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Bucknell University

Bucknell University
Former names
University at Lewisburg
Established 1846
Type Private
Endowment $721.8 million (2013) [1]
President John C. Bravman[2][3]
Academic staff
Undergraduates 3,500
Postgraduates 155
Location Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Campus Rural, 445 acres (180 ha)[5]
Colors Orange and Blue          
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Bison

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college located alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River in the town of Lewisburg, in central Pennsylvania, United States. The university consists of the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, and the College of Engineering. Bucknell was founded in 1846, and features programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, engineering, management, education, and music, as well as programs and pre-professional advising that prepare students for study in law and medicine. It has almost 50 majors and over 60 minors.

It is primarily an undergraduate school (with 3,500 students), and 150 graduate students on the campus. Students come from all 50 states and from more than 66 countries.[6] Bucknell has nearly 200 student organizations and a large Greek presence. The school's mascot is Bucky the Bison and the school is a member of the Patriot League in NCAA Division I athletics.


  • History 1
    • Founding & Early Years 1.1
    • Female Institute 1.2
    • Benefactor William Bucknell 1.3
    • Continued Expansion 1.4
    • Strategic planning 1.5
  • Campus 2
  • Academics 3
    • College of Arts & Sciences 3.1
    • College of Engineering 3.2
    • School of Management 3.3
  • Rankings 4
  • Admissions 5
  • Traditions and symbols 6
    • Bucknell Cheer 6.1
  • Athletics 7
  • Student life 8
  • Alumni 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Founding & Early Years

Founded in 1846 as the University at Lewisburg, Bucknell traces its origination to a group of Baptists from White Deer Valley Baptist Church who deemed it "desirable that a Literary Institution should be established in Central Pennsylvania, embracing a High School for male pupils, another for females, a College and also a Theological Institution."[7]

The group’s efforts for the institution began to crystallize in 1845, when Stephen William Taylor, a professor at Madison University (now Colgate University) in Hamilton, New York, was asked to prepare a charter and act as general agent for the university’s development. The charter for the University at Lewisburg, granted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and approved by the governor on February 5, 1846, carried one stipulation–that $100,000 ($2,624,815 today) be raised before the new institution would be granted full corporate status. More than 4,000 subscribers ultimately contributed, including a small boy who gave 12 cents ($3 today).

In 1846, the "school preparatory to the University" opened in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Lewisburg. Known originally as the Lewisburg High School, it became in 1848 the Academical and Primary Department of the University at Lewisburg.[8]

In 1850, the department moved into the first building completed on campus, now called Taylor Hall. Built for $8,000 ($226,784 today), the building housed both women's and men’s studies until the opening of the Female Institute in 1852. While studying together, women were required to face east while men faced west.

The school’s first commencement was held on August 20, 1851, for a graduation class of seven men. Among the board members attending was James Buchanan, who would become the 15th President of the United States. Stephen Taylor officiated as his last act before assuming office as president of Madison University. One day earlier, the trustees had elected Howard Malcom as the first president of the university, a post he held for six years.

Female Institute

Bucknell University in the 1870s

Although the Female Institute began instruction in 1852, it wasn’t until 1883 that college courses were opened to women. Bucknell, though, was committed to equal educational opportunities for women.

This commitment was reflected in the words of David Jayne Hill of the Class of 1874, and president of the university from 1879 to 1888: "We need in Pennsylvania, in the geographical centre of the state, a University, not in the German but in the American sense, where every branch of non-professional knowledge can be pursued, regardless of distinction of sex. I have no well-matured plan to announce as to the sexes; but the Principal of the Female Seminary proposes to inaugurate a course for females equal to that pursued at Vassar; the two sexes having equal advantages, though not reciting together."[9]

Within five years of opening, enrollment had grown so sharply that the university built a new hall–Larison Hall–to accommodate the Female Institute. Women could venture into town only in the company of a female teacher who had a minimum of six years’ experience in handling girls.

