Thiel College (/tl/, /təl/) is an independent college in Greenville, Pennsylvania. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America[3] and is one of the smallest colleges or universities in the region with about 100 full-time and part time faculty members.

Thiel College
Former names
Thiel Hall (1866–1870)[1]
MottoLux Mundi, Verbum Dei
Motto in English
Light of the World, Word of God
TypeIndependent college
Established1866; 158 years ago (1866)
Religious affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
PresidentSusan Traverso[2]
Undergraduates790 (fall 2022)
Colors    Blue and gold
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIIPresidents' Athletic Conference
MascotTommy Tomcat



Founded in 1866 as an inclusive and coeducational institution known as Thiel Hall, the college started as a result of a meeting between William Passavant and A. Louis Thiel. At the Lutheran Church Pittsburgh Synod convention in Greensburg in 1869, it was decided that Thiel Hall would become a college and serve western Pennsylvania from an initial campus in Philipsburg (now known as Monaca). Four years later, on September 1, 1870, the college received a charter from the government of Pennsylvania and relocated to Greenville, where it was incorporated as Thiel College.[4]

On August 1, 2016, Susan Traverso became the 20th and the first female president of Thiel College.[5]

Today, Thiel is home to about 110 full- and part-time faculty members. According to the US Department of Education, the school has just under 1,000 students in attendance. In 2016 and 2018, Forbes Magazine rated Thiel among the top ROI colleges in the U.S. In 2018, Colleges of Distinction recognized Thiel overall for the third consecutive year, and its Business and Education programs were singled out for their excellence for the second straight year.

Thiel College awarded Amelia Earhart an honorary degree in 1932. In his book “The Search for Amelia Earhart,” author Fred Goerner said, “The most satisfying recognition, however, came from her father’s alma mater, Thiel College of Greenville, Pennsylvania in the form of an honorary Doctor of Science degree.”[6]

Thiel was also the first institution to grant an honorary degree to Fred Rogers in 1969. Rogers’ address at Thiel was titled "Encouraging Creativity." In his address, he admonished educators and society in general for forcing conformity on children and encouraged understanding and tolerance as children endeavored to find their gifts.[7] Thiel College also presented an honorary degree to Richard M. Nixon in 1959, when he was U.S. vice-president.


Thiel College aerial view

Thiel is situated on a wooded 200-acre campus in the small western Pennsylvania town of Greenville, which is about halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Thiel has an enrollment of around 790 students. The student body is 56% male and 44% female. 63% percent of students are from Pennsylvania, 33% are from other states and Puerto Rico, and the remaining 4% are international students. 19% of students are minorities. The college has a student:faculty ratio of about 10:1, and 61% of classes have 20 or fewer students.[8]

The school recently opened the renovated spaces in Rhodehouse Memorial Science Building in 2022.[9] Additionally, the new Haer Family Science and Arts Connector and a competition-certified Barry and Carol Stamm Track and Field complex opened in the fall of 2017. The Maenpa Court in the Rissell-Beeghley Gymnasium was remodeled in the fall of 2022[10] and the Paul Bush '66 Memorial Fitness Center opened in 2016 to provide a great atmosphere for Thiel students, faculty and staff to exercise and help reach their full potential.[11]


Roth Hall

Thiel offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 60 majors, minors, and areas of study. It also offers master's degree programs in business administration, physician assistant studies and speech-language pathology.[12][13][14] Thiel is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education[15] Pennsylvania Department of Education,[16] with some programs accredited by specialized accreditors.



The Thiel Tomcats compete in NCAA Division-III athletics, in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. Tomcats currently field teams in baseball, men's and women's basketball, cheerleading, dance, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor track & field, men's and women's outdoor track & field, men's and women's volleyball, USA Rugby sanctioned men's and women's clubs, and wrestling.[17] In 2017, Thiel began offering Equestrian Studies as a minor. Thiel also offers intramural sports.[18]



The Thiel College cheer team has finished in the top three in the nation. It won the National Championship in the Cheer Spirit Rally Open division at the National Cheerleaders Association College Nationals in spring of 2023 and finished third in 2024.[19] The team finished second in 2022 in this category.[20]

The Thiel College men’s volleyball team beat the tournament’s top two seeds with a 3-1 win over Wittenberg in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference on Saturday, April 14, 2019.[21]"

The Thiel College wrestling team won its 23rd President’s Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022.[22] The Tomcats earned the second seed in the tournament after finishing the regular season with a 28-12 overall record and a 17-7 record in the PAC in 2016.[23]

Student life


Thiel offers a variety of activities, clubs and organizations; college sources claim 28 honorary societies and academic clubs, Greek life, service organizations, student government, a theatre troupe, multicultural and religious groups, marching and concert bands, and several choirs.

Thiel College has fraternities and sororities on campus.[24]

TCTV is the Thiel College television station.[25]

Living on campus


Nearly 88% of students live on campus.[26] Other facilities on campus include a computer lab, career development center, IT Solution Center, Learning Commons, art gallery, a fitness center, and a theater.

Notable alumni



  1. ^ "History". Thiel College.
  2. ^ Ricciutti, Gerry (17 May 2016). "Thiel College names first female president". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  3. ^ Why Go Lutheran
  4. ^ "History", Thiel College
  5. ^ Ricciutti, Gerry (17 May 2016). "Thiel College names first female president". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Amelia Earhart's connection to Thiel College | Thiel College". Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  7. ^ "Fred Rogers' connection to Thiel College | Thiel College". Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  8. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ "Thiel College dedicates spaces in renovated science building and honors alumni". Thiel College. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  10. ^ "Maenpa to be recognized as a donor toward the $2 million gymnasium renovation project". Thiel College. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  11. ^ "Paul Bush '66 Memorial Fitness Center". Thiel College Athletics. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  12. ^ "Management M.B.A. | Thiel College". Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  13. ^ "Speech-Language Pathology | Masters | Thiel College". Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  14. ^ "Physician Assistant | Masters | Thiel College". Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  15. ^ Ltd., Info724. "Middle States Commission on Higher Education". Retrieved 26 August 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ "EDNA". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  17. ^ Thiel Athletics
  18. ^ "Intramural Sports | Thiel College". Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  19. ^ "Tomcats win national title at NCA College Nationals". Thiel College. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  20. ^ "NEW VIDEO: Thiel cheer team finishes second at NCA College Nationals". Thiel College. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  21. ^ "Thiel College men's volleyball wins its first conference championship in program history". Thiel College. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  22. ^ "Thiel College wrestling team wins PAC championship; ties record for most conference titles". Thiel College. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  23. ^ "Thiel returns to PAC Championship Tournament". Thiel College Athletics. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  24. ^ maggie. "Fraternity & Sorority Life Overview". Thiel College. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  25. ^ maggie. "Campus Media". Thiel College. Retrieved 2022-10-31.
  26. ^ maggie. "Visiting Thiel". Thiel College. Retrieved 2022-10-30.

41°24′47″N 80°22′59″W / 41.413°N 80.383°W / 41.413; -80.383