Portal:Washington & Jefferson College

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Washington & Jefferson College

Washington and Jefferson College seal.svg

Washington & Jefferson College (W&J College or W&J) is a private liberal arts college in Washington, Pennsylvania. The college traces its origin to three log cabin colleges in Washington County established by three Presbyterian missionaries to the American frontier in the 1780s: John McMillan, Thaddeus Dod, and Joseph Smith. These early schools eventually grew into two competing academies, with Jefferson College located in Canonsburg and Washington College located in Washington. The two colleges merged in 1865 to form Washington & Jefferson College. The 60 acre (0.2 km2) campus has more than 40 buildings, with the oldest dating to 1793.

The college's academic emphasis is on the liberal arts and the sciences, with a focus on preparing students for graduate and professional schools. Campus activities include various religious, political, and general interest clubs, as well as academic and professional-themed organizations. The college has a strong history of competing literary societies, dating back before the union of Jefferson and Washington Colleges. Students operate a college radio station, a campus newspaper, and a literary journal. The athletic program competes in NCAA Division III. The football team has been particularly successful over its history, even competing in the 1922 Rose Bowl. A large majority of students participate in intramural athletics. Nearly all students live on campus and roughly one third are members of fraternities or sororities. A number of noteworthy alumni have attended the college or its predecessor institutions, including James G. Blaine, William Holmes McGuffey, Joseph Ruggles Wilson, who was the father of President Woodrow Wilson, and Pete Henry.

Selected article

Justice Nathan Clifford wrote the 1871 United States Supreme Court decision that established the permanent location of Washington & Jefferson College.

The Pennsylvania College Cases, in which Canonsburg supporters of Jefferson College sued Washington & Jefferson College after the consolidation of the college in Washington, Pennsylvania, was an 1871 United States Supreme Court case. The Canonsburg partisans alleged that the consolidation was unconstitutional and had usurped Jefferson College's original 1802 chater. Justice Nathan Clifford (pictured) wrote the opinion, ruling in favor of Washington & Jefferson College, setting the permanent location of the unified college in its current location in Washington, Pennsylvania. (more...)

Selected alumni biography

Joseph Walker
Joseph A. Walker was an American test pilot and a NASA astronaut. In 1963, Walker made two X-15 flights beyond 100 kilometers – the edge of space. These were the only powered spaceplane flights past that threshold until SpaceShipOne in 2004. These flights qualified him as an astronaut under both U.S. Air Force and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale rules. Walker was the first American civilian to enter space and the person to enter space twice.

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Selected image

Intramural "water basketball" contest in the Old Gym pool in 1956
Credit: U. Grant Miller Library Digital Archives
Intramural "water basketball" contest in the Old Gym pool in 1956


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