Wellesley College

Infobox University
name = Wellesley College

image_size =151px
motto = Non Ministrari sed Ministrare
mottoeng = Not to be ministered unto, but to minister
established = Chartered in 1870; Opened doors in 1875
type = Private
president = H. Kim Bottomly
city = Wellesley
state = Massachusetts
country = USA
campus = Suburban, 450+ acres
undergrad = Approximately 2,300
postgrad_label =
postgrad =
faculty = 347 full- and part-time faculty
mascot = Blue
free_label = Endowment
free = $1.657 billion (June 2007)
website = [http://www.wellesley.edu/ wellesley.edu]

Wellesley College is a women's liberal arts college, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, that opened in 1875, founded by Henry Fowle Durant and his wife Pauline Fowle Durant. Today, the mission of the college is to "provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world." The college's motto, "Non Ministrari sed Ministrare" (not to be ministered unto but to minister), reflects this purpose. According to the 2009 "U.S. News and World Report" rankings, Wellesley College is the #4 liberal arts college in the United States behind Williams, Amherst and Swarthmore.


Situated in Wellesley, Massachusetts (12 miles west of Boston), Wellesley College grants four-year baccalaureate degrees and is one of the original Seven Sisters. Approximately 2,300 students attend this highly selective school. Based on rankings by "U.S. News & World Report", Wellesley consistently ranks among the top five liberal arts colleges in the United States, and is the highest ranking women's college in this category.

The current president of Wellesley College is H. Kim Bottomly, formerly of Yale University [http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Releases/2007/051007.html] . The previous president was Diana Chapman Walsh, class of 1966.

According to [http://www.wellesley.edu/admission/about/academic.html admissions literature] , classes at Wellesley range from 12 to 24 students in size, and there are approximately 9 students for every faculty member. Wellesley's libraries contain over 1.5 million catalogued books, journals, media recordings, maps, and other items.

As of June 30, 2007, the endowment for the college was about $1.67 billion. Wellesley has a generous financial aid policy and is one of the most socioeconomically diverse colleges in the country.Fact|date=August 2008 Fifty-five percent of all students receive financial aid.Fact|date=August 2008 [http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Releases/2008/020808.html In February 2008, the College eliminated loans] for students from families with incomes under $60,000 (and for international students and Davis Scholars) and lowered loans by a third (to a maximum of $8,600 total over 4 years) to students from families with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000. The maximum loan level for other students on aid is $12,825 total for 4 years. Wellesley is one of only a few colleges or universities to meet 100% of a student's demonstrated financial need. [ [http://www.wellesley.edu/sfs/UnderstandingFinAid.html Understanding Financial Aid ] ]

Wellesley's last fundraising campaign, in 2005, set a record for liberal arts colleges with a total of $472.3 million, 18.1% more than the goal of $400 million.Fact|date=August 2008 According to data compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wellesley’s campaign total is the largest of any liberal arts college.Fact|date=August 2008

The college also has a special program for non-traditionally aged women, called Davis Scholars. [ [http://www.wellesley.edu/NSP/davisProgram.html Wellesley College, Nontraditional Student Website: Davis Degree Program ] ] The program allows women who, for various reasons, were unable to start or complete a bachelor's degree, to attend Wellesley.

The college is renowned for the picturesque beauty of its 500 acre (2 km²) campus which includes Lake Waban, evergreen and deciduous woodlands and open meadows. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Boston's preeminent landscape architect at the beginning of the 20th century, described Wellesley's landscape as "not merely beautiful, but with a marked individual character not represented so far as I know on the ground of any other college in the country."Fact|date=August 2008

Wellesley and MIT were the two primary institutions Benson Snyder studied in "The Hidden Curriculum" (1970), in which he concludes that a mass of unstated requirements and expectations thwarts students' ability to think creatively or develop independently.