Benefactor William Bucknell

In 1881, facing dire financial circumstances, the university turned to William Bucknell, a charter member of the board of trustees, for help. His donation of $50,000 ($1,221,897 today) saved the university from ruin. In 1886, in recognition of Bucknell's support of the school, the trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the University at Lewisburg to Bucknell University. Bucknell Hall, the first of several buildings given to the university by Bucknell, was initially a chapel and for more than a half century the site of student theatrical and musical performances. Today it houses the Stadler Center for Poetry.[10]

Continued Expansion

Bucknell's Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

The 40 years from 1890 until 1930 saw a steady increase in the number of faculty members and students. When the Depression brought a drop in enrollment in 1933, several members of the faculty were "loaned" to found a new institution: Bucknell Junior College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Today, that institution is a four-year university, Wilkes University, independent of Bucknell since 1947.

Significant new construction in the 1970s included the Elaine Langone Center, the Gerhard Fieldhouse, and the Computer Center. During the early 1980s, the capacity of the Bertrand Library was doubled and facilities for engineering were substantially renovated. In 1988, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts was completed.

New facilities for the sciences included the renovation of the Olin Science Building, the construction of the Rooke Chemistry Building in 1990 and the completion of a new Biology Building in 1991. The McDonnell Residence Hall and Weis Music Building were completed in 2000. In addition, the O'Leary Building for Psychology and Geology opened in the fall of 2002 and the new Kenneth Langone Recreational Athletic Center opened during the 2002–03 academic year.The most recent facility, the Breakiron Engineering Building, opened in 2004.[11]

Strategic planning

On April 29, 2006, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved "The Plan for Bucknell," which calls for improvement in five areas: strengthening the academic core curriculum, deepening the residential learning experience, enhancing diversity, building bridges with the local community, and securing Bucknell's financial future.[12]

The university reported having $721.8 million in investments in its endowment portfolio at the end of 2013.[1]


Miller Run, a stream on Bucknell University's campus

Bucknell has a 450-acre (180 ha) campus comprising more than 100 buildings. New facilities for the sciences included the renovation of the Olin Science Building (which is located across from the Dana Engineering building), the construction of the Rooke Chemistry Building in 1990, and the completion of a new Biology Building in 1991. The McDonnell Residence Hall and Weis Music Building were completed in 2000. In addition, the O'Leary Building for Psychology and Geology opened in the fall of 2002. The Breakiron Engineering Building opened in 2004. Academic West, the newest facility, opened in fall 2013. It added 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of academic space; 16,200 square feet (1,510 m2) of which are classroom and hearth spaces. Academic West is home to the economics, geography, international relations, Latin American studies, political science, sociology/anthropology, and Environmental Studies Program.[13] The University’s first building, Taylor Hall, was constructed in 1848. It currently houses the School of Management.[14]

The Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center was completed in 2003. It and houses a state-of-the-art fitness center, Olympic-size pool, and the 4,000-seat Sojka Pavilion, home of the men's and women's basketball teams and named for Dr. Gary Allan Sojka, a former president of the university who remained at the university after the end of his term as a professor of biology, until his retirement in 2006.

Designed in Georgian colonial style, Rooke Chapel is the setting for campus worship, weddings, and celebrations. Attached to the chapel is a one-story wing which houses the meditation chapel and OCRL offices. The chapel was dedicated on October 25, 1965. The chapel was a gift of the late Robert L. Rooke, an alumnus of the class of 1913 and a member of the University's Board of Trustees. The chapel is named in memory of Mr. Rooke's parents. The main portion of the chapel includes the narthex, sanctuary, chancel area, organ chamber, choir rooms, and balconies that surround the sanctuary on three sides. Approximately 850 persons can be seated in the sanctuary and balconies.[15]

Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium is a 13,100-seat multi-purpose stadium in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Originally built in 1924, the stadium was renovated and renamed in honor of Mathewson in 1989. It is home to the Bucknell University Bison football team and the Lewisburg High School Green Dragons football team. It is named for Christy Mathewson, a Bucknell alumnus who went on to become a Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century.


University rankings
Forbes[16] 48
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[17] 29
Washington Monthly[18] 63

College of Arts & Sciences

Primarily an undergraduate institution, Bucknell offers 47 majors and 65 minors. Majors include history, mathematics, environmental studies, geology, East Asian studies, management, accounting, biology, chemistry, education, music, art history, English, animal behavior, neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, theatre, and various foreign languages. Students can also design their own majors.[19] The College comprises the three traditional liberal arts divisions: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics with over 275 faculty members in 31 departments. Bucknell is well known for the unusually broad array of undergraduate research opportunities available to students in all of the disciplines taught on campus. The overall curriculum of the College is the College Core Curriculum.[20] Bucknell is also strong in environmental studies, animal behavior, neuroscience, ecology, and evolution. Because Bucknell is larger than many other liberal arts colleges (in fact, it is the nation's largest private liberal arts university), a wide range of courses can be offered in these fields, including, for example, entomology, limnology, mammalogy, invertebrate zoology, ornithology, tropical ecology, ecosystem and community ecology, conservation biology, neuroscience, neural plasticity, and social insect courses. Faculty research in these areas is active, with many opportunities for student participation, field work, and travel. Bucknell has strong programs in theatre, dance, music, and film whereby students work closely with experienced professionals. State-of-the-art performance and practice facilities, including the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, enhance the undergraduate performing arts experience. The Bucknell Environmental Center (BUEC) sponsored a symposium series on sustainability and the global environment and has major initiatives focused on the art, culture, and ecology of the Susquehanna River basin and the greening of the Bucknell Campus. In April, 2013, Bucknell partnered with nearby Geisinger Health System to create the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI), located on Hamm Drive in Lewisburg. This facility combines clinical treatment and interdisciplinary research on neurodevelopmental disorders. The facility has EEG and Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) facilities, and Bucknell students are actively involved in all facets of the research. Bucknell has recently received a Solar Scholars grant and is building an experimental student housing unit that will rely primarily on renewable energy, including photovoltaics. Forty-five percent of Bucknell students study abroad.[21] The University sponsors semester-long programs in five locations—London; Tours, France; Granada, Spain; Cape Coast, Ghana; and Athens, Greece (co-sponsored with Pennsylvania State University) —and several short-term summer programs in locations such as Nicaragua, Denmark and South Africa, all of which are staffed by Bucknell professors. Students can also choose to study in a variety of other countries through alternative providers. The student-faculty ratio is 10:1.[22]

College of Engineering

The school's College of Engineering (with majors in electrical, chemical, computer science, computer, mechanical, civil, environmental, and biomedical engineering) is particularly strong. Among American schools that do not offer a Ph.D. in engineering, Bucknell ranks No. 8.[23] The Chemical Engineering Department ranks No. 4,[24] the Civil Engineering Program No. 5,[25] the Electrical Engineering[26] and Computer Engineering Departments[27] No. 6, and the Mechanical Engineering Department No. 7,[28] respectively, under the same criteria.

There are two main engineering buildings on the Bucknell University campus. The two buildings are the Charles A. Dana Engineering Building and the Breakiron Engineering Building. Referred to by most students and faculty solely as "Dana" the Charles A. Dana Engineering Building was built in 1940, while the fairly new Breakiron Engineering Building was built in 2003.

School of Management

Students can choose from four tracks, leading to the B.S.B.A. degree: managing for sustainability, markets innovation and design, global management or accounting. Students are admitted to the program as incoming first-year students or through a competitive selection process during the first semester of their sophomore year. Management students learn to think critically and communicate effectively about the economic, social, political and cultural issues they will face throughout their careers and lives, while also gaining technical competence in their field. Management 101 is a collaborative, experiential course that has been widely recognized as an innovative model for management schools. In this class, students form their own companies, market products and conduct community service projects. Markets Innovations and Design (MIDE) is Bucknell's marketing program. In conjunction with the liberal arts initiatives, students learn to think holistically and creatively about generating awareness. Managing for Sustainability is Bucknell's response to the stakeholder movement in business. MSUS students about how their decisions as managers will impact the community. MSUS students may focus of people, planet, or profits but all learn how to manage for longevity. Global Management prepares student for working with a global market. All accounting graduates are eligible to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in Pennsylvania or to take the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam. A five-year, dual degree in Engineering and Management is available for engineers with management career goals. Bucknell ranks first among 213 baccalaureate liberal arts colleges for graduates who have earned Ph.D.s in Business and Management.[29]


