservative on issues such as condom distribution, pregnancy, and homosexuality. Tension over the issue of homosexuality led to a decision in 2011 to split Indiana Yearly Meeting.[39][40]

Notable people


  1. "Quaker Colleges, Universities & Study Centers". 25 June 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  2. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2016 Market Value of Endow" (PDF). NACUBO.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  3. Earlham Brand Guidelines (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  4. "A Brief History of Earlham College". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  5. "Amid financial strains, Earlham puts $100 million into campus updates". Pal-Item.
  6. "Earlham College faces big deficit, questions ahead of new school year". Pal-Item.
  7. "About". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  8. "Residence Halls". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  9. "Theme Houses". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  10. "Construction Projects". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  11. "Sustainability - Green Buildings". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  12. "Earlham Recognized in National Campus Sustainability Report". Pressroom.earlham.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  13. "Planning at Earlham". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  14. "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  15. "Best Colleges 2020: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  16. "2019 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  17. "Collegiate Profile". Earlham College. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  18. "Earlham College - A national liberal arts college in the Midwest". Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  19. "Student/Faculty Research". Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  20. "2011 Butler Undergraduate Research Conference Schedule" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  21. "Midwest Choir Tour". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  22. "Instrumental Music". Earlham College. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  23. "WECI 91.5FM Richmond Public Radio". Weciradio.org. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  24. "Theatre Arts, Academics - Earlham College". earlham.edu. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  25. "Earlham Joins Worldwide 50th Anniversary Celebration for United World Colleges". earlham.edu. Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  26. Chen, Angus (September 26, 2016). "$1 Million Goes To An App That Leads To A Better Bus Commute". NPR. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  27. "Co-Operative Program". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  28. "Master of Arts in Teaching". earlham.edu. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  29. "Athletics". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  30. "Week's Lessons Extend Beyond Football Practice". The New York Times. September 10, 1989. p. 151. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  31. Earlham College suspends football program after 53 straight losses
  32. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TItx9CNv7jc]
  33. "MSOC Championship" (PDF). www.naia.org. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  34. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2012-01-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. "Earlham College Athletics". Earlham College. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  36. "Student Handbook - Club Sports". Earlham.edu. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  37. "Darrell Beane Stadium". Earlham.edu. Archived from the original on 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  38. Earlham College Wilderness Program Instructors Manual, 1975, by Douglas Steeples, Phil Shore, Alan Kesselheim, Henry Merrill "and others", edited by Phil Shore and Alan Kesselheim
  39. School, Earlham (2011-07-29). "Learning and Leading: Indiana Yearly Meeting, July 21-24, 2011". Esrquaker.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
  40. Fraser, Margaret (2011-10-05). "Connecting Friends: Salt and Light: Unbinding ties". Connectingfriendssaltandlight.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30.

Further reading

  • Hamm, Thomas D. Earlham College: A History, 1847-1997. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. ISBN 9780253332561.
  • Kashatus, William C. Beyond the Touchlines: A History of Earlham Men's Soccer. Richmond, IN: Earlham College, 2017.
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