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Agnes Scott College

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Title: Agnes Scott College  
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Subject: Women's colleges in the Southern United States, Morehouse College, Wesleyan College, Decatur, Georgia, WikiProject National Register of Historic Places/Cleanup listing
Collection: 1889 Establishments in Georgia (U.S. State), 1889 Establishments in the United States, Agnes Scott College, Council of Independent Colleges, Decatur, Georgia, Educational Institutions Established in 1889, Great South Athletic Conference, Historic Districts in Georgia (U.S. State), Historic Districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Georgia (U.S. State), Liberal Arts Colleges in Georgia (U.S. State), Members of the Annapolis Group, Members of the Oberlin Group, Presbyterian Universities and Colleges in the United States, Universities and Colleges Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Universities and Colleges in Dekalb County, Georgia, Universities and Colleges in Georgia (U.S. State), Women's Universities and Colleges in the United States
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Agnes Scott College

Agnes Scott College
College seal
Former names
Decatur Female Seminary
Agnes Scott Institute
Motto "Educating women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times."
Established 1889
Type Private liberal arts college
Women's college
Affiliation Presbyterian
Endowment $272 million[1]
President Elizabeth Kiss
Academic staff
Students 998
Undergraduates 914
Postgraduates 84
Location USA
Campus Suburban; total 91 acres
Athletic complex (7 acres)
Bradley Observatory and Delafield Planetarium (1.5 acres)
Newspaper Agnes Scott Profile
Colors Purple and White         
Athletics NCAA Division IIIGSAC
Nickname Scotties
Mascot Scottie dog
Affiliations APCU
Annapolis Group
Oberlin Group
South Candler Street – Agnes Scott College Historic District
NRHP Reference # 94000787[2]
Added to NRHP July 29, 1994

Agnes Scott College (commonly known as Agnes Scott) is a private Georgia.

The college was founded in 1889 as Decatur Female Seminary by Presbyterian minister Frank H. Gaines. In 1890, the name was changed to Agnes Scott Institute to honor the mother of the college's primary benefactor, Col. women's college.

Agnes Scott currently enrolls 914 students. In 2006, the student to faculty ratio was 10:1.[3] Eighty-seven percent of the faculty are full-time, and 100% of the tenure-track faculty hold terminal degrees.

The college offers 30 majors and 25 minors and is affiliated with numerous institutions, including Emory University School of Nursing, and Washington University. Students who graduate from Agnes Scott may receive a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree, depending on major.

Agnes Scott is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is considered one of the Seven Sisters of the South.[4][5] The current mission of the college, adopted in 2002, states: Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times.[6]


Agnes Scott is considered the first higher education institution in the state of Georgia to receive regional accreditation.[7][8] The current president is Elizabeth Kiss, the founding director of Duke University's Kenan Institute for Ethics.

On July 27, 1994, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Candler Street-Agnes Scott College Historic District.[9] The historic district boundaries are East College Ave., South McDonough St., S. Candler St., East Hill St. and East Davis St. It includes the entire campus, as well as historic homes adjacent to the campus. The campus is also designated by the City of Decatur as a historic district.


Special curricula

Coeducational graduate programs:

  • Master of Arts in teaching secondary English (program ending May 14, 2011)
  • Master of Arts in teaching secondary math and science (program ending May 14, 2011)
  • Post-baccalaureate pre-medical program

Undergraduate programs:


Downtown Decatur

Agnes Scott College is located within walking distance of downtown Decatur. A MARTA subway station, located in downtown Decatur, allows students to travel to Atlanta.

Agnes Scott (Main) Hall, the oldest building on campus, was built in 1891 and once housed the entire school. This is documented in the history of Agnes Scott by Dr. McNair entitled Lest We Forget published in 1983.

Buttrick Hall
Looking across the quad
McCain Library at dusk

Agnes Scott occupies more than 90 acres (360,000 m2) in Decatur. The college also owns the Avery Glen apartments as well as more than a dozen houses in the surrounding neighborhoods housing faculty, staff, and students. There are also six dedicated undergraduate dormitories located on campus.

The LIDAR facility to the observatory.[10]

The college's science building contains a three-story rendering of part of the nucleotide sequence from Agnes Scott's mitochrondrial DNA. The DNA came from a blood sample of an ASC alumna who is a direct descendant of the college's namesake.

