Wilson College Votes to Become a Coeducational Institution

Wilson College Votes to Become a Coeducational Institution
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    The number of single-sex colleges are in decline, considered by some as an anachronism of an era when the genders were taught separately.


Women-only colleges in particular were once part of the higher education landscape, but these schools have been going coeducational or merging with other colleges in a bid to stay afloat.

Presbyterian College

Wilson College of Chambersburg, Penn., is one such single-sex institution, a women-only college founded in 1869 by two Presbyterian ministers. The college was named for Sarah Wilson whose financial contributions enabled the school to get started in 1869. Its rural 300-acre campus includes land that was traversed during the Civil War. Indeed, its present Norland Hall was once a private home that was damaged during that conflict.

This weekend, the Wilson College Board of Trustees convened to examine ways that it could breathe fresh life into the college. With a desire to bolster the college’s bottom line and offer new programs, the trustees voted in favor a proposal to make the 695-student college fully coeducational for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Male Students

Male students have been educated at Wilson College since the end of World War II through its adult degree program. About 1 in 9 of its current students are male, commuter students that will be eligible for regular admission in Fall 2013. Beginning in Fall 2014, male students will be allowed to live on campus.

To help the college make its historic transition, the trustees have set up an implementation committee of 23 people including students, faculty, staff and alumnae. The committee will offer recommendations to help increase enrollment and to assist the college during its transformation.

College Transition

Specifically, the committee will make recommendations with an eye for strengthen the student learning experience, providing distinct and innovative programs, developing a framework to help the college’s financial position for the long-term, upgrading the college’s reputation and visibility, and enhancing the current facilities.

Said Wilson College President Barbara K. Mistick, “I applaud the board for its bold actions in the best interests of Wilson College. We’ve known from the start that there would be no single solution to transform the college and to achieve financial sustainability — that it would take a comprehensive plan to assure success. I am confident that this plan is the right mix of initiatives to help Wilson grow and remain a vibrant institution that will not only provide students with a high-quality education, but also benefit the entire community.”

College Recognition

Although Wilson College may be relatively unknown outside of its region, the school has received recognition from U.S. News and World Reports for providing a “best value” education for 11 consecutive years. The college ranked fifth in 2012 among like colleges according to U.S. News. The magazine also reports that 86.8 percent of its needs-based students received financial support in 2012.


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Categories: Campus News