Kenyon College

Kenyon College is a private liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio. It was founded in 1824 by Philander Chase.[6][7][8] Kenyon College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[9]

Kenyon College
Kenyon College seal.svg
MottoMagnanimiter Crucem Sustine (Latin)
Motto in English
Valiantly bear the cross
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1824; 199 years ago (1824)
Endowment$550.1 million (2021)[2]
PresidentSean M. Decatur
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusRural, 1,000 acres (400 ha) including a 380-acre (150 ha) nature preserve
ColorsPurple and White    
Kenyon College wordmark.svg
Kenyon College
Kenyon College is located in Ohio
Kenyon College
Kenyon College is located in the United States
Kenyon College
LocationGambier, Ohio
Coordinates40°22′35″N 82°23′45″W / 40.37639°N 82.39583°W / 40.37639; -82.39583Coordinates: 40°22′35″N 82°23′45″W / 40.37639°N 82.39583°W / 40.37639; -82.39583
Architectural styleGothic Revival, Greek Revival
NRHP reference No.75001447[5]
Added to NRHPDecember 6, 1975

Kenyon has 1,708 undergraduates enrolled.[when?] Its 1,000-acre campus is set in rural surroundings and is home to the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC), which has over 380 acres and hosts seven different ecosystems. There are more than 120 student clubs and organizations on campus, including eight fraternities and sororities. Kenyon athletes are called Owls (previously the Lords and Ladies) and compete in the NCAA Division III North Coast Athletic Conference.[10]



Philander Chase (1775–1852) was the founder and first president of Bexley Hall and Kenyon College, and later became Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

After becoming the first Episcopal Bishop of Ohio in 1818, Philander Chase found a severe lack of trained clergy on the Ohio frontier. He planned to create a seminary to rectify this problem, but could find little support. Undeterred, he sailed to England and solicited donations from: George Kenyon, 2nd Baron Kenyon; Lord Gambier; and the writer and philanthropist Hannah More. The college was incorporated in December, 1824. Dissatisfied with the original location of the college in Worthington, Chase purchased 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) of land in Knox County (with the Mount Vernon lawyer Henry Curtis), and reached what he would name Gambier Hill on July 24, 1825. There is a legend that Bishop Chase exclaimed, "Well, this will do" upon reaching the crest of the hill.[11][12]

The Kenyon ReviewEdit

Kenyon's English department gained national recognition with the arrival of the poet and critic John Crowe Ransom in 1937 as professor of poetry and first editor of The Kenyon Review, a literary journal. During his 21-year tenure, Ransom published such internationally known writers as Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, William Empson, Mark Van Doren, Kenneth Burke, and Delmore Schwartz, as well as younger writers like Flannery O'Connor, Robert Lowell, and Peter Taylor, to name a few. It was an influential literary magazine during the 1940s and 1950s.[13]

The Kenyon Review also hosts a two-week summer writing workshop on campus for high-school students. The Review also sponsors an annual summer writers workshop for adults.[14]


Kenyon requires students to take classes in each of the four academic divisions: fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. In addition, students must study a foreign language. Its most popular majors, by 2021 graduates, were:[15] English, Economics, Psychology, Political Science, and Biology.

The Gund Gallery, a 31,000 square feet (2,900 m2) visual arts center and exhibition space, was opened in 2011. It hosts lectures, public programming, and exhibitions from traveling shows and its permanent collection.[16]


Ransom Hall (1910–1912), home of the Office of the President

Admission to Kenyon is considered "most selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[17]

For the class of 2022 (enrolling fall 2018), Kenyon received 6,152 applications, accepted 2,204 (35.8%), and enrolled 539.[18] For enrolled first-year students the middle 50% range of SAT scores was 640-730 for critical reading and 640-740 for math, while the ACT composite range was 29–33; the average GPA was 3.94.[18]


Academic rankings
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[19]31
Washington Monthly[20]50
THE / WSJ[22]93

In the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Kenyon is tied for the No. 31 liberal arts college in the United States. In the 2022 Forbes rankings, Kenyon is 40th among liberal-arts colleges and 176th among 650 colleges and universities in the United States.[23] In 2006 Newsweek selected Kenyon College as one of twenty-five "New Ivies" on the basis of admissions statistics as well as interviews with administrators, students, faculty members, and alumni.[24] It was also listed in Greene's list of Hidden Ivies in 2000.[full citation needed]

Although Kenyon is often ranked favorably, some methods that rank colleges based on their calculated return on investment (ROI) have been critical of Kenyon's value. The 2018 Payscale College ROI Report ranked Kenyon as the 983rd best value college in the country[25] and Time's 2018-2019 "Best Colleges in America" report ranked Kenyon as the 214th best college in the country.[26][27]

CollegeSimply ranks Kenyon as the 2nd best institution of higher education in Ohio and the 61st best college or university overall.[28]


Kenyon's sports teams, which compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), were referred to as the Lords and Ladies until May 2022 when a new mascot, the Owls, was announced. At various points in the past, the teams were also known as the Mauve, the Purple, the Purple and White, the Hilltoppers, and simply as Kenyon.[29] Their colors are purple and white, with black and gold often added as accents.

