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Denison University

Denison University
Former names
Granville Theological and Literary Seminary
Granville College
Denison College
Sheperdson College for Women
Established 1831
Type Private liberal arts
Affiliation Non-sectarian
(formerly Baptist)
Endowment $800 million [1]
President Adam S. Weinberg
Vice-president Laurel Kennedy
Provost Kimberly Coplin
Dean William Fox IV
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2,250[2]
Location Granville, Ohio, USA
Campus Rural, 900 acres (3.6 km2) including a 550-acre (2.2 km2) biological reserve
Colors Red and White
Athletics NCAA Division IIINCAC
Sports 23 varsity teams
Nickname Big Red

Denison University is a private, coeducational, and residential liberal arts four-year college in Granville, Ohio, US, about 30 mi (48 km) east of Columbus, the state capital. Founded in 1831, it is Ohio's second-oldest liberal arts college. Denison is a member of the Five Colleges of Ohio and the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and it competes in the North Coast Athletic Conference.


  • History 1
  • Campus 2
  • Students 3
  • Academics 4
  • Student life 5
    • Student programs and organizations 5.1
    • Fine arts 5.2
    • Fraternity/sorority life 5.3
    • Religious life 5.4
    • Traditions and folklore 5.5
  • Athletics 6
  • People 7
    • University presidents 7.1
    • Notable faculty 7.2
    • Alumni 7.3
  • References 8
  • External links 9


On December 13, 1831, John Pratt, the college's first president and a graduate of