American poet Clean Air Campaign to reduce its impact on the local environment.[11]

As of 2015, the college has five solar arrays, four of which are part of Georgia Power's Advanced Solar Initiative. The fifth array is on the rooftop of the Bradley Observatory and is also used for student research. The renovation of Campbell Hall into a mixed use residence hall, learning center, and office space was concluded in 2014 and included installation of a hydro-geothermic HVAC system.[12]

The college hosts a Zipcar.[13]

Student life


Non-commuter students are expected to live in on-campus housing for all four years as an undergraduate at Agnes Scott College.[14] There are six resident halls situated around the Northern edge of the campus: Winship, Walters, Inman, Rebekah, Campbell and Agnes Scott Hall (nicknamed "Main"). Agnes Scott also owns off-campus apartments one block from campus called Avery Glen. Winship and Walters are traditionally reserved for first-year students. Upperclasswomen participate in a numeric room selection process, where students choose to live in loft-style dorms, tower rooms, or apartments with their friends. Single rooms are available in Inman, Main and Rebecca, while triple rooms are available exclusively in Main.[15] Beginning in August 2014, Campbell offers students suite-style rooms for four, with two students per room and a shared restroom.[16] Hopkins Hall was retired as a residence hall after the 2014-2015 academic year due to increased need for office space on campus.

Campus organizations

Due to the small size of the Agnes Scott College community, students are encouraged to start any organization or group that does not yet exist on campus. Students are also welcome to join the diverse group of organizations recognized by the school's student government, including a secret society or two.


The Silhouette is the yearbook published by the students of Agnes Scott College. All students are invited to join the staff.

Aurora is the Agnes Scott literary magazine. The magazine is published once a year and includes student poetry, prose, and artwork. In the past, the magazine has also considered publishing musical compositions.

Psychobabble is the student-run newsletter of Agnes Scott's Department of Psychology. The newsletter’s goal is to create an informed and united community within the discipline by promoting coordinated activities and facilitating communication and relationships among faculty, students and staff. Psychobabble gives psychology majors and minors an opportunity to involve themselves in their interest and form an identity as undergraduate students, while benefiting the department as a whole and supporting the educational experience of their peers.

The Profile, the college's independent student newspaper, is published bi-weekly during the academic year. All students interested in writing, photography, editing, layout and design, cartoons, advertising or circulation are encouraged to join the staff.


Agnes Scott is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III which fields six sports teams including basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, and lacrosse. All teams compete in the Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC) except lacrosse which competes in the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South). The tennis team is arguably Agnes Scott’s most successful team, having won the conference championship and advanced to the NCAA national tournament four times: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. The newest team is lacrosse which was added in 2008 and began playing in the 2009-10 school year.

Agnes Scott uses the tune of the Notre Dame Victory March as their fight song and to rally the students together during the annual Black Cat Spirit Week. The Agnes Scott mascot is a "Scottie," a Scottish Terrier named Victory.


Mascot and School Colors
The school colors of Agnes Scott are purple and white and the school mascot is the Scottie, a Scottish Terrier.

Class Colors
Each incoming class is assigned a class color—red, yellow, blue, or green—and votes on a class mascot that correlates with that color. The colors and mascots are intended to establish class pride, particularly during one week of activities called Black Cat.

Black Cat
Black Cat occurs every fall and is Agnes Scott's version of homecoming week. The week includes a number of class-focused games and activities and culminates in a series of skits written, directed, and performed by the junior class. Each class has the opportunity to showcase its mascot that features the class color. If there is dissatisfaction with a class mascot, the class is given the option to revote and choose a different mascot their second year.[17]

Pestle Board
A senior-only social and philanthropic society created to lampoon the campus chapter of the academic honor society Mortar Board. Whereas Mortar Board has strict GPA and extracurricular prerequisites for membership, Pestle Board's only entry requirement is the completion of a humorous initiation process known as "capping" that pairs junior "cappees" with graduating senior "cappers". Capping also involves Pestle Board's largest philanthropic fundraiser of the year.

Class Ring
The class ring is given to students during the spring of their sophomore year in a special ceremony. The ring is very distinctive with a rectangular engraved black onyx stone inscribed ASC and has remained essentially the same since its introduction in the 1920s with choices only in metal (white or yellow gold) and antiquing. Alumnae who wear the ring are recognizable to one another or those familiar with the college's tradition. Students and Alumnae alike dub themselves the "Black Ring Mafia".

Honor Code
The honor code is held in high regard among Agnes Scott students and faculty.[18] At the beginning of every academic year, new students must sign the honor code and recite a pledge promising to uphold the high academic and social standards of the institution.

"As a member of the student body of Agnes Scott College, I consider myself bound by honor to develop and uphold high standards of honesty and behavior; to strive for full intellectual and moral stature; to realize my social and academic responsibility in the community. To attain these ideals, I do therefore accept this Honor System as my way of life."

Students self govern themselves and ask violators of the code to turn themselves in to Honor Court. The trust the Honor Code builds between faculty and students allows for students to take self scheduled, unproctored, exams.