The men's swim team is notable in NCAA Division III, for having won, from 1980 through 2010, a record 31 consecutive NCAA national championships as well as consecutive titles between 2012 and 2015 for a total of 34 program titles, the most in any sport in NCAA history.[citation needed] The women's swim team is also considered among the best, having won 24 non-consecutive titles of their own since 1984, the most recent being in 2022.[30] Former Swim Coach Jim Steen has coached the most conference titles in any sport in NCAA history. During the 1980s and 90s, Diving Coach Fletcher Gilders led his athletes to fourteen consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference championships and eight individual NCAA Division III titles; Gilders would also earn NCAA D3 Coach of the Year honors on three separate occasions. In 2013, under Head Coach Jess Book, the men's team won the national title and the women's team took second. Book was voted the 2013 NCAA Men's Coach of the Year and the 2013 NCAA Women's Coach of the Year, and Head Diving Coach Andy Scott was voted the 2013 NCAA Division III Women's Diving Coach of the Year.

In 2006, Kenyon opened the $70 million Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC), a 263,000-square-foot (24,400 m2) building that houses an Olympic-sized swimming pool, two basketball courts, eight squash courts, a weight room, a 200m track, four tennis courts and other facilities. Field hockey, football and men's lacrosse are played at McBride Field which has a seating capacity of 1,762.[31]


As Ohio's oldest private college, Kenyon has upheld some traditions for almost 200 years. All students in each entering class are expected to take the Matriculation Oath and sign a Matriculation Book that dates back at least a century.

Another tradition is the "First-Year Sing." Each year, entering first-years gather on the steps of Rosse Hall to sing Kenyon songs before they are officially part of the Kenyon community. On the day before Commencement, seniors gather on the steps of Rosse Hall to sing the same songs again.

Kenyon students avoid stepping on the college seal in the entrance hall of Peirce Dining Hall. Tradition holds that if someone steps on the seal, they will not graduate from the college.[32]

Whenever a new president begins their time at the college, candles are lit in every window of Old Kenyon, as a sign of welcome. Additionally, a bell hangs in the steeple of Old Kenyon and is only rung when a new president is inaugurated, as well as having been rung when the United States is no longer engaged in war and when the Kenyon football team wins a home game. However, the only occasion the bell has been rung in recent years has been the arrival of a new president. Kenyon has had twenty-five presidents (including acting or interim appointments); former president S. Georgia Nugent was Kenyon's first female president, and current president Sean Decatur is Kenyon's first African-American president.[33] The president's academic regalia is a purple gown with four velvet chevrons on each sleeve signifying the office of the president, a college seal medallion with the names of each Kenyon president on the chain links, and a purple beefeater cap.[34] The purple beefeaters cap is also worn by college trustee's at ceremonies.

The college's official alma mater is "The Thrill." However, "Kokosing Farewell" is more often sung at ceremonies and is sometimes referred to as Kenyon's "spiritual" alma mater. "Kokosing Farewell," sung to the tune of the 1870 hymn "The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ending," is the traditional closing number for concerts of the Kenyon College Chamber Singers, the student choir. The currently used versions of both songs were arranged by Professor of Music Benjamin R. Locke.

The college has maintained a tradition of formality at ceremonies. During the annual commencement ceremony, the conferring of degrees to the class and announcement of each individual student's degree of Bachelor of Arts is done entirely in Latin, spoken by the president and faculty secretary. Kenyon's diplomas are also written entirely in Latin.[35]

In 2018, Kenyon gained a campus cat named Moxie.[36][37] Moxie passed away in 2022.[38]

Shield and sealEdit

The first Kenyon seal was designed no later than 1842 and contained a book, a cross, a scroll, a telescope, and a scientific apparatus surrounded by the words "Sigillum Collegi Kenyonensis" and "Ohio Resp". Carvings of the first seal exist on the outer stone walls of Hanna and Ransom Halls in Gambier. Since the second and current seal was introduced, the first seal has rarely been used.

Kenyon's second and current shield is derived from the coat of arms of Lord Kenyon, one of the college's first and most prominent benefactors. The college's board of trustees ordered a committee to create a new shield on July 22, 1908, and its first recorded use was in 1909. However, it wasn't until 1937 that the seal was formally adopted by the trustees. The shield consists of a chevron, three crosses, a book inscribed with the college's motto (as well as the Kenyon family's motto) “Magnanimiter Crucem Sustine” ("valiantly bear the cross"), resting upon a bishop's staff, representing the college's founder, Bishop Philander Chase. The shield has become a widely used symbol for the college. A version of the shield that replaces the book and staff with "Kenyon" in block letters while the chevron and crosses remain has become the symbol for the college's athletic teams.[39]

The college seal consists of the shield at the center, encircled by the Latin phrase "Sigillum Collegi Kenyonensis" (translated to "Seal of Kenyon College") as well as the college's founding year in Roman numerals across the bottom.