  • University website
  • University athletics website

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Denison University: Fast Facts". Denison University. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Fast Facts". Denison University. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 9. 
  4. ^ a b c Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 14. 
  5. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. pp. 21–22. 
  6. ^ Chessman, G. Wallace (1957). Denison: The Story of an Ohio College. Granville: Denison University. pp. 84–85. 
  7. ^ "Bancroft House". Denison University. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ Shepardson, Francis W. (1931). Denison University, 1831-1931: A Centennial History. Granville: Denison University. p. 32. 
  9. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 12. 
  10. ^ Shepardson, Francis W. (1931). Denison University, 1831-1931: A Centennial History. Granville: Denison University. pp. 180–181. 
  11. ^ Shepardson, Francis W. (1931). Denison University, 1831-1931: A Centennial History. Granville: Denison University. pp. 186, 193. 
  12. ^ Chessman, G. Wallace (1957). Denison: The Story of an Ohio College. Granville: Denison University. p. 227. 
  13. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 114. 
  14. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 49. 
  15. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. pp. 71–72. 
  16. ^ Shepardson, Francis W. (1931). Denison University, 1831-1931: A Centennial History. Granville: Denison University. pp. 348–351. 
  17. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 62. 
  18. ^ "Left. Left. Left, Right, Left".  
  19. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. pp. 176–177. 
  20. ^ "Bancroft House". History & Traditions. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Denison University: Swasey Chapel". Denison University. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Denison University: Bryant Arts Center". Denison University. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Denison University: William Howard Doane Library". Denison University. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Denison University: Swasey Observatory". Denison University. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Denison University: Slayter Union". Denison University. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  26. ^ Andreadis, Debby. "Swasey Chapel- Denison University". Denison University. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Campus Master Plan". Council of Independent Colleges. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  28. ^ a b c d "Denison Welcomes Record-Setting Class of 2018". (Press release). Denison University. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  29. ^ "State of Ohio honors Denison in Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony". Denison University. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  30. ^ a b Leonhardt, David (September 8, 2014). "Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class, and Poor". New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  31. ^ Edmonds, Curits (April 9, 2013). "Class of 2017: Acceptance rate falls to 45 percent". The Denisonian. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  32. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  34. ^ "2015 Best Colleges". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  35. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  36. ^ "DCGA Constitution". Denison Campus Governance Association. November 12, 2009. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Integrity at Denison". Denison University. August 15, 2009. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  38. ^ "President Knobel signs Presidents' Climate Commitment". Denison University. April 23, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  39. ^ "The Denisonian". The Denisonian. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  40. ^ Denison University. "Academics | Denison University". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  41. ^ "Denison Announces Ensemble In Residence Partnership With Quartet ETHEL". (Press release). Denison University. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  42. ^ "'"Denison University Featured In Princeton Review’s 2015 'Best 379 Colleges. (Press release). Denison University. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  43. ^ "Denison University". US News Rankings and Reviews. US News. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  44. ^ Oltvai, Kristof (5 February 2013). "Bid Day by the numbers". The Denisonian. 
  45. ^ "Greek Life Home". Greek Life Home. Denison University. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  46. ^ "Interfraternity Council". Denison University. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  47. ^ "Panhellenic Council". Panhellenic Council. Denison University. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  48. ^ "National Pan-Hellenic Council". National Pan-Hellenic Council. Denison University. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  49. ^ "Multicultural Greek Council". Multicultural Greek Council. Denison University. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  50. ^ "Chapter Statuses". Denison University. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  51. ^ Oltvai, Kristof (26 July 2013). "Fraternity investigations conclude with three different results". The Denisonian. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  52. ^ "Religious Life Organizations". Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  53. ^ Heritage and Promise: Denison 1831-1981. Granville: Denison University. 1981. p. 129. 
  54. ^ Denison Magazine (Spring 2010). Granville: Denison University. 2010. p. 31. 
  55. ^ Denison Magazine (Spring 2010). Granville: Denison University. 2010. p. 26. 
  56. ^ "Denison Moves Into NCAC'S 2010-11 All-Sports Lead After Winter Season". North Coast Athletic Conference. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  57. ^ "Denison Wins 1985-86 NCAC All-Sports Champion Honor" (PDF). North Coast Athletic Conference. 1986. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  58. ^ "Denison, Ohio Wesleyan Share All-Sports Title; May 13, 2009 First Tie in 25-Year North Coast History" (PDF). North Coast Athletic Conference. 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  59. ^ "Swimming: Women: Championship History". Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  60. ^ "Big Red Stuns Kenyon to Capture National Championship". (Press release). Denison University. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  61. ^ 2010-11 Swimming & Diving Media Guide. Granville: Denison University. 2010. 
  62. ^ The Historical Times XVII (2). Granville, Ohio, Historical Society. Summer 2003. 
  63. ^ Jones, Todd (6 November 2010). "Piper gave single-wing new life".  
  64. ^ Wilson, Tom (1 March 2011). "Denison reward for perfect season: Having to go through former champs".  
  65. ^ 2010-11 Women's Lacrosse Media Guide. Granville: Denison University. 2010. 
  66. ^ 2010-11 Men's Lacrosse Media Guide. Granville: Denison University. 2010. 
  67. ^ Hachat, Josh (13 May 2008). "No coach? For Denison lacrosse captains, no worry". Newark Advocate. 
  68. ^ Hachat, Josh (18 May 2008). "DU women take giant step to win in D-III quarterfinals". Newark Advocate. 
  69. ^ "Denison duo make history by placing second at national tennis tourney".  
  70. ^ May 1st ITA Division 3 Men's Tennis National Rankings. "Intercollegiate Tennis Association." Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  71. ^ Denison Men's Tennis 2014 Schedule. "Denison University Sports Information." Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  72. ^ D3CentralTennis (26 March 2014). "State of the Region Address: Central". Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  73. ^ "Denison headed to Sweet 16". Granville Sentinel. 18 November 2010. 
  74. ^ "Sports Wire: Denison tops Otterbein in shootout to advance in soccer tournament". Columbus Dispatch. 20 November 2005. 
  75. ^ "DU hosts first two rounds of NCAA Tournament". Granville Sentinel. 11 November 2010. 
  76. ^ "NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Winners from Denison". Denison University. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  77. ^ "Academic All-America Selections from Denison". Denison University. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  78. ^ "Denison's next president". TheDEN. Denison University. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 


Notable alumni include actors Richard Lugar; Indy car racer Bobby Rahal; and former Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.


Notable faculty

  1. John Pratt (1831–1837)
  2. Jonathan Going (1837–1844)
  3. Silas Bailey (1846–1852)
  4. Jeremiah Hall (1853–1863)
  5. Samson Talbot (1863–1873)
  6. Elisha Andrews (1875–1879)
  7. Alfred Owen (1879–1886)
  8. Galusha Anderson (1887–1889)
  9. Daniel B. Purinton (1890–1901)
  10. Emory W. Hunt (1901–1912)
  11. Clark W. Chamberlain (1913–1925)
  12. Avery A. Shaw (1927–1940)
  13. Kenneth I. Brown (1940–1950)
  14. A. Blair Knapp (1951–1968)
  15. Joel P. Smith (1969–1976)
  16. Robert C. Good (1976–1984)
  17. Andrew G. De Rocco (1984–1988)
  18. Michele Tolela Myers (1989–1998)
  19. Dale T. Knobel (1998–2013)
  20. Adam S. Weinberg (2013–)[78]

