Haverford College

Haverford College (/ˈhævərfərd/ HAV-ər-fərd) is a private liberal arts college in Haverford, Pennsylvania. All students of the college are undergraduates and nearly all reside on campus.[6] The college was founded in 1833 by area members of the Orthodox Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to ensure an education grounded in Quaker values for young Quaker men. Although the college no longer has a formal religious affiliation, Quaker philosophy still influences campus life.

Haverford College
MottoNon doctior, sed meliore doctrina imbutus
Motto in English
"Not more learned, but steeped in a higher learning"
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
(formerly Orthodox Quaker[1])
Endowment$521.5 million (2018)[2]
PresidentWendy Raymond [3]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban, 216 acres (0.87 km2)
ColorsScarlet and Black
AthleticsNCAA Division IIICC

Originally an all-male institution, Haverford began admitting female transfer students in the 1970s and became fully co-educational in 1980. Currently, more than half of Haverford's students are women. For most of the 20th century, Haverford's total enrollment was kept below 300, but the school went through two periods of expansion during and after the 1970s, and its enrollment, as of 2018, was 1,353 students. The college offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 31 majors across humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

Haverford College is a member of the Tri-College Consortium, which allows students to register for courses at both Bryn Mawr College and Swarthmore College. It is also a member of the Quaker Consortium which allows students to cross-register at the University of Pennsylvania.[7][8] The college has produced, among others, 4 Nobel Prize Recipients, 6 Pulitzer Prize Recipients, 20 Rhodes Scholars, and 104 Fulbright Scholars.[5]

Honor Code

In 1897, the students and faculty of Haverford voted to adopt an Honor Code to govern academic affairs. Since 1963, every student has been allowed to schedule his or her own final exams. Take-home examinations are also common at Haverford. These exams may include strict instructions such as time limits, prohibitions on using assigned texts or personal notes, and calculator usage. All students are bound to follow these instructions by the Code.[9]

Originally conceived as a code of academic honesty, the Honor Code had expanded by the 1970s to govern social interactions. The code does not list specific rules of behavior, but rather emphasizes a philosophy of mutual trust, concern and respect, as well as genuine engagement, that students are expected to follow. A student (or other community member) who feels that another has broken the Code, is encouraged not to look the other way but rather to confront and engage in a dialogue with the potential offender, before taking matters to an Honor Council which can help mediate the dispute.[10]

A great controversy ensued in the spring of 2018 when the Honor Code failed to be approved. After repeated debate and impasses, the old Honor Code was re-instituted after the prior code was replaced by the administration's interim procedures.[11]

Student government officers administer the Code, and all academic matters are heard by student juries. More severe matters are addressed by administrators. Abstracts from cases heard by students and joint administrative-student panels are distributed to all students by several means, including as print-outs in mailboxes. The trial abstracts are made anonymous by the use of pseudonyms who are often characters from entertainment or history.[10]

Every student is required to sign a pledge agreeing to the Honor Code prior to matriculation. The Haverford Honor Code is entirely student-run. The Code originated with a body of students who felt it necessary, and current Haverford students administer and amend it every year.[10]


Academic program

Haverford offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in 31 majors across humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.[12] All departments require a senior thesis, project or research for graduation,[13] and many departments also have junior-level seminar or year-long project such as in biology (superlab) and chemistry (superlab).[14][15] The college also maintains a distribution requirement, spreading course work in all three areas of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, in addition to major course works.[12]

In addition to majors and minors, Haverford offers concentrations in Africana studies, biochemistry, biophysics, computer science, East Asian studies, education, feminist and gender studies, health and society, Latin American and Iberian studies, mathematical economics, neural and behavioral sciences, and peace, justice, and human rights.[12][16] Students may pursue pre-medical, pre-law or pre-business intentions through any major; the college offers special advising by professionals in those fields. Music students enjoy close proximity to Philadelphia's music tradition: the Philadelphia Orchestra and The Curtis Institute of Music, where students can receive discounted concert tickets and take on extra instrument or voice lessons.


Haverford's consortium relationship with Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania (the Quaker Consortium) greatly expands its course offerings. Haverford and Bryn Mawr have a particularly close relationship (the Bi-College Consortium), with over 2,000 students cross-registering between the two schools.[17] The campuses are only 1 mile apart and a shuttle called the Blue Bus runs frequently back and forth.[18] Some departments, such as Religion and Music, are housed at Haverford, while others like Theatre and Growth and Structure of Cities are at Bryn Mawr. Students can major in these departments from both colleges. Furthermore, students of one of the Tri-Collegiate Consortium Schools (Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford) are allowed to pursue a major in a subject at a Tri-Collegiate institution apart from the one they are a student of.


