Bucknell University

Bucknell University
Former names
University at Lewisburg
Type Private
Established 1846
Endowment $789.4 million (2015)[1]
President John C. Bravman[2][3]
Academic staff
372 (full-time)[4]
Students 3,624
Undergraduates 3,565[5]
Postgraduates 59 [5]
Location Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
40°57′17″N 76°53′01″W / 40.9546°N 76.8836°W / 40.9546; -76.8836Coordinates: 40°57′17″N 76°53′01″W / 40.9546°N 76.8836°W / 40.9546; -76.8836
Campus Rural, 445 acres (180 ha)[6]
Colors Orange and Blue          
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Bison
Website www.bucknell.edu

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college located alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River in the town of Lewisburg, in central Pennsylvania, United States. The university consists of the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, and the College of Engineering. Bucknell was founded in 1846, and features programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, engineering, management, education, and music, as well as programs and pre-professional advising that prepare students for study in law and medicine. It offers nearly 50 majors and over 60 minors.

It is primarily an undergraduate school (with about 3,600 students), and has about 50 graduate students. Students come from all 50 states and from more than 66 countries.[7] Bucknell has nearly 200 student organizations and a large Greek presence. The school's mascot is Bucky the Bison and the school is a member of the Patriot League in NCAA Division I athletics.


Founding & Early Years

Founded in 1846 as the University at Lewisburg, Bucknell traces its origination to a group of Baptists from White Deer Valley Baptist Church who deemed it "desirable that a Literary Institution should be established in Central Pennsylvania, embracing a High School for male pupils, another for females, a College and also a Theological Institution."[8]

The group's efforts for the institution began to crystallize in 1845, when Stephen William Taylor, a professor at Madison University (now Colgate University) in Hamilton, New York, was asked to prepare a charter and act as general agent for the development of the university. The charter for the University at Lewisburg, granted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and approved by the governor on February 5, 1846, carried one stipulation–that $100,000 ($2,638,148 today) be raised before the new institution would be granted full corporate status. More than 4,000 subscribers ultimately contributed, including a small boy who gave 12 cents ($3 today).

In 1846, the "school preparatory to the University" opened in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Lewisburg. Known originally as the Lewisburg High School, it became in 1848 the Academical and Primary Department of the University at Lewisburg.[9]

In 1850, the department moved into the first building completed on campus, now called Taylor Hall. Built for $8,000 ($227,936 today), the building housed both women's and men's studies until the opening of the Female Institute in 1852. While studying together, women were required to face east while men faced west.

The school's first commencement was held on August 20, 1851, for a graduation class of seven men. Among the board members attending was James Buchanan, who would become the 15th President of the United States. Stephen Taylor officiated as his last act before assuming office as president of Madison University. One day earlier, the trustees had elected Howard Malcom as the first president of the university, a post he held for six years.

Female Institute

Bucknell University in the 1870s

Although the Female Institute began instruction in 1852, it wasn’t until 1883 that college courses were opened to women. Bucknell, though, was committed to equal educational opportunities for women.

This commitment was reflected in the words of David Jayne Hill of the Class of 1874, and president of the university from 1879 to 1888: "We need in Pennsylvania, in the geographical centre of the state, a University, not in the German but in the American sense, where every branch of non-professional knowledge can be pursued, regardless of distinction of sex. I have no well-matured plan to announce as to the sexes; but the Principal of the Female Seminary proposes to inaugurate a course for females equal to that pursued at Vassar; the two sexes having equal advantages, though not reciting together."[10]

Within five years of opening, enrollment had grown so sharply that the university built a new hall–Larison Hall–to accommodate the Female Institute. Women could venture into town only in the company of a female teacher who had a minimum of six years’ experience in handling girls.

Benefactor William Bucknell

In 1881, facing dire financial circumstances, the university turned to William Bucknell, a charter member of the board of trustees, for help. His donation of $50,000 ($1,228,103 today) saved the university from ruin. In 1886, in recognition of Bucknell's support of the school, the trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the University at Lewisburg to Bucknell University. Bucknell Hall, the first of several buildings given to the university by Bucknell, was initially a chapel and for more than a half century the site of student theatrical and musical performances. Today, it houses the Stadler Center for Poetry.[11]

Continued Expansion

Bucknell's Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

The 40 years from 1890 until 1930 saw a steady increase in the number of faculty members and students. When the Depression brought a drop in enrollment in 1933, several members of the faculty were "loaned" to found a new institution: Bucknell Junior College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Today, that institution is a four-year university, Wilkes University, independent of Bucknell since 1947.