University presidents


Denison boasts 43 NCAA postgraduate scholars[76] and 58 Academic All-Americans.[77]

The Denison women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the second time in school history in 2010.[73] The previous appearance occurred in 2005.[74] Overall the program has qualified for the NCAA Tournament 14 times.[75]

In the spring of 2014, the Denison men's tennis team, following a strong season, finished the season ranked 28th in the ITA Division 3 May 1 rankings.[70] The ranking, backed by impressive victories over North Carolina Wesleyan College and Trinity College among others, was the best finish for the Big Red squad since 2011.[71] Critical praise from the media was received along the way, with stating, "The usual Denison formula of great doubles and depth is back."[72]

In 2008 the Denison women’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA semifinals, eventually winning the consolation match to place third overall, marking the program’s best national finish.[68] That same year the doubles team of sophomore Marta Drane and freshman Kristen Cobb advanced to the championship match of the Division III Doubles championship before falling to Brittany Berckes and Alicia Menezes of Amherst in the finals.[69]

The Denison men’s and women’s lacrosse programs have had their share of conference and national success. The two programs have combined for 28 NCAA Division III tournament berths.[65][66] In 1999 and 2001 the Denison men’s lacrosse team advances to the semifinal (Final 4) of the NCAA Division III Tournament [10] and most recently, in 2009, the Big Red advanced to the national quarterfinals of the NCAC Tournament before falling to Gettysburg.[67]

Women’s basketball at Denison has emerged as a national contender under head coach Sara Lee. Denison’s 2010-11 squad completed the first 28-0 regular season in women’s basketball in the NCAC and have advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the seventh time in school history and their sixth time out of the last seven seasons.[64]

In 1954 Keith Piper took over as the head football coach, a position he would remain in for 39 seasons. Piper won a school record, 200 games and in 1985 he guided the program to their first 10–0 season with his antique single-wing offense. Denison qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs that season before falling to Mt. Union in the opening round.[63]

Denison alumnus Woody Hayes (Class of ’35) spent three seasons as the head football coach at Denison (1946–48). In 1947 and 1948 he guided the Big Red to undefeated seasons.[62]

In both men’s and women’s swimming and diving, Denison has posted 47 consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division III championships. During that span, Denison has placed either second or third, nationally, 26 times.[61]

In 2001 the Denison Women’s Swimming and Diving team captured the school’s first NCAA Division III national championship by snapping Kenyon College’s streak of 17-consecutive national championships.[59] Following this, the Denison Men's Swimming and Diving team defeated Kenyon to capture the 2011 NCAA National Title by 1 point[60] ending the Lords' 31-year streak of championships.

Denison is a member of the NCAA Division III and the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) since the conference’s formation in 1984. As a part of the 10-member conference Denison boasts a league-record 11 Dennis M. Collins Awards which is given to the NCAC school that performs best across the conference’s 23 sponsored sports: 11 for men and 12 for women. Denison additionally has 45 club and intramural sports.[1] Denison won nine consecutive All-Sports Awards between 1997–98 and 2005–06.[56] Denison’s remaining two awards were earned in 1985–86[57] and 2008-09.[58]

A view of Deeds Field-Piper Stadium from College Hill


Denison has one of the few remaining college cemeteries in Ohio. Among those buried on Sunset Hill are Jonathan Going, the college's second president, and Elisha Andrews, its sixth.[55]

Kirtley Mather, Class of 1909, named the tallest peak in Alaska's Aleutian Peninsula "Mt. Denison." In 1978, a group of students, professors, and alumni successfully scaled the mountain—a feat repeated nearly 20 years later by another Denison group.[54]

D-Day, the successor to the college's old Scrap Day, is a celebration of the entire college, put on once a year by the DCGA.[53]

Traditions and folklore

Though Denison University is not religiously affiliated, there is a substantial presence of religious life and organizations that adds to the dynamic of the culture on campus. Within religious life, Denison seeks to recognize the college's diversity and strives to create opportunities of inter religious experiences and dialogue in order to promote understanding and acceptance.[52] Some of the larger organizations include Young Life, Denison Christian Community, and Agape Christian Fellowship. Other organizations represent the Catholic, Jewish, Quaker Friends and Muslim traditions, and Wiccan covens are also present on campus. There is a non-denominational space on South quad called "The Open House".