In 2011, American clothier Ralph Lauren discontinued production of a necktie depicting the Kenyon shield after it was found they did not license the rights from the college.[40]

The Bexley Seminary had its own shield until its dissociation from the college in 1968. While it contained the book, motto, and bishop's staff of the Kenyon shield, an eagle and ermine pattern blazoned the lower portion of the shield.[41]


Kenyon College has undertaken a number of sustainability initiatives, including a recycling system upgrade, a biodiesel project, a computer lab conversion to double-sided printing, the distribution of green living guides, as well as the creation of a dining hall composting system that diverts 6,000 pounds of waste from the landfill per week. Additionally Kenyon's cafeteria is committed to serving local food and has become a leader among college cafeterias in the country.[42] Students partnered with administrators and professors to complete a campus energy audit for the past three years, as well as a carbon footprint calculation. Kenyon Green Alumni was founded to connect graduates "with a professional interest in the environment." The college recently received a "C" grade on the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, compiled by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.[43]

The Kenyon Farm is a mixed crop-livestock operation providing produce to local markets and giving students the opportunity to gain practical skills and knowledge for small-scale farming operations.[44]

Ivy, which once covered some buildings on the Kenyon campus, but damages stonework, has been eradicated.[45]


US President Rutherford B. Hayes, Class of 1842
Actor Paul Newman, Class of 1949
Actor Allison Janney, Class of 1982

Notable alumni of Kenyon College include:


  1. ^ "Kenyon College (USA) entry, Members, Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion".
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2021. Kenyon College Consolidated Financial Report (PDF) (Report). Kenyon College. October 28, 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  3. ^ "Kenyon in Numbers".
  4. ^ "Kenyon's Athletics Monikers". Kenyon College. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System – (#75001447)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  6. ^ Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. Merriam-Webster. 2000. p. 878. ISBN 9780877790174. Kenyon College: Private liberal-arts college in Gambier, Ohio. The campus is noted for its Collegiate Gothic architecture and rural setting.
  7. ^ le Draoulec, Pascale (1 March 2010). "The World's Most Beautiful College Campuses". Forbes. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  8. ^ Pramis, Joshua (2011-09-30). "Swarthmore College: Swarthmore, PA - America's Most Beautiful College Campuses | Travel + Leisure". Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  9. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Rankings". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  11. ^ "Well, this will do! explained". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  12. ^ "A Biography of Philander Chase". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  13. ^ "A Brief History of The Kenyon Review". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Young Writers Online".
  15. ^ "Kenyon College". U.S. Dept of Education. Retrieved February 11, 2023.
  16. ^ "About Us." Gund Gallery website.
  17. ^ "Rankings". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  18. ^ a b "Common Data Set 2018-2019". Kenyon College. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "Best Colleges 2021: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  20. ^ "2021 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  21. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2022". Forbes. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2022". The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  23. ^ "Kenyon College". Forbes. October 13, 2022.
  24. ^ "America's 25 New Elite 'Ivies'". Newsweek. 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
  25. ^ "Payscale 2018 ROI Ranking for Kenyon College".
  26. ^ "Best Colleges in America 2022 Kenyon College Ranking". May 16, 2022. Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  27. ^ "The Best Colleges in America". May 16, 2022. Archived from the original on May 16, 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  28. ^ CollegeSimply. "Kenyon College". CollegeSimply. Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  29. ^ "A History of Kenyon Monikers". Kenyon College. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  30. ^ "Kenyon Women Win by 7, End Emory's Ten-Year Dominance at DIII Nationals". 20 March 2022.
  31. ^ "McBride Field". Kenyon College. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  32. ^ Blaker, Bailey (2015-08-22). "Orientation week: a crash course in Kenyon Culture". The Kenyon Collegian. Retrieved 2019-08-24.
  33. ^ Lorin, Janet (18 March 2013). "Kenyon College Picks Sean Decatur as its New President". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  34. ^ "Campus Traditions".
  35. ^ "Translation of Kenyon's Diploma".
  36. ^ "The Cat With a Campus Wrapped Around His Paw". The Atlantic. September 27, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  37. ^ "Beloved college cat Moxie 'fills a need' on Kenyon campus". April 11, 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  38. ^ "Kenyon College twitter bulletin". July 8, 2022. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  39. ^[bare URL PDF]
  40. ^ "Kenyon May Enter Lawsuit with Ralph Lauren".
  41. ^[bare URL PDF]
  42. ^ "What's Campus Food Like at Kenyon College". Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  43. ^ "Kenyon College - Green Report Card 2010". 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  44. ^ "About the Kenyon Farm". Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  45. ^ "All Kenyon's ivy is gone: they said it was destroying the stonework." Kluge, P.F. (2013-03-16). Alma Mater: A College Homecoming (Kindle Location 995). Crossroad Press. Kindle Edition.
  46. ^ Menand, Louis (October 17, 2022). "Who Paul Newman Was—and Who He Wanted to Be". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  47. ^ Library, CNN (13 June 2017). "Leopoldo López Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved 20 August 2018. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  48. ^ "Ransom Riggs · Along Middle Path · Kenyon College". Archived from the original on 2019-07-21. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  49. ^ "Black History Month 2022". National Society of Black Physicists.
  50. ^ Allen, Susie. "Music man". University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved March 17, 2023.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit