Founded in 1867, Lewis & Clark College moved to its present location in Portland's southwest hills in 1942. The 137-acre campus sits on a wooded hilltop just six miles from Portland's dynamic downtown, offering stunning views of snow-covered Mount Hood.
Portland is a very livable city with an excellent public transportation system that includes buses, light-rail, and the Portland Streetcar. In addition, a free Lewis & Clark shuttle runs frequently into the heart of the city and back to campus. The scenic Willamette River bisects Metropolitan Portland, which is home to approximately 2 million people. There are endless things to do in Portland: 10,477 acres of parks; diverse galleries, museums, music groups, and theater and dance companies; and a nationally recognized food scene. The city also offers professional hockey, soccer, and the NBA's Portland Trailblazers. Our students take advantage of the many internship and service opportunities available in the Portland metro area.
Just 50 miles east of campus rises Mount Hood with its 10-month-a-year skiing and snow-boarding. The rugged Oregon coastline is just 90 miles to the west. Throughout the state lie innumerable hiking, climbing, and backpacking opportunities.
Campus Facilities & Equipment
Located on Palatine Hill on a former estate, Lewis & Clark offers students a campus of unmatched physical beauty, along with academic and residential buildings designed to support a rigorous academic environment and strong sense of community.
The academic buildings include: the Aubrey R. Watzek library, which is open 24 hours on weekdays during the school year and houses over 740,000 items including books, documents, audiovisual materials, microforms, and periodicals. Through the Summit catalog, access to approximately 28 million items from 37 member institutions in the Pacific Northwest. Watzek library also houses the most extensive collection of printed materials known to exist on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Evans Music Center, which includes a 410-seat recital hall equipped with an orchestra pit and stage elevator, 22 practice rooms, 43 pianos, two harpsichords, four pipe organs including an 85-rank Casavant pipe organ, a Baroque organ, Javanese gamelan, and an electronic music studio with CD production capability; Fir Acres Theatre, which houses a 225-seat Main Stage performance/teaching theatre and a black-box experimental theatre (also used as dance studio) along with a scene shop, costume room, green room and design lab; the Olin Center (physics and chemistry), the Biology-Psychology building, and BoDine (mathematical sciences), which all house well-equipped classrooms and extensive laboratory spaces for our natural sciences. Among our notable science facilities are a scanning electron microscope, a molecular modeling lab, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, a high-pressure liquid chromatograph, 300 MHz FTNRM spectrometer, inert spectrophotometers, infrared spectrometers, observatory with Newtonian and solar telescopes, computer-enhanced optical microscope, a solid-state physics lab with variable temperature cryostat and superconducting magnet, a lab for studying the biomechanics of animal locomotion, an astrophysics lab and a lab for studying parallel computing. Nearby Tryon Creek State Park and the Columbia River Gorge are frequently used as laboratories for field courses in biology and geology.
Among other academic buildings are the Fields Center, which includes studio facilities for drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, computer graphics, graphic design, and photography; the Miller Center and Howard Hall are home to the humanities and social sciences with state-of-the-art classrooms, small auditoriums, and the Keck Interactive Language Lab.
Computer facilities include several public computer labs around campus available for student use. These labs house more than 130 Macintosh and Microsoft Windows computers, along with peripherals such as scanners, color and black & white laser printer, and digital video editing equipment. Other equipment including digital still and video cameras, digital audio recorders and more are available for checkout. All residence halls have wireless capability. The institution has an 800 Mbps (Megabits per second) connection to the internet.
Overseas and off-campus study programs have been a big part of Lewis & Clark for more than 50 years. Each year, about 300 students participate in approximately 30 programs abroad and in selected areas of the United States. During the next few years, programs will be offered in the Arizona borderlands, Australia, Chile, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Africa, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Morocco, New York, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Senegal, Spain, Swaziland, Vietnam and Washington, D.C.
Whether their off-campus study is domestic or abroad, students earn credit (equivalent to a full semester or year) for their academic work. Depending on the specific program content, it is possible to earn General Education and/or major credit during these programs. Typically, over 50% of students participate in one of these programs prior to graduating from Lewis & Clark. Students can use Lewis & Clark's financial aid and scholarships for assistance in these programs.
Student Organizations & Activities
With over 50 student organizations, there's never a lack of things to do at Lewis & Clark. Cultural events include lectures, symposia, art exhibits, plays, musical events, and dance performances. Athletics play an important role on campus, where 19 varsity teams, 14 club teams, and numerous intramural sports keep students physically active. Nature-lovers will enjoy the College Outdoors program, which offers activities such as hiking, backpacking, rafting, skiing, and kayaking in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. There are also plenty of opportunities for volunteering in and around the Portland area.
Lewis & Clark is committed to residential education, to creating a community dedicated to the exploration of ideas, values, beliefs and backgrounds, to the discovery of lifelong friendships; and to collaboration, both formal and informal, with peers, faculty, and staff. There is no Greek system at Lewis & Clark.
About 65 percent of undergraduates live on campus in residence halls; most of our residential space is co-ed. Along with personal living space (usually shared by two to four students) are several community venues within the residence halls, including coffee houses, convenience stores, art centers, outdoor basketball courts, recreation and fitness centers, lounges, and game rooms. A variety of themed communities within the residence halls are also available (visual and performing arts, multicultural engagement, outdoor pursuits, environmental action, holistic wellness, global village).
Life is full, and friends are plentiful at Lewis & Clark. “It’s beautiful, small, and an overall friendly place with students who really take education seriously.” Community supported agriculture (CSA) is taken seriously here, too. “Many are very concerned about living a healthy and sustainable life style” and are “very active gardeners and composters.” The small campus is “beautiful and enjoyable to study and live in.” “It feels intimate without feeling claustrophobic.” When the weather is nice, “People try to find every excuse to be outside.” “They generally enjoy hiking, skiing, camping, and many other activities that bring them closer to nature.” Although partying exists, it is not at the forefront here. “Parties are frequent, but hardly out of control.” “A lot of students are involved in student-run organizations such as a cappella, theatrical improv, open mic nights, and their own bands. Many people are advocates, and lots of students give significant amounts of their time to assist their communities.” With Portland easily accessible using the school’s “free shuttle that goes from campus to downtown,” escaping campus is “extremely easy.” “There are so many fun things to do downtown—concerts, coffee shops, restaurants, and a ton of funky antique shops that are perfect to explore on a nice day. The Pearl District, Hawthorne Boulevard, and of course the Saturday Market are all fun places to go check out.” Athletics are popular at Lewis & Clark, and students speak proudly of their teams. Although some students point out of lack of fans cheering them on at games and meets, one classmate puts it into perspective. “L&C was one of the only colleges to really support me being [a part] of the athletic department as a varsity basketball player and the music department as a classical double bass player. I didn’t want to go to a college that would force me to choose between my two passions. L&C has allowed me to grow as an athlete, musician, and as a student; not a lot of colleges can do that.”