Religious life

Currently, Denison's Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Alpha Kappa Alpha chapters are suspended from official recognition for violations of the Student Code of Conduct, while its Kappa Sigma chapter was restored to good standing at the beginning of the Fall semester of 2014. Additionally, an unrecognized chapter of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) operates at Denison alongside KZ, an unrecognized local fraternity.Sigma Alpha Epsilon was removed from campus following a hazing incident in 2001. The school administration does not extend recognition to these three latter groups, and as such, they are sometimes referred to by the student body as "underground fraternities."[50][51]

The active IFC fraternities are Beta Theta Pi, Delta Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi.[46] The Panhellenic Conference sororities are Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Pi Beta Phi.[47] Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Delta Sigma Theta, and Sigma Gamma Rho operate under the National Pan-Hellenic Council system.[48] The Multicultural Greek Council is host to the chapters of Sigma Lambda Gamma and Phi Iota Alpha, as well as the Associate Chapter of Chi Sigma Tau.[49]

Denison has ten active fraternities and eight sororities. Fewer students are currently participating in fraternity and sorority life than they have historically. In the 1980s, over 60% of the student body belonged to a fraternity or sorority organization. Currently, fraternity/sorority participation by students is about 38%, with more women participating than men. Approximately 24% of undergraduate men are involved in fraternities and about 30% of women are members in a sorority, although student publications have argued that this number is actually significantly higher.[43][44] Fraternities and sororities at Denison are overseen by four ruling bodies: the Interfraternity Council or IFC for fraternities, the National Panhellenic Conference for sororities, the National Pan-Hellenic Council for traditionally African American fraternities and sororities, and the Multicultural Greek Council for traditionally multicultural fraternities and sororities.[45]

Fraternity/sorority life

The campus radio station, WDUB a.k.a. The Doobie, features 24-hour programming and broadcasts both on the airwaves 91.1 FM and online at The station was notably featured in American Eagle stores across the country through the summer of 2009. The Doobie was also ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the best college radio stations in the nation.[42]

The arts are prominent at Denison University. Students can major or minor in theatre, music, visual art, studio art, art history, dance, and cinema. The Denison Independent Theatre Association offers opportunity non-theatre majors to act in shows, often written and directed by students themselves. Films are shown weekly by the Denison Film Society (DFS). Burpee's Seedy Theatrical Company is the oldest collegiate improv group in the nation. It was founded in 1979 and the group's most famous alum is actor Steve Carrell. There is also a variety of student music ensembles, such as Bluegrass, Blues, and Jazz Ensembles, Gospel Choir, and a cappella groups. There are four a cappella groups on campus: The Denison Hilltoppers, DUwop, Ladies Night Out, and Tehillah. In 2014, the university announced that ETHEL will become their first ensemble-in-residence.[41]

Fine arts

Denison Community Association (DCA) is a volunteer service organization, led by students and entirely student operated. DCA is the umbrella organization for 24 committees that recruit and train Denison students to volunteer at local community sites. Over 70% of students participate in community service during their Denison career.

The Bullsheet is a student-run publication for news, humor and community dialog that is printed daily and delivered to Slayter Hall, William Howard Doane Library, Huffman Dining Hall and Curtis Dining Hall. It was founded in 1980 to combat student apathy, and it remains central to campus culture by providing an open forum for free speech.[40]

Founded in 1857, The Denisonian is the student-run newspaper and oldest student organization on campus and prints ten issues per semester as well as online at[39]

The University Programming Council (UPC) is the main programming body on campus. A fully student operated organization, UPC annually brings in concerts, comedians, hypnotists, lectures and other forms of entertainment to campus. UPC also hosts a number of off-campus trips each year to the Columbus area and beyond. In addition to these events, UPC is well known for its annual events that have become a part of the Denison tradition: Aestavalia (spring festival), Slayter Arcade, and University Gala (Homecoming).