Fall Admission Statistics
  2019[19] 2018[20] 2017[21] 2016[22]2015[23]2014[24][25]2013[26]2012[27]
Admit rate
SAT 25th-75th percentile
ACT 25th-75th percentile

U.S. News deemed Haverford's admissions "most selective," with the class of 2022 acceptance rate being 18.7%.[28] Applying for admission to the class of 2022 were 4,682 applicants; 877 were admitted. Of those admitted submitting such data, 96% were in the top 10% of their high school class. The median SAT scores were 730 for critical reasoning and 760 for math. The median ACT composite score was 34.[20] Of those admitted to the class of 2022, 50.1% identified as persons of color, and 16% of those admitted were international students.[20] Haverford's acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was even lower, at 16.1%.[29] Out of 4,968 applicants, 801 were offered admission.


University rankings
Forbes[30] 49
Times/WSJ[31] 39
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[32] 11
Washington Monthly[33] 11

Haverford is tied for 11th among U.S. liberal arts colleges in the 2020 "Best Colleges" ranking by U.S News & World Report, and ranked 14th for "Best Value" and tied at 22nd for "Best Undergraduate Teaching" among liberal arts colleges.[34] Washington Monthly ranked Haverford 11th in 2019 among 214 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. based on its contribution to the public good, as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.[35]The college was ranked 49th across 650 universities and colleges in the 2019 edition of Forbes' "Top Colleges", and 18th among liberal arts colleges alone.[36] Niche ranked the school the 4th best national liberal arts college for 2020.[37]


The National Science Foundation ranks Haverford #7 among liberal arts colleges, and #13 among all colleges and universities in the United States, for producing the greatest number of science and engineering students to pursue PhDs per capita.[38] Washington Monthly data shows Haverford as the #6 liberal arts college by percentage of graduates who go on to earn a doctorate across all fields.[39] Of these graduates, many also receive postgraduate research fellowships under NSF-GRF, Fulbright and Churchill scholarships.[40][41]

In a 2003 publication on the placement of recent graduates into "top" programs in business, law and medicine, The Wall Street Journal ranked Haverford among the top twenty colleges and universities in the United States.[42]


Haverford College is located on the Main Line northwest of Philadelphia. The school is connected to Center City Philadelphia by the Paoli/Thorndale Line commuter rail system and Norristown High Speed Line (R100). The northwest portion of the campus is located in Haverford Township in Delaware County, and the southwest part of the campus is located in Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County. The campus itself is situated in an affluent suburban neighborhood, adjacent to the Haverford School, the Merion Golf Club and the Merion Cricket Club, one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. Nearby attractions within walking distance include various food markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and Suburban Square, which hosts retail stores, restaurants and a local farmer's market.


The college operates more than 50 academic, athletic, and residential buildings, which are mostly stone and reflect Quaker and colonial design principles. The most recent additions are the Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Science Center and the Douglas B. Gardner '83 Integrated Athletic Center (colloquially referred to as the GIAC). Two dorms, by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, began housing freshman and upperclassman in the fall of 2012.

Haverford's Magill Library boasts more than a half million of its own volumes and has access to nearly two million more through its unusual Tripod computerized catalog system, which integrates its library with those of neighboring Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges. In addition to Magill's main resources, the college houses a number of special collections including the Quaker and Special Collections, the C.C. Morris 1904 Cricket Library, and numerous rare books and other treasures; the college also maintains three smaller music, science, and astronomy libraries on campus.

In the fall of 2017, the College unveiled renovations to Ryan Gym, which now serves as a new Visual Culture, Arts, and Media facility (VCAM), housing the Visual Studies Minor, the Haverford Innovations Program, a Maker Arts Space, and the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and its Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives Initiative.[43] The project, designed by MSR Architects, earned a 2018 Education Facility Design Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architects.[44] A second phase to the College's recently-completed Lives That Speak campaign involves a renovation of Magill Library, which began in Spring 2018 under the direction of Perry, Dean, Rogers Architects [45] and is set to reopen as Lutnick Library in Fall 2019. Beyond that, the College is in the early design stages of a new music building.

Haverford College Arboretum

Comprising the entire campus, the Haverford College Arboretum is the oldest collegiate arboretum in the United States.[46] In 1834, a year after the college's founding, the English landscape gardener William Carvill was hired to design the plan for the campus. Carvill developed a design to replace the tilled fields, woodlots and pastures, using trees to frame and complement open spaces. He bordered the lanes with alleés of trees and planted groups of trees in odd numbers. Carvill also constructed grape arbors and a serpentine walk, reflecting the English landscape tradition of Sir Humphrey Repton. Carvill's mark is still evident today in the pastoral landscape which includes several original trees including a Swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor, and Bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa, on Founders Green.

