The College also traces its roots to the founding of two boys' schools, established in 1742 and 1743, which merged to become Nazareth Hall in 1759. It was located in the town of Nazareth. Nazareth Hall became, in part, Moravian College & Theological Seminary in 1807. It was later incorporated by the Pennsylvania State Legislature as "Moravian College & Theological Seminary" in 1863 as a baccalaureate granting institution. Beginning in 1858 and continuing to 1892, the Seminary and College relocated from Nazareth to a former boys’ school on Church Street in Bethlehem, located on the present site of the Bethlehem City Hall.
The men's Moravian College & Theological Seminary then settled in the north end of the city (the present day North Campus) as a result of a donation from the Bethlehem Congregation of the Moravian Church in 1888. The first buildings constructed at North Campus, Comenius Hall and Zinzendorf Hall, were completed in 1892 and joined the property's original brick farmhouse to form the new campus. The farmhouse was later named Hamilton Hall and still exists today.
In 1954, the two schools combined to form the single, coeducational, modern institution of Moravian College. The merger of the two institutions combined the North Campus (the location of the men's College from 1892–1954) and the South Campus (the location of the woman's College) into a single collegiate campus. The distance between the North and South campuses is about 0.8 miles of Main Street, called the "Moravian Mile." First year students traditionally walk the "Moravian Mile" as part of their orientation activities.
Although the college is one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States, it is not considered one of the nine original Colonial Colleges, but rather a colonial-era foundation. Moravian College and Theological Seminary, as well as the Bethlehem Female Seminary did not start granting baccalaureate degrees until 1863.
Gate of the South Campus from Main Street
Moravian College currently enrolls ~1600 full-time undergraduate students in a wide variety of majors, all of which are presented in the liberal arts tradition. The Seminary enrolls over 100 full-time students in its graduate divinity programs. During most semesters at least 14 denominations are represented in the Seminary student body. Faith communities most often[clarification needed] represented among the Seminary's students include: Moravian, Lutheran, UCC, Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Quaker, Mennonite, Unitarian Universalist, African Methodist Episcopal, Assembly of God, Brethren, Reformed, and nondenominational. The College's varied and highly regarded music programs grow from the Moravian Church's musical traditions.
Moravian College's student newspaper is The Comenian, which is printed biweekly throughout the school year.
Every year the student body elects representatives to the United Student Government. USG has a Legislature, composed of 16 Senators from the undergraduate body, an Executive, including an elected President and Vice President, appointed cabinet and staff, and a Judiciary, composed of appointed Justices. USG was officially recognized in 1968.
A somewhat unique[clarification needed] facet of college governance is the existence of two elected student members of Moravian College's Board of Trustees; both are full, voting members and serve two-year terms.
Students of the College have received a number of national awards over its history. Between 2000-2007, seven students were selected as Fulbright Scholars. Overall, nine of the College's students have received the Fulbright Scholarship. Between 2000-2007, one student received a Goldwater Scholarship and another was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist.
Initially in 2004 and every year thereafter, the College has been selected for inclusion into the Princeton Review's Best 366 Colleges Guide.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of students participate in the College's renowned music program.
The internationally renowned College Choir tours throughout the United States and abroad.
The College's accredited Music Institute brings the world’s finest performers to Moravian—who also conduct master classes.
Upper class art majors have access to their own studios and advanced computer labs.
The College's Amrhein Investment Club has assets in excess of $1.3 million, has often outperformed professionally managed stock portfolios, and offers students an unusual hands-on investment opportunity.
Moravian offers a number of scholarships for high achieving students. Students who rank in the top 5% of their high school class and achieve a score of at least 2150 on the SAT (or 31 on the ACT) are considered for the Comenius Medallion full-tuition Scholarship. Others include the Comenius Scholarship, the Trustee Scholarship, and the Founders Scholarship.
Outside of the classroom, Moravian’s robust athletic program has produced a long chain of All-American student athletes in sports ranging from football to nationally ranked women’s softball and track teams.
The College offers the following study abroad opportunities: San José, Costa Rica; Oxford, England; Buckingham, England; London, England; Rennes, France; Paris, France; Alcalá, Spain; Alicante, Spain; Seville, Spain; Erfurt, Germany; Rome, Italy; Florence, Italy; Limerick, Ireland; Shanghai, China; Beijing, China; Tokyo, Japan; Hikone, Japan; Tondabayashi, Japan, Hyderabad, India; Jaipur, India; Wollongong, Australia; Macquarie, Australia; Dakar, Senegal; Accra, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; Quito, Ecuador; Cordoba, Argentina; Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The College's SOAR Program (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) provides stipends, travel allowances, and expenses for students engaged in research or creative activities through close interaction with a faculty mentor. The program helps Moravian students gain a better understanding of scholarship in their discipline, and fosters scholar-colleague relationships. SOAR stipends can be as high as $3,000 for summer work.
The College's Independent Study program allows students to delve deeply into areas of personal interest with the support of senior-faculty members—an unusual opportunity at the undergraduate level.
Established in 1960, the College's Honors Program provides qualified seniors the opportunity to pursue a yearlong intensive study of a subject of special interest.
