Kenyon College

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Kenyon College
KCshield 3CU.png
The Kenyon College Coat of Arms
MottoMagnanimiter Crucem Sustine (Latin)
Motto in EnglishValiantly bear the cross
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliationEpiscopal Church (United States), Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion
Endowment$195.1 million (2013)[1]
PresidentSean M. Decatur
Admin. staff182
LocationGambier, OH, US
CampusRural, 1,000 acres (4 km²) including a 380 acre (1.5 km²) nature preserve
ColorsPurple and White          
NicknameLords (men's teams) and Ladies (women's teams)
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Kenyon College
KCshield 3CU.png
The Kenyon College Coat of Arms
MottoMagnanimiter Crucem Sustine (Latin)
Motto in EnglishValiantly bear the cross
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliationEpiscopal Church (United States), Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion
Endowment$195.1 million (2013)[1]
PresidentSean M. Decatur
Admin. staff182
LocationGambier, OH, US
CampusRural, 1,000 acres (4 km²) including a 380 acre (1.5 km²) nature preserve
ColorsPurple and White          
NicknameLords (men's teams) and Ladies (women's teams)
Kenyon College
Kenyon College is located in Ohio
Kenyon College
LocationGambier, Ohio
Coordinates40°22′35″N 82°23′45″W / 40.37639°N 82.39583°W / 40.37639; -82.39583Coordinates: 40°22′35″N 82°23′45″W / 40.37639°N 82.39583°W / 40.37639; -82.39583
Architectural styleGothic Revival, Greek Revival
Governing bodyPrivate
NRHP Reference #75001447[2]
Added to NRHPDecember 6, 1975

Kenyon College is a private liberal arts college of The Episcopal Church in Gambier, Ohio, founded in 1824 by Bishop Philander Chase, in parallel with the Bexley Hall seminary. It is the oldest private college in Ohio.[3] The campus is noted for its Collegiate Gothic architecture and rural setting.[4][5] Kenyon College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[6] The acceptance rate for the Class of 2018 was 24.6%.[7]


Philander Chase was the founder and first president of Bexley Hall and Kenyon College, and later became Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

After becoming the first Bishop of Ohio in 1818, Philander Chase found a severe lack of trained clergy on the Ohio frontier. He planned to create a seminary to rectify this problem, but could find little support. Undeterred, he sailed to England and solicited donations from Lord Kenyon, Lord Gambier, and the writer and philanthropist Hannah More, and the College was incorporated in December, 1824. Dissatisfied with the original location of the College in Worthington, Chase purchased eight thousand acres (32 km²) of land in Knox County (with the Mount Vernon lawyer Henry Curtis), and reached what he would name Gambier Hill on July 24, 1825. There is a legend that Bishop Chase exclaimed, "Well, this will do" upon reaching the crest of the hill.[8][9]


Kenyon's English department first gained recognition with the arrival of the poet and critic John Crowe Ransom in 1937 as Professor of Poetry and first editor of The Kenyon Review, a literary journal.[10]

Aside from English, other majors Kenyon offers are: Art (Studio), Art History, Dance, Drama, Film, Music, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Classics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology, Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology, American Studies, International Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies.

Kenyon offers concentrations, which are interdisciplinary minors. They are: African and African-American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Integrated Program in Humane Studies, Islamic Civilizations and Cultures, Law and Society, Neuroscience, Public Policy, and Scientific Computing. Kenyon also offers opportunities for synoptic majors based on a process of academic approval by the College administration.

Kenyon requires students to take classes in each of the four academic divisions: Fine Arts (encompassing the departments of Art, Dance and Drama, and Music); Humanities (Classics, English, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Religious Studies); Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology); and Social Sciences (Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Sociology).[11] In addition, students must show a basic competence in a foreign language, and also undertake a comprehensive senior exercise for their major during their senior year.[12]

Kenyon is also home to the Beta of Ohio Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.


Kenyon's sports teams, which compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), are referred to as the Lords and Ladies, and their colors are purple, white, and black with gold often added as an accent.