For a long time, Wellesley has produced more women in top positions in Corporate America than any other college or university, according to an article in the New York Times in 1995 (see reference below). They included Lois Juliber, then at Colgate, Marion O. Sandler, then at Golden West Financial, Ellen Marram, then at Seagram's Beverage Group, and Donna Ecton, then at Business Mail Express. Sheila Wellington was, at the time, president of Catalyst, the women's advocacy and research group.


Founded by Henry and Pauline Fowle Durant, the charter for Wellesley College was signed on March 17, 1870 by Massachusetts Governor William Claflin. The original name of the College was the Wellesley Female Seminary, and the renaming to Wellesley College was approved by the Massachusetts legislature on March 7, 1873. Opening day was September 8, 1875.

The first president was Ada Howard. There have been twelve subsequent presidents: Alice Elvira Freeman Palmer, Helen Almira Shafer, Julia Josephine Thomas Irvine, Caroline Hazard, Ellen Fitz Pendleton, Mildred H. McAfee (later Mildred McAfee Horton), Margaret Clapp, Ruth M. Adams, Barbara Wayne Newell, Nannerl Overholser Keohane (later the president of Duke University from 1993-2004), Diana Chapman Walsh and H. Kim Bottomly.

The original architecture of the College consisted of one very large building, College Hall, which was approximately 150 meters in length, and up to five stories in height. Until 1914, it was both a principal academic building and a principal residential building. On March 17, 1914 College Hall was destroyed by fire. The precise cause of the fire was never officially established. The fire was first noticed by students who lived on the fourth floor near the zoology laboratory. It has been suggested that an electrical or chemical accident in this laboratory- specifically, an electrical incubator used in the breeding of beetles- triggered the fire. A group of residence halls, known as the Tower Court complex, are located on top of the hill where the old College Hall once stood. Wellesley is also home to Green Hall, the only building bearing the name of famed miser Hetty Green; Galen L. Stone Tower, in which a 32-bell Carillon is housed, is part of the building.

Wellesley's campus is uniquely site specific. After a visit in 1902, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. wrote: "I must admit that the exceedingly intricate and complex topography and the peculiarly scattered arrangement of most of the buildings somewhat baffled me." [ [http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2005/11/13/center_of_attention_on_a_centerless_campus/ Campbell, Robert, "Center of Attention on a Centerless Campus," Boston Globe, November 2005] ] The original master plan for Wellesley's campus landscape was developed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Arthur Shurcliff, and Ralph Adams Cram in 1921. This landscape-based concept represented a break from the architecturally-defined courtyard and quadrangle campus arrangement that was typical of American campuses at the time. The convert|720|acre|km2|sing=on site's glaciated topography, a series of meadows, and native plant communities shaped the original layout of the campus, resulting in a campus architecture that is integrated into its landscape. The most recent master plan for Wellesley College was completed in 1998 by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA). According to the designers, this plan was intended to restore and recapture the original landscape character of the campus that had been partially lost as the campus evolved through the twentieth century.

Student life

Wellesley's 2,400 students come from more than 62 countries and every U.S. state.

Nearly all students live on campus in one of the 21 residence halls. Some cooperative housing is available. Wellesley offers housing for Davis Scholars as well [http://www.wellesley.edu/NSP/] , though not for their children or spouses, which is an issue of constant debate on campus [http://chronicle.com/free/v52/i38/38a04001.htm] .A June 03 2008 article in "The New York Times" discussed the move by women's colleges in the United States to promote their schools in the Middle East. The article noted that in doing so, the schools promote the work of graduates of women's colleges such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Emily Dickinson, Diane Sawyer, Katharine Hepburn and Madeleine K. Albright. The Dean of Admissions of Bryn Mawr College noted, "We still prepare a disproportionate number of women scientists [...] We’re really about the empowerment of women and enabling women to get a top-notch education." [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/03/education/03sisters.html ‘Sisters’ Colleges See a Bounty in the Middle East] ]

For more than 30 years, Wellesley has had a cross-registration program with MIT. In recent years, cross-registration opportunities have expanded to include nearby Babson College, Brandeis University, and Olin College of Engineering. To facilitate cross-registration, the College operates a bus -- the Wellesley College Senate Bus -- to the MIT and Harvard campuses in Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as a bus to the Olin College campus in Needham, Massachusetts.