Significant new construction in the 1970s included the Elaine Langone Center, the Gerhard Fieldhouse, and the Computer Center. During the early 1980s, the capacity of the Bertrand Library was doubled and facilities for engineering were substantially renovated. In 1988, the Weis Center for the Performing Arts was completed.

New facilities for the sciences included the renovation of the Olin Science Building, the construction of the Rooke Chemistry Building in 1990 and the completion of a new Biology Building in 1991. The McDonnell Residence Hall and Weis Music Building were completed in 2000. In addition, the O'Leary Building for Psychology and Geology opened in the fall of 2002 and the new Kenneth Langone Recreational Athletic Center opened during the 2002–03 academic year.The most recent facility, the Breakiron Engineering Building, opened in 2004.[12]

Strategic planning

On April 29, 2006, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved "The Plan for Bucknell," which calls for improvement in five areas: strengthening the academic core curriculum, deepening the residential learning experience, enhancing diversity, building bridges with the local community, and securing Bucknell's financial future.[13]


Miller Run, a stream on Bucknell University's campus

Bucknell has a 450-acre (180 ha) campus comprising more than 100 buildings. New facilities for the sciences included the renovation of the Olin Science Building (which is located across from the Dana Engineering building), the construction of the Rooke Chemistry Building in 1990, and the completion of a new Biology Building in 1991. The McDonnell Residence Hall and Weis Music Building were completed in 2000. In addition, the O'Leary Building for Psychology and Geology opened in the fall of 2002. The Breakiron Engineering Building opened in 2004. Academic West, the newest facility, opened in fall 2013. It added 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) of academic space; 16,200 square feet (1,510 m2) of which are classroom and hearth spaces. Academic West is home to the economics, geography, international relations, Latin American studies, political science, sociology/anthropology, and Environmental Studies Program.[14] The University's first building, Taylor Hall, was constructed in 1848. It currently houses the School of Management.[15]

The Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center was completed in 2003. It and houses a state-of-the-art fitness center, Olympic-size pool, and the 4,000-seat Sojka Pavilion, home of the men's and women's basketball teams and named for Dr. Gary Allan Sojka, a former president of the university who remained at the university after the end of his term as a professor of biology, until his retirement in 2006.

Designed in Georgian colonial style, Rooke Chapel is the setting for campus worship, weddings, and celebrations. Attached to the chapel is a one-story wing which houses the meditation chapel and OCRL offices. The chapel was dedicated on October 25, 1965. The chapel was a gift of the late Robert L. Rooke, an alumnus of the class of 1913 and a member of the University's Board of Trustees. The chapel is named in memory of Mr. Rooke's parents. The main portion of the chapel includes the narthex, sanctuary, chancel area, organ chamber, choir rooms, and balconies that surround the sanctuary on three sides. Approximately 850 persons can be seated in the sanctuary and balconies.[16]

Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium is a 13,100-seat multi-purpose stadium in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Originally built in 1924, the stadium was renovated and renamed in honor of Mathewson in 1989. It is home to the Bucknell University Bison football team and the Lewisburg High School Green Dragons football team. It is named for Christy Mathewson, a Bucknell alumnus who went on to become a Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century.


College of Arts & Sciences

Bucknell offers 44 majors and 70 minors.[17] The College comprises the three traditional liberal arts divisions: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics with over 275 faculty members in 31 departments. Undergraduate research opportunities are available to students in all of the disciplines taught on campus. The overall curriculum of the College is the College Core Curriculum.[18]

The Bucknell Environmental Center (BUEC) sponsored a symposium series on sustainability and the global environment and has major initiatives focused on the art, culture, and ecology of the Susquehanna River basin and the greening of the Bucknell Campus. In April, 2013, Bucknell partnered with nearby Geisinger Health System to create the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI). This facility combines clinical treatment and interdisciplinary research on neurodevelopmental disorders. Bucknell has recently received a Solar Scholars grant and is building an experimental student housing unit that will rely primarily on renewable energy, including photovoltaics.

Forty-five percent of Bucknell students study abroad.[19] The University sponsors semester-long programs in multiple locations.

College of Engineering

Dana Engineering Building

Among American schools that do not offer a Ph.D. in engineering, Bucknell ranks tied for 8th for 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report.[6] The same report ranked the Electrical Engineering program tied for 2nd, the Computer program 3rd, the Civil Engineering program 4th, and the Mechanical Engineering program tied for 7th.[6]

There are two main engineering buildings on the Bucknell University campus. The two buildings are the Charles A. Dana Engineering Building and the Breakiron Engineering Building. Referred to by most students and faculty solely as "Dana" the Charles A. Dana Engineering Building was built in 1940 and expanded in 1985, while the fairly new Breakiron Engineering Building was built in 2003.