In its 2013 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Bucknell 32nd in the "National Liberal Arts Colleges" category.[30] In 2012, Forbes rated Bucknell 56th in its "America's Best Colleges" list.[31] For 2010–2011, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Bucknell 22nd in terms of "Best Value among Liberal Arts Colleges in the US," which took into account academic quality, cost and financial aid measures.[32] Bucknell is also listed in the guide "Hidden Ivies: 50 Top Colleges that Rival the Ivy League," one of fifty institutions comparable in quality to Ivy League universities.[33][34] The Princeton Review included Bucknell in its annual Best Value Colleges for 2012.[35] Bucknell is ranked 4th on Payscale's list of Top Liberal Arts Colleges by Salary Potential.[36]

On January 26, 2013, Bucknell officials admitted that the SAT scores that they had provided to the public had been inflated by 16 points, on average, between 2006 and 2012. "Enrollment management leadership no longer with the university prepared these inaccurate numbers," school president John Bravman wrote in an email to alumni.[37] As a result of the falsification of data, Forbes penalized Bucknell by removing it from the "America's Top Colleges" list for two years.[38] For the same reason, Kiplinger's Personal Finance removed Bucknell from its 2012 "Best Values in Private Colleges" list.[39]


U.S. News & World Report classifies Bucknell's selectivity as "more selective."[40] For the Class of 2016 (enrolled fall 2012), Bucknell received 8,291 applications and accepted 2,238 (27.0%), with 918 enrolling.[41] In terms of class rank, 66% of enrolled freshmen reporting rank were in the top 10% of their high school classes, and 89% were in the top 25%.[41] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for the enrolled freshmen was 580-680 for critical reading, 620-710 for math, and 590-690 for writing, while the ACT Composite range was 27–31.[41]

Traditions and symbols

On April 17, 1849, the trustees approved the current Bucknell seal. The seal shows the sun, an open book, and waves. The sun symbolizes the light of knowledge while the book represents education surmounting the storms and "waves" of life.[42] Bucknell's colors are orange and blue, being approved by a committee of students in 1887.[43] The bison is the current mascot of Bucknell University. In 1923 Dr. William Bartol suggested the animal due to Bucknell's location in the Buffalo Valley.[44]

Bucknell Cheer

’Ray Bucknell, ’Ray Bucknell,
’Ray for the Orange and the Blue,
’Ray, ’Ray, ’Ray, ’Ray,
’Ray for the Orange and the Blue.[45]


Bucknell is a member of the Patriot League for Division I sports, Division I FCS in football. Bucknell's traditional opponents include Lafayette College, Holy Cross, Lehigh University, Colgate University, and American University.

The Bucknell football team won the first Orange Bowl 26–0, over the Miami Hurricanes on January 1, 1935. Bucknell won the first Division II NCAA swimming and diving championships in 1964. It is also the alma mater of baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson, who requested burial in a cemetery adjoining Bucknell's campus.

In 2005, the men's basketball team went to the NCAA men's basketball tournament and became the first Patriot League team to win an NCAA tournament game, upsetting Kansas (64–63). The victory followed a year that included wins over #7 Pittsburgh and Saint Joseph's. They lost to Wisconsin in the following round but received the honor of "Best Upset" at the 2005 ESPY Awards.

Student life

First-year undergraduates are required to live on campus. The school guarantees on-campus housing for all four years. Some students choose to live off campus after their first year.

The campus is roughly divided into "uphill" and "downhill" areas by a large slope between Moore Avenue and Dent Drive. The uphill area flanks U.S. Route 15 and the West Branch Susquehanna River and features many of the academic buildings, including the main academic quadrangle, the Observatory, and library as well as some dormitories, Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium, and Fraternity Road. Downhill borders the Victorian-era neighborhoods of downtown Lewisburg and features mainly residential buildings, including the majority of first-year dormitories, the Gateway apartment complex, the President's house, many of the indoor athletic facilities, and Hunt Hall, home to the school's sororities. Bucknell West, which is separated from the rest of campus by Route 15, features some housing, athletic fields, art and psychology/animal behavior laboratories, and an 18-hole golf course.