The Denison Campus Governance Association (DCGA) is the Denison student governing body, in which all students are members.[36] The DCGA Student Senate is the primary representative body of students on Denison's campus, and it has been involved in various student initiatives: from postponing quiet hours in the fall of 2007 to drafting the Code of Academic Integrity adopted in the fall of 2009[37] to encouraging the University President to sign onto the Presidents' Climate Commitment.[38] The DCGA Finance Committee is responsible for financially supporting over 100 student clubs and organizations with a budget of over $1,300,000, providing the Denison community with opportunities to participate in athletics, write for several publications, volunteer in the local community, learn about various cultures, and attend well-known speakers, among other endeavors. They hold an annual Denison Day (or "DDay" for short) concert, which has featured artists such as The Roots, Andy Grammer, Ben Folds, RAC, Phillip Phillips, Danny Brown, Rufus Wainwright, Reel Big Fish, Matt and Kim, Hoodie Allen, Mos Def, Jay Sean, and Asher Roth.[1]

Denison University holds over 200 student organizations with more than 600 students in leadership positions.

Chapel Walk during the fall season

Student programs and organizations

Denison is a strictly residential campus that features a mixture of historic and contemporary buildings. Housing options include single, double, triple, and quadruple rooms, as well as suites of six. There are various apartments across campus and several satellite houses for seniors. Most seniors and some juniors live in apartment style housing with their own bathroom, living room and kitchen.

Swasey Observatory (foreground) and Swasey Chapel (background)

Student life

Denison offers three types of degrees: B.A., B.S., and B.F.A. The most popular majors are Economics, Biology, Communication, Psychology, History, and English. Students can create their own major (called an interdepartmental major).

University rankings
Forbes[32] 95
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[33] 51[34]
Washington Monthly[35] 69


With an endowment of $800 million, the endowment per student ration is $367,509.[1] Some of this money goes towards financial aid. While tuition is $56,850 per year, 97 percent of Denison's student body receive need-based financial aid or merit-based academic scholarships funded by Denison, and many students receive both forms of support.[1] In Kiplinger's "100 Best Values in Private Colleges," Denison is eighth, and is the only Ohio college among the top 30 liberal arts institutions nationally with the lowest average debt following graduation.[1] On average, Denison invests more than $31,000 per student per year.[1]

As of 2015, the university has a 42% acceptance rate.[31] For the Class of 2018, nearly 5,000 applicants applied, 2,328 were accepted and 625 enrolled.[28]

Over the past several years, Denison University has made great strides in attracting a diverse student population. For instance, 20 percent of the current first-year class at Denison is a first-generation college student[1] and 36 percent of this population are multicultural students.[28] This number puts Denison in the company of some of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the country.[28] Along with representatives of the majority of U.S. states and territories, a record nine percent of students in the Class of 2018 also hail from 22 foreign countries with some 80 percent come from outside Ohio.[28] While Denison has been recognized for its diversity in the past,[29] it was cited by The New York Times in 2014 as one of America's "Most Economically Diverse Top Colleges."[30] In that list, Denison is ranked at No. 11 in the list of the nation’s top colleges and universities, just behind such schools as Harvard University (No. 5) and Columbia University (No. 7), and just ahead of Stanford University, Brown University and Williams College (all tied at No. 16). Also included on the Times’ list of the top 100 schools are Ivy League colleges University of Pennsylvania (No. 27), Dartmouth College (No. 28), Cornell University (No. 32), Princeton University (No. 34), and Yale University (No. 41). Kenyon College was the only other Ohio school on the list, ranked at No. 80.[30]

As of the 2014-15 school year, 2,250 students are enrolled at Denison, with a gender distribution of 43 percent male students and 57 percent female students.[2] They come from 50 states, Washington, DC, and 37 countries.[1] A full-time faculty of 226 professors makes the student-to-faculty ratio 10:1.[1]


The campus landscape was designed by architect Arnold W. Brunner and the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, an architect best known for his design of New York City's Central Park.[26] "Greater Denison" was designed based on a layout of quadrangles throughout upper campus, designed to mirror the building functions. This was envisioned to help foster a sense of community among campus groups. The goal behind this plan was to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional for the university on top of a hill. The landscape design was planned to strategically preserve the natural topography, but also allow for logical and symmetrical arrangements of buildings within each quad.[27]

Slayter Union features lounges, a snack bar, bookstore, student mailboxes, a 302-seat auditorium, as well as offices for student organizations.[25]

Swasey Observatory, which opened in June 1910, houses a 9-inch refracting telescope as well as two 8-inch reflecting telescopes.[24]

Built in 1937, Doane Library today houses more than 400,000 books and bound periodicals.[23]

Doane Administration Building (the oldest building on campus) and Burton Morgan are also on academic quad, but they serve administrative purposes. The Bryant Arts Center opened in August 2009. Originally constructed in 1904 as a men's gymnasium (Cleveland Hall), it was later adapted as a student union. It was adapted and developed as the home of the studio/visual art and art history departments. The 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) facility has studios for ceramics, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and digital media. It also features fully electronic classrooms, open gallery spaces, an art history resource room, outdoor performance spaces, a common area for studio art seniors, and independent studios for faculty.[22] Also on the fine arts quad is Doane Dance Building, Ace Morgan Theatre & Arts Building, Burton Music, Cinema MIX Lab, and Burke Performance and Recital Hall.