The College specifically promotes student and faculty research collaboration. Students and professors work together well—and often—at Moravian. Student-faculty research projects have included a habitat analysis of the nearby Monocacy Creek, robotic software development, and a study of cognitive changes following stroke-prevention surgery.
Approximately twenty percent of graduates attend graduate school.
Because Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Tondabayashi, Japan have been sister cities for over half a century, Moravian College and Osaka Ohtani University (大阪大谷大学) have had a partnership for over 10 years. Each spring, several Japanese students come to Moravian for two weeks to take a class about the American education system. These students are hosted by Moravian students and enjoy trips to New York City and Philadelphia. During May and June 2010, the first two Moravian students studied at Osaka Ohtani University and such trips are expected to become a regular part of Moravian study abroad programs.
Moravian College has been named one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review.
The College's programs are offered on four campuses, known as the North Campus (Main Campus), the South Campus (Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus), the Steel Field Complex, and the St. Luke's Hospital Campus.
South Campus from Main Street
Art and music programs are offered in Bethlehem's historic district on the college's South Campus, also known as the Church Street Campus and now the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus. Many of the buildings on that campus were built during the colonial period, including the Brethren's House, built in 1748, which served as a hospital during the Revolutionary War, and currently houses the Music Department. Also located on South Campus are the President's House, Main Hall (1854), the Widow's House, Clewell Hall, West Hall, South Hall, the 1867 Chapel, Clewell Dining Hall, and the Central Moravian Church. A number of the buildings are connected. The facilities have been renovated to include Payne Gallery (renovated from the original women's gymnasium - 1903), the College's two-level art gallery that offers several shows each year, and Foy Concert Hall. Also located on South Campus are Peter Hall, a medium-sized colonial style recital hall, Hearst Hall, a small colonial style recital hall, and individual student rehearsal rooms and art studios, as well as intramural fields, Monocacy Creek, and an outdoor amphitheatre. The College presents its famed and televised Christmas Vespers services in the Central Moravian Church, located on the corner of Main and Church streets across from Brethren's House. Many of the buildings on the South Campus are located in a National Register of Historic Places District and Church Street has been referred to as one of the most historic streets in America.
In the 2009-2010 school year, Moravian College added a new living complex on South Campus called The HILL. Each floor has suites, where four to sixteen people can live. The complex has classrooms, a cafe, a fitness room, a mail room, and common rooms. The HILL is air conditioned and fully handicap accessible. The suites themselves contain a living room, full kitchen, private bathroom, and additional hallway sinks. A shuttle service is provided for easy transportation between the North and South campuses.
Initially purchased in 1888 and settled in 1892, the North Campus is also known as the Main Street campus, as it is physically larger and is the site of the majority of the College's buildings, academic departments, administration, and student residences. The main building of the North Campus is Comenius Hall, which was built in 1892 and is named for John Amos Comenius, the last bishop of Unity of the Brethren, known as the "father of modern education" for his revolutionary educational principles. Comenius wrote in 1632 that "not the children of the rich or of the powerful only, but of all alike, boys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets, should be sent to school". The Moravians had considered schools secondary in importance only to churches. A statue of Comenius, which was a gift to the College from Charles University of Prague and the Moravian Church of Czechoslovakia, stands in front of Comenius Hall. The North Campus is also the location of Reeves Library, the newly constructed Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex, Colonial Hall, The Bahnson Center, the Moravian Archives, Zinzendorf Hall, Borhek Chapel, Prosser Auditorium (capacity 300), Monacacy Hall, Collier Hall of Science, Hamilton Hall, Memorial Hall, Johnston Hall (capacity 1,600 for athletics, 3,000 for events), the Timothy M. Breidagam Athletic and Recreation Center, the Collier Hall of Science, the Haupert Union Building, the Arena Theatre, and most of the College's student housing, including dorms, townhouses, and apartments.
Located at one of the two quads of the North Campus are the soccer and lacrosse field. Intercollegiate contests are played at the center of campus with views from the residential halls, Reeves Library, and the portico of the Haupert Union Building. Also located on the North Campus is the Betty Prince field hockey field.
Steel Field Complex
Most of the College's athletic fields are located at this Complex, including the newly renovated football stadium with a grandstand capacity of 2,400 and a new Sportexe turf field, six lane Mondo Super X Performance synthetic track, the softball field, the Gillespie baseball field, the Hoffman tennis courts, the football practice fields, and a fieldhouse.
Steel Field and its brick grandstand were originally built by Bethlehem Steel to host the Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club, 1913-1930. In 1925, Lehigh University purchased Steel Field from Bethlehem Steel. The Bethlehem Steel Soccer Club continued to use the field until its demise. In 1962, Lehigh sold the facility to Moravian College.
St. Luke's University Hospital Partnership
The students in the nursing program spend much of their time at the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem. The Center includes lecture halls, classrooms, a nurses’ learning laboratory, simulation technology, and lounges. The classrooms and lecture halls have state-of-the-art electronics enabling faculty to provide multimedia presentations including computer imaging.
Delight E. Breidegam, Trustee; Chairman of East Penn Manufacturing; son attended Moravian College & Theological Seminary and suffered a tragic accident in Mexico during his tenure; noted benefactor of Moravian College & Theological Seminary