All on-campus students must purchase a campus meal plan. There are several dining options on campus for students, including the Bostwick Cafeteria, Bison snack bar, and Terrace Room in the Langone Student Center, and the Library and 7th Street Cafe. In spring 2012, Bucknell unveiled their first food truck, the Flying Bison.[46] The menu includes lunch items and a special late night (Midnight - 3:00 a.m.) menu.[47]

Because of its rural location and lack of nearby large cities (ball provide students with a wide array of activities. Downtown Lewisburg is a short walking distance from the campus and features a variety of shops, museums, galleries, and restaurants in addition to old-fashioned gingerbread houses.

Spratt House is the home of the University's Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Bucknell's student newspaper, The Bucknellian, is printed weekly. Its radio station is WVBU-FM.

Bucknell has active religious life involvement on campus. Groups such as Bucknell University Catholic Campus Ministry, Rooke Chapel Congregation, Muslim Students' Association, and Hillel are available to students for spiritual and personal growth.

The university also has a lively Greek life. Students cannot "rush" until the first semester of their sophomore year, but approximately 50 percent of eligible students join the school's 13 fraternities and 9 sororities.


Alumni of Bucknell University include world-renowned novelist Philip Roth (class of 1954), actors Ralph Waite (1952) and Edward Herrman (1965), CBS Television CEO Leslie Moonves (1971), and longtime New Jersey congressman Rob Andrews (1979). Notable Bucknell University attendees include National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson.


  1. ^ a b As of December 31, 2013. "Bucknell University Endowment Report: Spring 2014" (PDF). 
  2. ^, Pennsylvania is home to some of nation's highest- paid university leaders, December 7, 2014
  3. ^ Chronicle of HIgher Education, Executive Compensation at Private Colleges, 2012, December 6, 2014
  4. ^ "Bucknell Common Data Set" (PDF). Bucknell University. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Bucknell University At a Glance".  
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "The Plan For Bucknell". 
  13. ^ Hughes, Matt. "Academic West opens its doors". Bucknell University. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "School of Management official website". 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Colleges & Departments". Bucknell University. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2009. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Most student studying abroad". US News and World Report. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  22. ^ "BucknellFastFacts" (PDF). Bucknell University. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  23. ^ "2006 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs". Yahoo! Education. Archived from the original on May 26, 2006. Retrieved May 29, 2006. 
  24. ^ "Undergraduate Engineering Specialties: Chemical". U.S. News and Daily Report. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Undergraduate Engineering Specialties: Civil". U.S. News and Daily Report. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Undergraduate Engineering Specialties: Electrical, Electronics, and Communications". U.S. News and Daily Report. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Undergraduate Engineering Specialties: Computer". U.S. News and Daily Report. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Undergraduate Engineering Specialties: Mechanical". U.S. News and Daily Report. Retrieved April 20, 2007. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Bucknell University". U.S. January 9, 2012. 
  31. ^ "America's Best Colleges". 2012. 
  32. ^ "Best Values in Private Colleges, 2011–12". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  33. ^ Greene, Howard. The Hidden Ivies, 2nd Edition: 50 Top Colleges-from Amherst to Williams. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  34. ^ "Browse Inside The Hidden Ivies, 2nd Edition: 50 Top Colleges—from Amherst to Williams —That Rival the Ivy League by Howard Greene, Matthew W. Greene". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Payscale – Top Liberal Arts Colleges By Salary Potential". Payscale. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  37. ^ "Bucknell comes clean on inflated SAT scores". The Daily Item. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  38. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2013". July 24, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Best Values in Private Colleges". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. October 2012. 
  40. ^ "Bucknell University | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  41. ^ a b c "Bucknell University Common Data Set 2012-2013, Part C" (PDF). Bucknell University. 
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ Ayers, Amanda (April 22, 2012). "Flying Bison soars to campus". The Bucknellian. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  47. ^ "The Flying Bison". Bucknell University. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  48. ^ "Kappa Delta Rho suspended for four years". Bucknell University. January 19, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2009. 

External links

  • Official school website
  • Official athletics website
  • Bucknell Student Government
  • , Grit Publishing Co. Press (1946)Centennial history of Bucknell University: 1846–1946Theiss, Lewis Edwin,
  • The Rise of Bucknell UniversityOliphant, James Orin, Appleton-Century-Crofts (1965)
  • , Harmony House (1990), ISBN 0-916509-29-X, 9780916509293Bucknell UniversityKrist, Robert,
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