Located in Chestertown, Md., our 120-acre campus breathes history, natural beauty, and rural charm, yet it's only 75 miles from the urban hubs of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. This proximity brings our students a wealth of distinguished speakers, intern opportunities, institutional partnerships, and other occasions for academic and cultural enrichment. That said, we also take full advantage of our setting in a historic river town close by the Chesapeake Bay. The Eastern Shore becomes an extension of the campus-a learning laboratory for intellectual, social, and personal growth.
Historic Chestertown is rooted in a strong sense of self and a diverse and creative local character. You'll experience this through events like First Fridays, when downtown reverts once a month to one big street party; the Farmers' Market on Saturdays, loaded with goods showcasing the region's rich agrarian culture; and at venues like the Garfield Center for the Arts in the beautifully restored Prince Theatre.
The Chester River meets the town at the foot of High Street. At its riverfront facility, just blocks from the main campus, the College maintains a variety of vessels that support coursework in underwater archaeology, marine and estuarine biology, environmental chemistry, and environmental studies. The College also supports nationally ranked programs in rowing and sailing.
Campus Facilities & Equipment
Our beautiful campus is a collection of historic redbrick, Georgian-style structures, large shade trees, and brick walkways, seamlessly combined with new and renovated buildings featuring expanses of glass that create modern spaces flooded with light. The oldest buildings, the Hill Dorms, were built in the mid-nineteenth century; the newest, the $2.1 million Johnson Fitness Center, opened in 2013.
The Gibson Center for the Arts, opened in August 2009, is a glittering showcase where students can learn, rehearse, practice, perform, and exhibit their work. The $24 million facility encompasses a main stage, an experimental theater, a music recital hall, and an art gallery, as well as all the latest tools and technology to support professional theater, concerts, and exhibitions.
Opened in fall 2009, Hodson Hall Commons includes the main dining hall, a student lounge, an intimate space for meetings and performances, and several specialty eateries.
The Chester and Sassafras residence halls, completed in Summer 2008, were the first buildings on campus to incorporate geothermal heating and cooling. A major renovation of the campus library in 2012 included a geothermal system along with a new coffee shop and popular group-study rooms.
According to Lacrosse Magazine, our Roy Kirby, Jr. Stadium is among the top ten venues for collegiate lacrosse in the nation. The stadium, completed in 2008, is the only Division III venue to make the cut. In 2009, Athey Park, the College's baseball park, was built to mirror Kirby Stadium.
Advances in technology are incorporated throughout the curriculum, from sequencing DNA in the lab to accessing primary sources for a Shakespeare project via the library's Early English Books Online database. Other examples include the new mass spectrometry lab, used for environmental chemistry, geology, and biology research; side-scan sonar, sub-bottom profilers, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and marine magnetometers to explore below the surface of the Chester River; and eye-scanning and brain-mapping technology the psychology department uses to test cognitive function.
Small Campus, Big Opportunities
With a student body of 1,500 undergraduates, the College remains defiantly, confidently small and celebrates the interaction between student and professor. The average class size is 17 students; only one class in seven will have more than 25 students enrolled. Faculty members reach beyond the classroom to challenge and nurture a student's maturing intellect and creativity with collaborative research, independent and self-directed study, and a rigorous senior "capstone" project.
Washington College offers a growing array of internships and field experiences, including fellowships for the study of American history, internships with theaters and museums and model diplomacy programs. Students can participate in a summer archaeology field school, make investment decisions for the $500,000 Alex. Brown Fund, and work at the College-run research center that studies migrating birds and sustainable land management.
Writing Across the Curriculum
Washington College is recognized for its rich literary arts environment-the Rose O'Neill Literary House hosts a steady stream of significant writers and editors supported by the Sophie Kerr Program, and each year, one graduating senior is awarded the Sophie Kerr Prize, the largest undergraduate literary award in the world. (The 2013 winner took home $61,000.) The College is committed to helping all students become better writers, no matter what major they pursue. Writing-intensive courses help students cultivate proficiency in the language arts, as well as stay up-to-date with ever-evolving information technologies
Student Organizations & Activities
We cherish our residential tradition because it brings constant opportunities for academic, social, and personal growth. We may be a small campus, but Washington College supports more than 80 clubs, from the nationally recognized Habitat for Humanity Club to wakeboarding, sailing, and entrepreneurial activism through Enactus.
A Division III member of the NCAA, the College fields 17 intercollegiate teams that compete in the Centennial Conference. About 25% of students are varsity athletes, while 60% of students participate in sports including clubs and intramurals. The Student Events Board creates a variety of activities that everyone on campus can enjoy, from festivals and quiz nights to the semi-formal George Washington's Birthday Ball. While students reap the benefits of living in one of the best small college towns on the East Coast and the relaxed informality characteristic of the Chesapeake Bay region, they also take advantage of the campus's proximity to Washington, D.C, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
Living at Washington College “is as good as a college experience can get.” “No matter what your interests are there is plenty to do.” Some note that because of “the small-town environment, we have to make our own fun on weekends, but there’s usually something on-campus to make it less of a challenge.” “I personally love the environment and being outdoors. I spend a lot of time kayaking at our boat house on the Chester River, fishing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and supporting our athletic teams.” “The school’s rather small, so we know almost all of the athletes, so we’re not only supporting a program, we’re supporting our best friends.” On campus, “there are plenty of student-run activities.” When it comes to facilities, “the athletic department is great, and the dining hall is new and wonderful.” For fun, students “often go to plays hosted by the drama department, attend interesting guest lectures, play Wii in the dorm rooms, play Frisbee on the campus green, play pool in the student center, go to movies, or stroll around Chestertown and the waterfront.” We drink in the dorms and suites because almost everyone lives on campus.” Washington College “is located within a rural town; however, we are not completely isolated. We are about forty minutes away from Annapolis.” Students do warn, “Being in a rural town was hard at first.”