The college's men's swimming team is notable in NCAA Division III, for winning, from 1980 through 2010, an NCAA record 31 consecutive national championships. The women's swimming team is also considered among the best, winning 23 titles of its own (not consecutively) since 1984. Former Swim Coach Jim Steen has coached the most conference titles in any sport in NCAA history. During the 1980s and 90s, Diving Coach Fletcher Gilders led his athletes to fourteen consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference championships and eight individual NCAA Division III titles; Gilders would also earn NCAA D3 Coach of the Year honors on three separate occasions.[13] In 2013, under Head Coach Jess Book, the men's team won the national title and the women's team took second. Book was voted the 2013 NCAA Men’s Coach of the Year and the 2013 NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year, and Head Diving Coach Andy Scott was voted the 2013 NCAA Division III Women's Diving Coach of the Year.

In 2006, Kenyon opened the $70 million Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC), a 263,000 square foot (24,434 m², 6 acre) building that houses an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two basketball courts, eight squash courts, a weight room, a 200m track, four tennis courts and other facilities.


In the 2014 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Kenyon is the No. 32 liberal arts college in the United States. [14] Forbes magazine ranked Kenyon 69th overall, and 11th in the Midwest, out of the 650 colleges and universities on its list of America's Best Colleges 2013.[15] In 2006 Newsweek selected Kenyon College as one of twenty-five "New Ivies" on the basis of admissions statistics as well as interviews with administrators, students, faculty and alumni.[16] It was also listed in Greene's list of Hidden Ivies in 2000.


Ransom Hall, home of the Admissions Department

For the Class of 2016 (enrolled fall 2012), Kenyon received 3,947 applications and accepted 1,421 (36.0%).[17] The number enrolling was 446; the yield rate (the percentage of accepted students who enroll) was 31.4%.[17] In terms of class rank, 52% of enrolled freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school classes; 86% ranked in the top quarter.[17] The mean SAT scores for the Class of 2016 were 679 for critical reading, 650 for math, and 672 for writing, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 630-730 for critical reading, 610-680 for math, and 630-720 for writing.[17] The mean ACT Composite score was 30.1; the middle 50% range was 28-32. Kenyon's Class of 2018 had a historic low acceptance rate of 24.6%, [18] [17]


As Ohio's oldest private college,[3] Kenyon has upheld some traditions for more than 180 years.[19] All students in each entering class are expected to take the Matriculation Oath and sign a Matriculation Book that dates back at least a century.

Another tradition is the "First-Year Sing." Each year, entering first-years gather on the steps of Rosse Hall to sing Kenyon songs before they are officially part of the Kenyon community. On the day before Commencement, seniors gather on the steps of Rosse Hall to sing the same songs again.

Whenever a new president begins a term at the college, candles are lit in every window of Old Kenyon, as a sign of welcome. Kenyon has had twenty-five presidents; former president S. Georgia Nugent was Kenyon's first female president, and current president Sean Decatur is Kenyon's first African-American president.[20]

Student organizations[edit]

Old Kenyon, a dormitory known for its Gothic revival architecture


Non-varsity sports[edit]


Ascension Hall of Kenyon College

Greek life[edit]

The Church of the Holy Spirit

Kenyon is home to twelve Greek organizations, consisting of six international/national Fraternities, four local sororities and two local societies (co-ed groups). The Fraternities are: Lambda Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (Dekes), The Kenyon Chapter of The Alpha Delta Phi (ADs), Chi of Delta Tau Delta (Delts), Beta Alpha of Beta Theta Pi (Betas), Phi of Delta Phi (DPhis), Theta of Phi Kappa Sigma (Phi Kaps), and a Phi Kappa Tau (Phi Tau) colony. The Sororities are: Theta Delta Phi (Thetas), Kappa Sigma Alpha (Kappas), Zeta Alpha Pi (Zetas), and Epsilon Delta Mu (EDMs). The Societies are: Archon Society (Archons) and Peeps O'Kenyon (Peeps).

