The material on this page is from the 2001-02 catalog and may be out of date. Please check the current year's catalog for current information.
As a college of the liberal arts and sciences, Bates offers a curriculum and faculty that challenge students to attain intellectual achievements and to develop powers of critical assessment, analysis, expression, aesthetic sensibility, and independent thought. In addition, Bates recognizes that learning is not exclusively restricted to cognitive categories, and that the full range of human experience needs to be encouraged and cultivated. The College expects students to appreciate the discoveries and insights of established traditions of learners as well as to participate in the resolution of what is unknown.
Bates is committed to an open and supportive residential environment. The College's programs are designed to encourage student development and to foster student leadership, service, and creativity. The College sponsors cultural, volunteer, athletic, social, and religious opportunities that are open to all students, and values participation in these activities.
Bates also recognizes that it has responsibilities to the larger community. Where possible and when consistent with its primary responsibilities to its students, faculty, and alumni, the College makes available its educational and cultural resources, its expertise, and its collective energies to professional as well as to regional communities outside the institution.
In their academic work Bates students are encouraged to explore broadly and deeply, to cross disciplines, and to grow as independent thinkers. The College offers forty fields of study (thirty-two as majors) as well as opportunities for guided interdisciplinary study. Bates is one of a small number of colleges and universities requiring a senior thesis to complete most majors. The senior thesis is an unusual opportunity for extended, closely guided research and writing, performance, or studio work. A growing number of students collaborate with faculty in their research during both the academic year and the summer. Each summer more than sixty students receive support from the College to pursue research full time.
Bates has long recognized the special role it plays in providing students with the perspective and opportunities that lead to international service and a vision of world citizenship. In recent years more than 56 percent of each graduating class has participated in a study-abroad experience. Bates ranks seventh in the nation among baccalaureate institutions in the percentage of students who take advantage of opportunities for international study.
Bates is located on a 109-acre traditional New England campus in Lewiston, Maine. Primary academic resources on campus include the George and Helen Ladd Library; the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, which holds the papers of the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, a member of the Class of 1936, and hosts an extensive public affairs series; and the Olin Arts Center, which houses a concert hall and the Bates College Museum of Art. The College also holds access to the 574-acre Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area in Phippsburg, Maine, which preserves one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier beaches on the Atlantic coast, and the neighboring Bates College Coastal Center at Shortridge, which includes an eighty-acre woodland and freshwater habitat, scientific field station, and retreat center.
Bates was founded 146 years ago by people who believed strongly in freedom, civil rights, and the importance of a higher education for all who could benefit from it. Bates was the first coeducational college in New England, admitting students without regard to race, religion, national origin, or sex. Today the approximately 1,650 students on campus come from all fifty states and Puerto Rico, and from sixty-six countries. The College is recognized for its inclusive social character; there have never been fraternities or sororities, and student organizations are open to all.
Bates has a long tradition of recognizing that the privilege of education carries with it responsibility to others. Learning at Bates has always been connected to action, a connection expressed by the extraordinary level of participation by students in service activities and by graduates in their choice of careers and persistence in volunteer activities and community leadership. More than one-third of the faculty routinely incorporates service-learning components into courses, and Bates students are involved in a wide variety of community-based projects with diverse public and private agencies.
Bates is committed to its home community of Lewiston and neighboring Auburn, which together form a small urban center of about sixty-five thousand people. The College and the two cities are involved in an extensive collaboration known as LA Excels, in which leaders from all sectors of Lewiston and Auburn work toward the highest standards in five areas of community life: educational aspirations, economic vitalization, culture and diversity, environment and quality of life, and leadership development. LA Excels promotes selective transformative change based on a shared community vision of excellence.
As with most New England institutions, religion played a vital part in the College's founding. In the mid-nineteenth century, Oren B. Cheney, a minister of the Freewill Baptist denomination, conceived the idea of founding the Maine State Seminary in Lewiston. Within a few years the seminary became a college, and it was Cheney who obtained financial support from Benjamin E. Bates, the Boston manufacturer for whom the College was named.
Oren B. Cheney is now honored as the founder and first president of the College. He was followed in 1894 by George Colby Chase, who led the young institution through a period of growth in building, endowment, and academic recognitiona growth that continued from 1920 to 1944 under President Clifton Daggett Gray, and through 1966 under President Charles Franklin Phillips. Thomas Hedley Reynolds, the College's fifth president, brought Bates national attention by developing a superior faculty and innovative academic programs.
Donald W. Harward, Bates' sixth president, began service to the College in 1989. Under his leadership, Bates has secured its place as one of the nation's finest colleges. By engaging in discussions about the challenges the College faces and planning appropriately, Bates is poised for continued excellence in the new century. These challenges include the information explosion, accelerating fragmentation of knowledge, shifting boundaries of traditional academic disciplines and methodologies, an increasingly collaborative approach to discovery and communication, the challenge of articulating the value of liberal education, and the continued fiscal health of the institution.
Consistent with its purpose of providing the benefits of a small residential college, Bates has limited its admissions and grown slowly, yet it also has pursued an ambitious program of building and equipment acquisition to support teaching. Additions to and renovations in Carnegie Science Hall and Dana Chemistry Hall have increased facilities available for research-based independent student work and have provided laboratory space for the College's interdisciplinary programs in biological chemistry and neuroscience, as well as a state-of-the-art chemical storage facility. At the same time, the sciences have been enriched by the addition of several major instruments, including two electron microscopes, an NMR spectrometer, a PCR thermocycler for DNA sequencing, and a flow cytometer.
The College's newest academic building is Pettengill Hall. Dedicated in 1999, Pettengill Hall is a ninety-thousand-square-foot structure housing fully networked teaching spaces, faculty offices, laboratories, student research centers, and other facilities for eleven social science departments and interdisciplinary programs once physically dispersed around the campus. Pettengill Hall creates a new arena for intellectual interaction and an environment for greater utilization of technology in teaching and research. The building's design also fosters the connection between formal and informal learning; the Perry Atrium is a flexible and accessible gathering space that encourages students to better integrate their academic experiences with overall life at Bates.
Student life facilities at Bates are also varied and well equipped. The Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building provides a versatile center for all-campus gatherings. Three residence halls and a social center, built in 1993, were designed to integrate living and learning by mixing dormitory rooms, lounges, seminar rooms, and space for dining and campus events. The Joseph A. Underhill Arena, which includes an indoor ice rink and the Davis Fitness Center, opened in 1995, and two large houses on the campus have been refurbished to serve as the College's Multicultural Center and Alumni House. In 2000 The James G. Wallach Tennis Center opened, with eight international tennis courts for varsity and intramural play.
The educational mission of the College is supported generously by a significant percentage of its sixteen thousand alumni who have made a lifetime commitment to their alma mater. The College has tripled its endowment over the last decade, in addition to increasing resources for financial aid, academic programs, and improvements to the campus, including Pettengill Hall. In fiscal year 2000, endowment investments of the College totaled over $198 million.
The College's alumni, who are members of more than thirty-five national and international clubs, are actively connected to Bates in a variety of ways. More than eighteen hundred alumni volunteer annually as admissions representatives, career resources, fund-raisers, class agents, and alumni club leaders.
Bates is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the American Chemical Society. It maintains chapters of Phi Beta Kappa and of Sigma Xi, the national scientific research and honor society.
Goals 2005: The Vision for Bates
Statement of Community Principles
© 2001 Bates College.