Gettysburg College celebrates 177 years on Founders Day April 7

Gettysburg College's founder Samuel Simon Schmucker's belief in the value of an institution dedicated to "advance the cause of liberal education" resulted in the granting of the College's charter 177 years ago.

It was an extraordinary achievement. The new college joined a small league of 66 colleges and universities in existence in the country in 1832. There were fewer than 6,000 students enrolled in college and only about 20 institutions had enrollments exceeding 100 students.

Then known as Pennsylvania College, it was one of only three financially viable colleges chartered to award degrees in the state. On November 6, 1832, the day before classes began at the new college, the Adams Sentinel reported: "the number of students with which the Institution goes into operation is highly respectable." The first commencement was held in September 1834, and except for 1836 when there were no graduates, the College has graduated a class every year since.

Please join me in celebrating our rich history this Founders Day, and visit campus soon to see how we continue to deliver on our promise to prepare students to lead energetic, engaged, and enlightened lives.


Janet Morgan Riggs '77



Posted: Mon, 6 Apr 2009




Related Stories


Get all the latest news delivered to your inbox or RSS reader:

  • News - profiles, event coverage, campus updates
  • Athletics - scores and highlights
  • In the Media - faculty, alumni and students featured in the media
  • Photo of the Day - images from campus and the community

Submit a story idea

The Office of Communications and Marketing is looking for stories about Gettysburgians doing great work.

Send your suggestions to