School of Management

Students can choose from four tracks, leading to the B.S.B.A. degree: managing for sustainability, markets innovation and design, global management or accounting. Students are admitted to the program as incoming first-year students or through a competitive selection process during the first semester of their sophomore year.

A five-year, dual degree in Engineering and Management is available for engineers with management career goals. Bucknell ranks first among 213 baccalaureate liberal arts colleges for graduates who have earned Ph.D.s in Business and Management.[20]


University rankings
Forbes[21] 49
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[22] 32
Washington Monthly[23] 27

In its 2016 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Bucknell tied for 32nd in the "National Liberal Arts Colleges" category.[6] In 2016, Forbes rated Bucknell 49th in its "America's Best Colleges" list.[24] For 2016, Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Bucknell 40th in terms of "Best Value among Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S.," which took into account academic quality, cost and financial aid measures.[25] It is named one of the "Hidden Ivies", an institution that is claimed to provide an education comparable to that of Ivy League institutions.[26] The Princeton Review included Bucknell in its annual Best Value Colleges for 2012.[27] Bucknell is ranked 18th on Payscale's 2015–2016 list of Top Liberal Arts Colleges by Salary Potential.[28]

On January 26, 2013, Bucknell officials admitted that the SAT scores that they had provided to the public had been inflated by 16 points, on average, between 2006 and 2012. "Enrollment management leadership no longer with the university prepared these inaccurate numbers," school president John Bravman wrote in an email to alumni.[29] As a result of the falsification of data, Forbes penalized Bucknell by removing it from the "America's Top Colleges" list for two years.[30] For the same reason, Kiplinger's Personal Finance removed Bucknell from its 2012 "Best Values in Private Colleges" list.[31]


U.S. News & World Report classifies Bucknell's selectivity as "more selective."[6] For the Class of 2019 (enrolled fall 2015), Bucknell received 10,967 applications and accepted 2,718 (24.8%), with 938 enrolling.[32] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for the enrolled freshmen was 590–680 for critical reading, 620–710 for math, and 590–690 for writing, while the ACT Composite range was 28–32.[32] The average high school Grade Point Average (GPA) of enrolled freshmen was 3.54.[32]

Traditions and symbols

On April 17, 1849, the trustees approved the current Bucknell seal. The seal shows the sun, an open book, and waves. The sun symbolizes the light of knowledge while the book represents education surmounting the storms and "waves" of life.[33] Bucknell's colors are orange and blue, being approved by a committee of students in 1887.[34] The bison is the current mascot of Bucknell University. In 1923, Dr. William Bartol suggested the animal due to Bucknell's location in the Buffalo Valley.[35]

Bucknell Cheer

’Ray Bucknell, ’Ray Bucknell,
’Ray for the Orange and the Blue,
’Ray, ’Ray, ’Ray, ’Ray,
’Ray for the Orange and the Blue.[36]


Main article: Bucknell Bison

Bucknell is a member of the Patriot League for Division I sports, (Division I FCS in football). Bucknell's traditional opponents include Lafayette College, Holy Cross, Lehigh University, Colgate University, and American University.

The Bucknell football team won the first Orange Bowl 26–0, over the Miami Hurricanes on January 1, 1935. Bucknell won the first Division II NCAA swimming and diving championships in 1964. It is also the alma mater of baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson, who requested burial in a cemetery adjoining Bucknell's campus.

In 2005, the men's basketball team went to the NCAA men's basketball tournament and became the first Patriot League team to win an NCAA tournament game, upsetting Kansas (64–63). The victory followed a year that included wins over #7 Pittsburgh and Saint Joseph's. They lost to Wisconsin in the following round but received the honor of "Best Upset" at the 2005 ESPY Awards.[37]

Student life

First-year undergraduates are required to live on campus. The school guarantees on-campus housing for all four years. Some students choose to live off campus after their first year.