In 1901, a group of students and alumni formed the Campus Club to help preserve the campus landscape after discovering Carvill's original plan. Their work eventually led to the founding of the Haverford College Campus Arboretum Association (now the Haverford College Arboretum Association) in 1974, which continues to perpetuate Carvill's original design. To date, the arboretum's 216 acres (0.87 km2) contain a nature trail, a pinetum with 300 different conifers, a duck pond, historic trees of diverse species, sculpture, as well as flower and Asian gardens.[47]


Roughly 99% of the student body resides on campus, where housing options include apartments, themed houses and traditional dormitories. The minute fraction who choose to seek other accommodations do so nearby in neighboring townships. Approximately 60% of faculty also reside on campus.[48]

Themed housing options include La Casa Hispanica, which "supports the endeavors of students actively engaged in organizing programs concerned with the cultures and civilizations of the Spanish-speaking world", the Ira de A. Reid House, which seeks students active in the Black Students' League or members of the African Diaspora interested in the culture and politics of Africans, Cadbury house, which provides a substance-free and quiet living environment, and Yarnall, which has no permanent theme. Various housing and room arrangements exist, including suites of singles, doubles, and triples.

Student life

Activities available at Haverford range from a cappella, sponsored music events, comedy groups, theater, an archery club, college radio, an award-winning Mock Trial team,[49] bi-college news and fashion publications, an academic journal, an annual yearbook, to multiple community service groups. Haverford has no fraternities or sororities, but Drinker House is a social center for athletes.

Of the nation's 357 "best" colleges, the Princeton Review ranks Haverford as #6 for Best Overall Undergraduate Experience. In addition, Haverford, unlike many of its peers, is located within easy travel of a large metropolitan center and the opportunities that Philadelphia offers. Princeton Review placed Haverford on several other lists for the 2007 year. On the list for "Best Overall Academic Experience for Undergraduates", Haverford ranks #8; "School Runs Like Butter", #17; "The Toughest to Get Into", #20; "Best Quality Of Life", #14; "Happiest Students", #16.[50]


Student publications include The Bi-College News, a newspaper in collaboration with students at Bryn Mawr College that serves both campuses; The Clerk,[51] an independent, online newspaper; Feathers & Fur, a fashion magazine also in collaboration with students at Bryn Mawr College; Milkweed, a student literary magazine; Without a (Noun), the Haverford satire/humor magazine; "Body Text, an academic journal; "Margin," a themed publication, and The Record, the student yearbook.


Haverford College competes at the NCAA Division III level in the Centennial Conference and has a rich history in collegiate athletics: Haverford boasts the only varsity cricket team in the United States; its men's and women's track and field and cross country teams are perennial powerhouses in their division, with men's cross country winning the 2010 Cross Country Division III National Championships; its men's soccer team is among the nation's oldest, having won its first intercollegiate match in 1905 against Harvard College, and in 2015 made it to quarterfinals of the NCCA Division III Championships; its fencing team has competed since the early 1930s and is a member of both the Middle Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) and the National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA). Several athletic teams are highly competitive in the Centennial Conference; for example, women's basketball won the 2014 Centennial Conference Championship and progressed to the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. Women's softball also won Centennial Conference titles in 2006, 2014, and in 2016. The 2016 team advanced to the Super Regional tournament, a first for any Centennial Conference softball team.

Notable people

Notable graduates of Haverford College include a number of prominent businessmen such as Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick (1983), co-founder of MBK Partners Michael Kim (1985), Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp (1989), and former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs and United States Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead (1943). Haverford also counts among its alumni one of the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, George Smith (1963), Emmy award-winning journalist Juan Williams (1976), actor Daniel Dae Kim (1990), Nobel Peace Prize winner Philip Noel-Baker (1908), Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry (1969), editor-in-chief of Harvard Business Review Adi Ignatius (1981), Tony Award-winning playwright of Lend Me a Tenor and Crazy for You Ken Ludwig (1972), Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Wessel (1975), composer Steven Gerber (1969), theoretical physicist Curtis Callan (1961), professional sports executive Arn Tellem (1976), former CEO of NPR Ken Stern (1985), and tech entrepreneur James Kinsella (1982).

Notable attendees who did not graduate include the early 20th Century artist and illustrator Maxfield Parrish, as well as actors such as Chevy Chase, Judd Nelson, and George Segal. Fictional FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, from the television series Twin Peaks, was a member of the class of 1976.


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