The College at 175
A Message from the President
Welcome to Gettysburg College's 175th Anniversary web site. Thanks to the vision of those who came before us, the College has grown from a four-room regional school with 23 students to one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges.
Our nation was only 56 years old when the College was formally organized on July 4, 1832. The speaker on that day, Calvin Blythe, former Attorney General of Pennsylvania, asked his audience to remember those who fought at Lexington and Bunker Hill and the principles they stood for. Among those principles was the right to an independent government, formed by mutual consent. Education was key to preserving that right, he argued, particularly a liberal education.
The College's founder-theologian Samuel S. Schmucker-echoed his thoughts, proposing to create a college that "promises to exert a salutary influence in advancing the cause of liberal education." More than most institutions Gettysburg College resonates with the voices of its past. Another of those voices was that of Thaddeus Stevens, who championed a bill to provide funding for the College. Stevens helped shape the debate that resulted in the abolition of slavery. That issue sparked the Civil War whose decisive moment occurred, many argue, at Gettysburg.
Our legacy includes bearing witness to many of our country's defining moments, including President Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address. That collective historic experience has created an institution that is more than just another college campus-it is an iconic setting for learning, evoking the struggle for and triumph of liberty, freedom, and equality. Throughout the years, generations of College leaders have built on that rich legacy. They created programs to emphasize academic engagement and social responsibility, creativity, cultural understanding, intellectual flexibility, and a sense of place. These values are part of our tradition as a liberal arts college - and also part of our future.
Our 175th anniversary creates an opportunity to celebrate this rich heritage, and we invite you to browse our anniversary website often to read "Gettysburg Memories" and to add your own memories of Gettysburg firstname.lastname@example.org to our pages.
Katherine Haley Will