Bates College

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox University2 Bates College is a private liberal arts college in Lewiston, Maine. Bates is nationally recognized for the qualities of the educational experience it provides. Throughout the history of the College, Bates graduates have linked education with extraordinary service, leadership, and obligations beyond themselves. Bates confers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. The College enrolls approximately 1,700 students. Bates is a nonsectarian institution.

Bates is located on a 109 acre traditional New England campus. Primary academic resources on campus include the George and Helen Ladd Library; the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, which holds the papers of the former Maine Governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State and member of the Class of 1936; and the Olin Arts Center, which houses a concert hall and the Bates College Museum of Art. The College also holds access to the 574 acre Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area, in Phippsburg, Maine, which preserves one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the Atlantic coast; and the neighboring Bates College Coastal Center at Shortridge, which includes an eighty-acre woodland and freshwater habitat, scientific field station, and retreat center.



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Hathorn Hall
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Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

Bates was founded in 1855 by people who believed strongly in freedom, civil rights, and the importance of a higher education for all who could benefit from it. Bates has always admitted students without regard to race, religion, or national origin. Although they met with considerable criticism from other regional colleges, the founders held fast to their commitment to admit both men and women: Bates was New England's first coeducational college.

As with many New England institutions, religion played a vital role in the College's founding. The Reverend Oren Burbank Cheney is honored as the founder and first president of Bates. He was a Freewill Baptist minister, a teacher, and a former Maine legislator. Cheney steered through the Maine Legislature a bill creating a corporation for educational purposes initially called the Maine State Seminary, located in Lewiston, Maine's fastest-growing industrial and commercial center.

Cheney assembled a six-person faculty dedicated to teaching the classics and moral philosophy to both men and women. In 1863 he received a collegiate charter, and obtained financial support for an expansion from the city of Lewiston and from Benjamin E. Bates, the Boston financier and manufacturer whose mills dominated the Lewiston riverfront. In 1864 the Maine State Seminary became Bates College. The College consisted of Hathorn and Parker halls and a student body of fewer than 100. By the end of Cheney's tenure, in 1894, the campus had expanded to fifty acres and six buildings.

George Colby Chase, a graduate of the Bates Class of 1869, succeeded Cheney in 1894. Known as "the great builder," Chase oversaw the construction of eleven new buildings on campus, including Coram Library, the Chapel, Chase Hall, Carnegie Science Hall, and Rand Hall. He tripled the number of students and faculty, as well as the endowment.

His successor was Clifton Daggett Gray, a clergyman and former editor of The Standard, a Baptist periodical published in Chicago. Gray saw Bates through an era marked by vibrant growth and modernization, but also through the years of the Great Depression and World War II. On campus, renovations were completed on Libbey Forum and the Hedge Science Laboratory, and the Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building and Alumni Gymnasium were constructed. In the 1940s, when male students abandoned college campuses to enlist in the armed forces, Gray established a V-12 Naval Training Unit on campus, assuring the College talented students - men and women - during wartime. When he retired, in 1944, Gray had increased the student enrollment to more than 700 and doubled the faculty to seventy; the endowment had doubled to $2 million.

Charles Franklin Phillips was a professor at Colgate University and a leading economist before coming to Bates as the College's fourth president. He initiated the Bates Plan of Education, a liberal arts "core" study program. He also directed expansions of campus facilities, including the Memorial Commons, the Health Center, Dana Chemistry Hall, Pettigrew Hall, Treat Gallery, Schaeffer Theatre, and Page Hall. When he retired in 1967, Phillips left a student body of 1,000 and an endowment of $7 million.

Thomas Hedley Reynolds assumed the presidency in 1967. His greatest achievement was the development and support of an extraordinarily talented faculty, which brought Bates recognition as a national college. In addition to recruiting outstanding teacher-scholars, Reynolds championed better faculty pay, an expanded sabbatical leave program, and smaller classes. He also guided the College through a tumultuous period of social change, when students demanded their own voice in College decision making.

Additions to the campus under Reynolds' presidency included the George and Helen Ladd Library, Merrill Gymnasium and the Tarbell Pool, the Olin Arts Center and the Bates College Museum of Art, as well as the conversion of the former women's gymnasium into the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and the acquisition of the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area. Many of the early twentieth-century houses on Frye Street that now accommodate students, a popular alternative to larger residential halls, were also acquired at this time.