2004 presidential election[edit]

Kenyon College attracted national attention after the 2004 presidential election during which, because of a shortage of voting machines and possibly a large number of new voter registrations,[24] some students remained in line for as long as 13 hours to place their votes.[25] The incident received attention in mainstream national news outlets such as The New York Times.[26][27]

In spring 2006, John Kerry delivered the commencement address at Kenyon College, stating that he was "honored" by the students who waited in line during the election.[28] During the 2008 presidential election campaign, the events at Kenyon in the 2004 election were remembered and recounted in discussions of voting policy[29] and predictions of the outcome of the 2008 race.[30]


Kenyon College has undertaken a number of sustainability initiatives, including a recycling system upgrade, a biodiesel project, a computer lab conversion to double-sided printing, the distribution of green living guides,[31] as well as the creation of a dining hall composting system that diverts 6,000 pounds of waste from the landfill per week.[32] Students partnered with administrators and/or professors to complete a campus energy audit for the past three years, as well as a carbon footprint calculation.[33] Kenyon Green Alumni was founded to connect graduates "with a professional interest in the environment."[32] The college recently received a "C" grade on the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, compiled by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.[34]


US President Rutherford B. Hayes, class of 1842

Notable alumni of Kenyon College include:

US President Rutherford B. Hayes (class of 1842); US Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton (1834); US Supreme Court Justices David Davis (1832) and Stanley Matthews (1840); Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (1948); Academy Award-winning actor Paul Newman (1949); comedian Jonathan Winters (1950); Emmy Award-winning actress Allison Janney (1982); National Book Award-winning novelist William H. Gass (1947); author John Green (2000); American poet Saskia Hamilton (1989); cartoonist and Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson (1980); actor and filmmaker Josh Radnor of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother (1996); and chemist and writer Carl Djerassi (1943).



  1. ^ As of June 30, 2013. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013". National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2014. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  3. ^ a b, URL accessed 2008-08-29.
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  9. ^ A Biography of Philander Chase
  10. ^ "History of the Department - English". Kenyon College. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Requirements for the degree". Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  12. ^ "Requirements for the degree". Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
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  14. ^ "Best Colleges – National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2014. 
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  20. ^ Lorin, Janet (18 March 2013). "Kenyon College Picks Sean Decatur as its New President". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  21. ^ Comedy, Dance, and Drama. Kenyon College. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
  22. ^ Comedy, Dance, and Drama. Kenyon College. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
  23. ^ About Brave Potato Productions. Brave Potato Productions. Retrieved 2010-9-18.
  24. ^ Powell, Michael; Slevin, Peter (2004-12-15). "Several Factors Contributed to 'Lost' Voters in Ohio". The Washington Post ( Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  25. ^ Wang, Tova Andrea (2005-01-01). "Election 2004: A Report Card". The Century Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  26. ^ Fessenden, Ford; Dao, James (2004-11-03). "Rain, Lines, and Litigation Slow Smooth Effort in Ohio". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  27. ^ Lombardi, Kate Stone (2004-11-14). "She Cast a Ballot, and Won a Vote from her Mother". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  28. ^ "John Kerry Commencement Address, Kenyon College". Educated Nation higher education blog. 2006-05-20. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  29. ^ Cohen, Adam (2008-08-25). "No One Should Have to Stand in Line for 10 Hours to Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  30. ^ Kaufman, Ari J. (2008-07-07). "Is Ohio McCain Country?". Pajamas Media. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  31. ^ "Projects and Initiatives". Kenyon College. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
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  33. ^ "Managing Resources". Kenyon College. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
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  35. ^ Finder, Alan (2007-06-20). "Some Colleges to Drop Out of U.S. News Rankings". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  36. ^ "Presidents' Letter". Education Conservancy. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  37. ^ City of Kenyon - Welcome to the City of Kenyon...A Great Place to Grow - History
  38. ^
  39. ^,28804,1898670_1898671_1898643,00.html

External links[edit]