The College has approximately 180 student organizations, ranging from cultural and political organizations to community service, campus radio, and club sports.


As is the case with many colleges, especially the Seven Sisters, Wellesley College has many traditions. Each new fall semester is marked by a non-denominational service known as Flower Sunday. Upperclasswomen are matched up with first-years who become their "little sisters." On the morning of Flower Sunday, the older students give their little sisters flowers before the service. The big sisters often become friends to their little sisters. While the service itself has changed over the years, today it consists of speeches made by the college president and deans, recitation of poetry, and several songs by the Wellesley College Choir. Additionally, student representatives from each of the many religious groups present a short reading from their faith.

Hoop rolling is also a highly competitive annual tradition at the college dating back to 1895 [Rachel Goldstein Wins Wellesley's 113th Annual Hoop Rolling Contest. http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Releases/2008/042608a.html] . Each upperclasswoman has a wooden hoop, often passed down to her from her “big sister.” Before graduation, the seniors, wearing their graduation robes, run a short race while rolling their hoops. The winner of the race is said to be the first woman in her class to achieve success however she defines it, though this title has itself changed over the years. She is also awarded flowers by the college president and tossed into Lake Waban. The tossing of the winner into the lake began several decades ago when a Harvard University male, dressed as a Wellesley student, won the race. When, upon his victory, it was discovered that he wasn’t a Wellesley student, he was thrown into the lake. The night before the race, many “little sisters” will camp out on the racecourse near the Library to save a good starting position for their “big sisters.”

Some other traditions include step-singing, dorm and class crew races, Lake Day, and Marathon Monday. Each graduation class plants a tree during their sophomore year. Class trees, as they are called, can be found all over the campus, marked with each class’ year on a stone at the trees’ base.

Wellesley College’s crew team is known to be the first female collegiate crew team in the country. While today the team itself is a NCAA varsity sport, crew is widely experienced by many students by their participation in dorm and class crew regattas.

Step-singing is one of the college’s oldest traditions and occurs multiple times throughout the year. Each graduation class has their own color (purple, red, green, or yellow). Students dress in their class' color and sing songs on the steps of the chapel. In-between some of the songs, the classes shout cheers that make fun of the other classes.

Each fall, on a date that is not announced until the night before, students celebrate Lake Day. The event consists of fun outdoor activities ranging from fried-dough stands to moonwalks and is deejayed by the college radio station, WZLY.

One of the most popular traditions is the celebration of Marathon Monday which occurs on Patriots Day each spring, and is highlighted by the Boston Marathon. The marathon course passes the college, which marks its halfway point. Students line up along the street with posters and cheer for the runners. Since they are so loud, the students have created what is widely known as the “Wellesley Scream Tunnel.”

Since 1970 three alumnae are honored at the Alumnae Achievement Awards every February for outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

Wellesley in popular culture


* In John Irving's novel "The World According to Garp", the protagonist's mother, Jenny Fields, attended Wellesley but dropped out in an act of rebellion against her upper-class parents.
* In Francisco Goldman's novel "The Long Night of White Chickens", the character Flor de Mayo Puac, a Guatemalan orphan who is adopted by a Jewish/Guatemalan family living in Massachusetts, graduates from Wellesley.
*It's allegedly the inspiration for Beardsley Women's College in Vladimir Nabokov's novel "Lolita".Fact|date=March 2007
*In Flannery O'Conner's short story "Revelation", Mary Grace is a student of Wellesley College.
*In Rishi Reddi's short story collection, entitled "Karma and Other Short Stories," a character has her heart broken while walking around Lake Waban of Wellesley College.
*In J.D. Salinger's short story "The Laughing Man," Mary Hudson attends Wellesley College.