Donald West Harward's presidency was distinguished by intellectual rigor, institutional self-examination, and commitment to civic engagement. Harward began his service as sixth president of Bates in 1989. He challenged students and faculty to see how the College's traditional values of egalitarianism, service, and social justice created a moral imperative to connect intellectual life to the world beyond Bates. During Harward's presidency, students received greater opportunities to study off campus with Bates faculty or in College-approved programs. He integrated more fully into student academic and intellectual life the senior thesis, the important capstone experience that has been a part of the Bates curriculum since the early twentieth century but is now a focal point.

Under Harward, Bates for the first time in many years reached out institutionally into the community of Lewiston-Auburn. Bates students and faculty built relationships in the community through one of the most active service-learning programs in the country. Harward helped Bates provide a national model of ways in which colleges and universities can maintain academic excellence and intellectual autonomy while they engage with and support local communities.

More than twenty major academic, residential, and athletic facilities were built during his tenure, including Pettengill Hall, the Residential Village and Benjamin E. Mays Center, and the Bates College Coastal Center at Shortridge.

Elaine Tuttle Hansen became Bates' seventh president in 2002. Her immediate goals included securing resources for financial aid, competitive faculty and staff salaries, increased diversity of the faculty and student body, technological advances, and new curricular initiatives. Central to Hansen's vision is an in-depth master plan, launched as "The Campaign for Bates: Endowing Our Values" in 2004, a process of assessment and strategic forward thinking that will help the College chart a course for many years to come.


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Pettengill Hall

Bates operates on a 4-4-1 schedule: two semesters and a month-long "Short Term." The College offers 24 department majors, eight interdisciplinary program majors, and 24 secondary concentrations. The most popular majors at Bates are economics, psychology, biology, English, political science, history, and environmental studies. The college requires a senior thesis in most majors.

The percentage of Bates students who study off-campus is among the highest in the nation, with 64 percent of the Class of 2004 receiving credit for off-campus study.

Currently, 100 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty members hold the Ph.D. or another terminal degree. Bates students work directly with faculty; the student-faculty ratio is 10:1, and faculty members teach all classes. Nearly 60 percent of class sections, excluding independent studies and senior theses, have fewer than twenty students enrolled.

Eighty-six percent of Bates College seniors or alumni applying to graduate programs in the health professions were accepted for matriculation in the fall of 2003. Bates students and alumni are consistently accepted to the top tier of law schools including Cornell, Duke, Harvard, University of Michigan and New York University. More than 70 percent of recent alumni have earned graduate or professional degrees within ten years of graduation.

Bates is highly ranked in annual rankings published by the Princeton Review, which named Bates the number one "Best Value College" in the United States in 2005. The college is also highly ranked among liberal arts colleges in annual rankings published by U.S. News & World Report * (


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Brendan O'Connell '06

The Bates Bobcats compete in the NCAA Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, which also includes Amherst, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, Williams, and Maine rivals Bowdoin and Colby. The official school color is garnet, though black is traditionally employed as a complement.

Bates fields thirty-one varsity teams, including men's teams in cross country, football, soccer, basketball, squash, Alpine and Nordic skiing, swimming and diving, baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, tennis, track and field, and women's teams in field hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, squash, Alpine and Nordic skiing, swimming and diving, lacrosse, golf, softball, rowing, tennis, track and field.

There are also intercollegiate club teams in ice hockey, rugby, sailing, men's volleyball and water polo. Recent NESCAC champions include men's track and field (2000). The 2004 women's basketball team was ranked the number one NCAA Division III team in the United States for most of February 2005 and finished the year ranked number six by the USA Today/ESPN Today 25 National Coaches' Poll. They lost to University of Southern Maine in the Sweet 16.

The Bates College athletics department was ranked 19th out of 420 in the 2005 NCAA Division III winter rankings.

In addition to outdoor athletic fields, Bates has indoor and outdoor tracks, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, squash courts, an ice hockey rink, a boathouse, several basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, an independent weight room with treadmills and elliptical machines, and a new astroturf field.

Student Life

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Bates College Chapel

The 1,700 students at Bates come from 44 states, Washington, D.C., and 68 foreign countries. The College is recognized for its inclusive social character; there have never been fraternities or sororities at Bates, and student organizations are open to all.

There are nearly 90 student run clubs and organizations at Bates. Some of the most active clubs include the Bates College Outing Club, the nationally ranked Brooks Quimby Debate Council, WRBC Bates Radio and the Bates College Republicans.

The student government, called the Bates College Student Government (BCSG), consists of the Representative Assembly (RA) and the Executive Council (EC).

The Bates Student is the main student newspaper. The John Galt Press is a conservative/libertarian newspaper founded and published at Bates and distributed at a number of other colleges and universities.

Distinguished Alumni

, Class of 1936
Edmund S. Muskie, Class of 1936

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