The campus is roughly divided into "uphill" and "downhill" areas by a large slope between Moore Avenue and Dent Drive. The uphill area flanks U.S. Route 15 and the West Branch Susquehanna River and features many of the academic buildings, including the main academic quadrangle, the Observatory, and library as well as some dormitories, Christy Mathewson–Memorial Stadium, and Fraternity Road. Downhill borders the Victorian-era neighborhoods of downtown Lewisburg and features mainly residential buildings, including the majority of first-year dormitories, the Gateway apartment complex, the President's house, many of the indoor athletic facilities, and Hunt Hall, home to the school's sororities. Bucknell West, which is separated from the rest of campus by Route 15, features some housing, athletic fields, art and psychology/animal behavior laboratories, and an 18-hole golf course.

All on-campus students must purchase a campus meal plan. There are several dining options on campus for students, including the Bostwick Cafeteria, Bison snack bar, and Terrace Room in the Langone Student Center, and the Library and 7th Street Cafe. In spring 2012, Bucknell unveiled their first food truck, the Flying Bison.[38] The menu includes lunch items and a special late night (Midnight – 3:00 a.m.) menu.[39]

Because of its rural location and lack of nearby large cities (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is located about one hour south), Bucknell may seem fairly isolated. However, its more than 130 student organizations, a historical downtown movie theater, many student performances, and year-end formal ball provide students with a wide array of activities. Downtown Lewisburg is a short walking distance from the campus and features a variety of shops, museums, galleries, and restaurants in addition to old-fashioned gingerbread houses.

Spratt House is the home of the University's Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Bucknell's student newspaper, The Bucknellian, is printed weekly. Its radio station is WVBU-FM.

Bucknell has active religious life involvement on campus. Groups such as Bucknell University Catholic Campus Ministry, Rooke Chapel Congregation, Muslim Students' Association, and Hillel are available to students for spiritual and personal growth.

The university also has a lively Greek life. Students cannot "rush" until the first semester of their sophomore year, but approximately 50 percent of eligible students join the school's 13 fraternities and 9 sororities.

Active Fraternities:

Active Sororities:


Alumni of Bucknell University include world-renowned novelist Philip Roth (class of 1954), actors Ralph Waite (1952) and Edward Herrman (1965), CBS Television CEO Leslie Moonves (1971), longtime New Jersey congressman Rob Andrews (1979), and 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry, Peter Balakian. Notable Bucknell University attendees include National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson.


  1. As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016.
  2. Pennlive.com, Pennsylvania is home to some of nation's highest- paid university leaders, December 7, 2014
  3. Chronicle of HIgher Education, Executive Compensation at Private Colleges, 2012, December 6, 2014.
  4. "Bucknell University Common Data Set 2014–2015, Part I". Bucknell University.
  5. 1 2 "Bucknell University Common Data Set 2014–2015, Part B". Bucknell University.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 "U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings – Bucknell University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  7. "About Bucknell". Bucknell University. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012.
  8. The University's Founding Bucknell University.
  9. The Early Years Bucknell University.
  10. The Female Institute Bucknell University.
  11. "Milestones – Benefactor William Bucknell". Bucknell University.
  12. Continued Expansion Bucknell University.
  13. "The Plan For Bucknell". Bucknell University.
  14. Hughes, Matt. "Academic West opens its doors". Bucknell University. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  15. "School of Management official website". Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  16. Charles M. and Olive S. Rooke Chapel Bucknell University.
  17. "Majors and Minors". Bucknell University. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  18. "About the College of Arts & Sciences". Bucknell University.
  19. "Global & Off-campus Education". Bucknell University. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  20. "Management". Bucknell University. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  21. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  22. "Best Colleges 2017: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  23. "2016 Rankings - National Universities - Liberal Arts". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  24. "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  25. "Kiplinger's Best College Values". Kiplinger. December 2015.
  26. "Ivy League and Similar" (PDF). Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  27. "College Education – Scholarships – Admission". The Princeton Review.
  28. "Payscale – Top Liberal Arts Colleges By Salary Potential". Payscale. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  29. "Bucknell comes clean on inflated SAT scores". The Daily Item. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  30. "America's Top Colleges 2013". Forbes. July 24, 2013.
  31. "Best Values in Private Colleges". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. October 2012.
  32. 1 2 3 "Bucknell University Common Data Set 2015–2016, Part C" (PDF). Bucknell University.
  33. "University Seal". Bucknell University. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
  34. "University Colors". Bucknell University. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
  35. "University Mascot". Bucknell University. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
  36. Bucknell.edu
  37. "2015 ESPYS – Past Award Winners". espn.com/espys. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  38. Ayers, Amanda (April 22, 2012). "Flying Bison soars to campus". The Bucknellian. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  39. "The Flying Bison". Bucknell University. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  40. "Kappa Delta Rho suspended for four years". Bucknell University. January 19, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2009.

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