* Wellesley is the college in which the 2003 film "Mona Lisa Smile" was set; some of the outdoor scenes were filmed on campus.
* Mentioned in the movie "Girl, Interrupted" as the school Winona Ryder's character's former classmate will be attending instead of Radcliffe.
* Mentioned in the movie "Slap Her, She's French" in which a full ride to Wellesley College for a broadcasting major is offered to the competing contestants
* Sigourney Weaver's character in the movie "Working Girl", Katherine Parker, is a graduate of Wellesley.
* Kim Novak's character (a witch) from the 1958 film "Bell, Book and Candle" claimed to be responsible for the "terrible thunder-storms" at Wellesley College while Gillian Holroyd and Merle Kittridge were students.
* The school is also mentioned in the film "Wonder Boys" by the father in law of Professor Grady Tripp.


* The character of Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen) on ABC's "Boston Legal" [http://abc.go.com/primetime/bostonlegal/] is a Wellesley alumna.
* Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) on ABC's Grey's Anatomy is a Wellesley alumna.
* Mia Mason (Lucy Liu) on ABC's Cashmere Mafia is a Wellesley alumna.
* "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can": an episode of "The Simpsons" where Lisa Simpson is tempted by the Siren-like representatives of the Seven Sisters (and George Plimpton), who offer a free ride to the Sister school of her choice (and a George Plimpton hot plate) if she will throw a Spelling Bee [http://www.electrictao.net/archives/000007.shtml] .
* "Little Big Girl": an episode of "The Simpsons" where Lisa's reflection tells her that she should lie about her heritage if she ever wants to go to Wellesley.
* On "Designing Women", Julia Sugarbaker's (Dixie Carter) cousin, Allison (Julia Duffy) was said to have attended Wellesley.
* In The Story on Page One on the animated FOX sitcom Family Guy, Meg Griffin said that she used to want to attend Wellesley, but that her mother told her she might as well buy some hiking boots and declare herself a lesbian right now.
* An episode of Saturday Night Live had a story on Weekend Update about ferrets being released from captivity in Spain. The punchline to the story goes as follows: "If you want to know how much free fur that is, visit Wellesley College on a Friday night!"
* The character of Phyllis Kroll (Cybill Shepherd), a university chancellor on Showtime's The L Word, attended Wellesley. [http://www.afterellen.com/TV/thelword/recaps/4/12?page=0%2C3]
* The character of Beth Totenbag on PBS's "Click and Clack's As the Wrench Turns" is a Wellesley alumna.


Wellesley is the site of the Exploration Summer Programs' Intermediate Program.