Senior Investiture
Senior Investiture is one of the college’s most cherished traditions. During the investiture ceremony in the fall of students' senior year, each student is capped with an academic mortar board as a symbol of her senior status at the college by the Dean.

Bell Ringers
Seniors at Agnes Scott traditionally ring the bell in Agnes Scott Hall's bell tower upon acceptance to graduate school or a job offer. This tradition dates from the early 1990s after the tower acquired its bell during the administration of President Ruth Schmidt. Students who ring the bell sign their names on the walls of the tower.

Alumnae Pond
Tradition dictates that students who get engaged are thrown into the alumnae pond by their classmates.[19]


University rankings
Forbes[20] 284
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[21] 67

The 2004 edition of US News and World Report's rankings for best liberal arts colleges placed Agnes Scott as tied for number 50 in the country, and that year promotional information and school merchandise advertised the college's place among the "top 50."

In 2004, the college ranked second among women's colleges, seventh among national liberal arts colleges, and 27th overall in endowment per full-time enrolled student.

In April 2007, Kiplinger named Agnes Scott as one of the top 50 private liberal arts colleges.

Princeton Review's 2007 The Best 361 Colleges ranks the college as follows:
No. 4 for "Most Beautiful Campus"
No. 8 for "Dorms Like Palaces"
No. 11 for "Diverse Student Population"
No. 13 for "Students Happy with Financial Aid"

According to the 2010 US News and World Report, Agnes Scott is ranked the 59th best liberal arts college in the country. It is the highest ranked women's college in the southeast. The report also ranked Agnes Scott as No. 28 for "Great School, Great Price."

Princeton Review's 2011 The Best 373 Colleges ranks the college as follows:
No. 3 for "Easiest Campus to Get Around" (ASC’s second consecutive year in Top 10)
No. 8 for "Town Gown Relations Are Great" (ASC’s third consecutive year in Top 10)
No. 10 for "Best Quality of Life"
No. 19 for "Don't Inhale"
No. 20 for "Stone Cold Sober" (ASC traditionally places Top 20 in this category)[22]

Agnes Scott is one of forty colleges profiled in the book Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope.

Notable achievements

  • Agnes Scott College was the first college in Georgia to compost in its residence halls.[23]
  • Agnes Scott pulled off what is considered the biggest upset in the history of the televised quiz show College Bowl when they beat Princeton University, 220-215, on March 6, 1966.
  • New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered Agnes Scott's May 2005 commencement address.[24] At the ceremony, she and alumna playwright Marsha Norman received the first honorary degrees conferred by the college.
  • Distinguished alumnae include: Georgia's first female Rhodes Scholar; Gates Millennium scholarship winners; the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court; the CEO of Ann Taylor; [25]
  • In 2009, Agnes Scott students were recognized for excellence in many fields, with four Fulbright Scholars; two Goldwater Scholars (the same as Harvard [26]), recognizing work in mathematics, engineering or science; one Truman Scholar for public service leadership potential; one Kemper Scholar providing career development in business administration and one Jessie Ball DuPont Fellowship providing two-year work and study in philanthropy.[25]
  • Madeleine Albright, the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State, delivered Agnes Scott's 121st commencement May 2010.[27] Agnes Scott's President Elizabeth Kiss has described Albright as, a "true trailblazer." "Her record of leadership, public service and commitment to creating a more just and humane world makes her a perfect role model for Agnes Scott students," Kiss said.[28]
  • Agnes Scott is ranked #2 among U.S. colleges and universities in economics Ph.D.s earned per undergraduate degree awarded.[29]

Notable alumnae

See also



  • Earnshaw, Rebecca Lee. Students at Agnes Scott College During the 1930s. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1988.
  • McNair, Walter Edward. Lest We Forget: An Account of Agnes Scott College. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1983.
  • Noble, Betty Pope Scott. The Story of George Washington Scott, 1829–1903: A Family Memoir. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 2002.
  • Pope, Loren. "Scott College." In Colleges That Change Lives. New York: Penguin, 2000.
  • Sayrs, M. Lee. A Full and Rich Measure: 100 Years of Educating Women at Agnes Scott College, 1889–1989. Atlanta, GA: Susan Hunter, Inc., 1990.

External links

  • Agnes Scott College Official Website
  • Agnes Scott College Official Athletics Website
  • GE College Bowl: Agnes Scott vs. Princeton, March 6, 1966
  • "Giving Voice to a New Generation: Metro Atlanta's three women's colleges are going strong, even while the number of women's colleges nationwide has declined" (Agnes Scott College, Spelman College, and Brenau University)
  • US News and World Report 2007 rankings
  • Kiplinger rankings
  • City of Decatur Website: Historic Districts
  • National Register of Historic Places: South Candler Street--Agnes Scott College Historic District
  • Bradley Observatory -- Agnes Scott College website

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