There are 18 academic buildings on campus. Knapp Hall, built in 1968, houses humanities and social sciences majors such as Black Studies, Sociology/Anthropology, Political Science, and Philosophy. Ebaugh Laboratories is dedicated to chemistry. Fellows Hall houses the foreign language departments, as well as history and international studies. Also in this building is the Center for Off-Campus Study. 50% of Denison students study abroad during their junior year. Samson Talbot Hall is home to the biology department. Higley Hall, which was once called the Doane Life Sciences Building, is home to Denison's two most popular majors: Economics and Communication. This building also contains the John Alford Service Learning Center. Olin Science Hall contains the astronomy, computer science, geosciences, physics, and mathematics majors. Barney-Davis Hall, one of the oldest academic buildings on campus, holds classes for English majors, Environmental Studies majors, and also has the Denison Writing Center (free tutoring on any academic paper).

The first building in the "Greater Denison" plan, Swasey Chapel was built at the center of the campus. The chapel seats 990 and plays host to notable campus events such as baccalaureate services, lectures, concerts, and academic award convocations.[21]

The campus size is about 900 acres (4 km²). This includes a 550-acre (1.4 km²) biological reserve just east of campus, where professors of sciences like geology and biology can hold class.

A view of the Academic Quad from Chapel Walk


While the college's origins were rooted in theological education, Denison University has been a non-sectarian institution since the 1960s.[19] By 1970, the college reached its present size of approximately 2,385 students.[20]

During World War II, Denison was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[18]

In the wake of Shepardson College's incorporation, Denison University made plans for enlargement of its campus. In 1916, the college sought the expertise of the Frederick Law Olmsted & Sons architectural firm, the founder of which had designed Central Park in New York City. The resulting "Olmsted Plan" laid a foundation for expansion that has remained the guiding aesthetic for subsequent growth, establishing and maintaining a pedestrian-friendly campus, while also preserving scenic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Expansion during this period included the acquisition of land to the north and east, the relocation of Shepardson College to the east ridge of College Hill, and the development of a new men's quadrangle beyond the library.[17]

In 1887, Denison inaugurated a master's program, with resident graduates pursuing advanced studies in the sciences.[14] Within a few years, the institution considered offering graduate programs on the doctoral level.[15] In 1926, the Board of Trustees formalized a new curriculum that would make Denison University an exclusively undergraduate institution.[16]

Shepardson College was incorporated as part of Denison University in 1900, with the two colleges becoming fully consolidated in 1927.[12][13]

The roots of coeducation at Denison University began in December 1832 with the establishment of the Granville Female Seminary, founded by Charles Sawyer a year before Oberlin College launched the first coeducational college in the United States.[8][9] The seminary was superseded by the Young Ladies' Institute, founded in 1859 by Dr. and Mrs. Nathan S. Burton.[10] The Young Ladies' Institute was sold to Reverend Dr. Daniel Shepardson in 1868 and was renamed the Shepardson College for Women in 1886.[11]

In the years leading up to the Civil War, many students and faculty members at Denison University became deeply involved in the anti-slavery movement. Professor Asa Drury, the chair of Greek and Latin studies, became the leader of a local anti-slavery society. Bancroft House, now a residential hall, served as a stop on the Underground Railroad for refugee slaves.[6][7]

A view of Swasey Chapel from the west

In 1845, the institution, which at this point was male-only, officially changed its name to Granville College.[4] In 1853, William S. Denison, a Muskingum County farmer, pledged $10,000 toward the college's endowment. Honoring an earlier commitment, the trustees accordingly changed the name of the institution to Denison University. They also voted to move the college to land then available for purchase in the village of Granville.[5]

[4] The school's first Commencement, which graduated three classical scholars, was held in 1840.[4] The first term included 37 students, 27 of whom hailed from Granville; nearly half of these students were under fifteen years of age. The school was more of an academy than a college.[3] While rooted in theological education, the institution offered students the same literary and scientific instruction common to other colleges of the day.[3]

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