Notable alumnae and faculty

A number of Wellesley alumnae have gone on to become notable in their respective fields. For example:
* Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Senator from New York, First Lady of the United States from 1993-2001, and 2008 presidential candidate.
* Madeleine Albright, first female United States Secretary of State, under the Clinton Administration.
* Laura Allen, television actress with roles on All My Children and "Dirt. In 2003, she appeared with Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile.
*Harriet Adams (1893-1982), author of some 200 books, including nearly 50 in the "Nancy Drew" series. [Chira, Susan. [http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F10C14F83F5D0C7A8EDDAA0894DA484D81 "HARRIET ADAMS DIES; NANCY DREW AUTHOR WROTE 200 NOVELS"] , "The New York Times", March 29, 1982. Accessed October 7, 2007. "Mrs. Adams was born in Newark, and was graduated from Wellesley College in 1914."]
* Katherine Lee Bates, author of the words to the anthem "America the Beautiful".
* Carolina Barco, Colombia's ambassador to the United States.
* Emilie Benes Brzezinski, sculptor
* Dr. Sharmila Bhattacharya, scientist, head of the Biomodel Performance and Behavior laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center
* Annie Jump Cannon, astronomer whose cataloguing work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification.
* Jane Matilda Bolin, the first African-American woman to graduate from Yale Law School, the first to join the New York City Bar Association, and the first to join the city's law department. She became the first black woman to serve as a judge in the United States.
* Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, business news General Assignment Reporter for CNBCtelevision
* Madame Chiang Kai-shek (1897-2003), former First Lady of the Republic of China.
* Robin Chase, entrepreneur, founder of ZipCar
* Persis Drell, physicist
* Nora Ephron, screenwriter, film producer, and novelist. Best known for her romantic comedies.
* Susan Estrich, President/Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Law Review, law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, campaign manager for 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, professor at Harvard and USC law schools.
* Frances D. Fergusson, former president of Vassar College (1986-2006).
* Henrietta H. Fore, is the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and director of U.S. Foreign Assistance.
* Cynthia Glassman, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
* Susan P. Graber, a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
* Amalya Lyle Kearse, judge, United States Court of Appeals Second Circuit, 5 time U.S. Champion Bridge player
* Nannerl Overholser Keohane, President of Wellesley (1981-1992) and Duke University (1993-2004)
* Judith Krantz, novelist best known for writing "Princess Daisy" and "Til We Meet Again".
* Mary Lefkowitz, noted Classics Scholar
* Sandra Lea Lynch, chief judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is the first and to date only woman to serve on that Court, and on June 16, 2008, became its first female chief judge.
* Ali MacGraw, actress.
* Alice Tepper Marlin President and CEO of Social Accountability International (SAI)
* Judith Martin, better known by the pen name Miss Manners, an American journalist, author, and etiquette authority.
* Martha McClintock, Psychologist. Discovered the existence of human pheromones and menstrual synchrony.
* Pamela Ann Melroy, NASA Astronaut.
* Nayantara Pandit Sahgal, Acclaimed Writer
* Anne Patterson, U.S Ambassador to Pakistan (2007)
* Dr. Vivian Pinn, Director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health [ [http://orwh.od.nih.gov/about/staff.html ORWH Staff ] ]
* Reena Raggi, federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
* Diane Ravitch, former United States Assistant Secretary of Education who is now a research professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education.
* Eleanor Raymond, architect who built and designed the first occupied, solar-powered house in the United States.
* Cokie Roberts, journalist
* Vanessa Ruiz, Associate Judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest court in the District of Columbia.
* [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathilde_Laigle Mathilde Laigle] , french historian.
* Marion K. Sanders, journalist, editor, author
* Mildred Savage, writer, novelist
* Diane Sawyer, journalist.
* Lynn Sherr, broadcast journalist on ABC's 20/20
* Elisabeth Shue, actress.
* Natalie Sleeth, composer.
* Sarah Warn, American writer and the Editor-in-Chief of entertainment website AfterEllen.com.

* Linda Wertheimer, radio journalist for National Public Radio
* Bing Xin, writer, novelist
* Patricia Zipprodt, Tony Award-winning costume designer

Notable former faculty members include Tom Lehrer, Vladimir Nabokov, Richard Rorty, Jorge Guillén, David Ferry,Emily Greene Balch and Alice Walker.

External links

* [http://www.wellesley.edu Wellesley College official web site]


*cite book | author=Converse, Florence | title=The Story of Wellesley] | location=Boston | publisher=Little, Brown, and Company | year=1915 [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2362 (Project Gutenberg E Text)]
*cite book | author=Glasscock, Jean et al. (Eds.) | title=Wellesley College 1875-1975: A Century of Women | location=Wellesley, MA | publisher=Wellesley College | year=1975
*cite book | author=Hackett, Alice Payne | title=Wellesley: Part of the American Story | location=New York | publisher=E.P. Dutton & Co | year = 1949
* Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. " [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0870238698&id=Z3qWLyDZ8PsC&pg=PP1&lpg=PP1&ots=xMmu_yuuHV&dq=alma+mater&sig=N7RcPpZKbQvPM1m5ohSuIcu_KxU#PPP1,M1 Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s] ," Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993 (2nd edition).
*cite book | author=Kingsley, Florence Morse | title=The Life of Henry Fowle Durant | location=New York | publisher=The Century Co | year=1924
*cite web | title=Wellesley College Public Information | work=Wellesley College | url=http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Media/facts.html | accessmonthday=April 16 | accessyear=2005
* How to Succeed? Go to Wellesley by Judith H. Dobrzynski, The New York Times, Oct. 29, 1995

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