Franklin and Marshall College

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Franklin and Marshall College, circa. 1910

Franklin and Marshall College is a four-year private co-educational liberal arts college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It is the 25th oldest college or university in the United States.

Since its founding in 1787, Franklin & Marshall has evolved into one of the most celebrated liberal arts colleges in the United States. It employs 175 full-time faculty members and has a student body of approximately 1,850 full-time students.

The school is often referred to in the shorthand as F&M; its students are sometimes called "Fummers" [for F&Mers].


History of Franklin College (18th Century)

Franklin College was chartered on June 6, 1787 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on the site of a former brewery. It was named for Benjamin Franklin, who donated £200 to the new institution. Founded by four prominent ministers from the German Reformed Church and the Lutheran Church, in conjunction with numerous Philadelphians, the school was established as a German college whose goal was to help assimilate the German population into American culture. Its first trustees included four signers of the Declaration of Independence, three members of the Constitutional Convention and seven officers of the Revolutionary War.

The school's first classes were taught on July 16, 1787, with instruction taking place in both English and German making it the first bilingual college in the United States. Franklin College also enrolled the first Jewish female college student in the United States, Rebecca Gratz.

In July of 1789, Franklin College ran into financial difficulty as its annual tuition of four pounds was not enough to cover operating costs. Enrollment began to dwindle to just a few students and eventually the college existed as nothing more than an annual meeting of the Board of Trustees. In an effort to help the ailing school, an academy was established in 1807. For the next three decades, Franklin College and Franklin Academy managed to limp along financially, with instructors supplementing their income with private tutoring.

In 1835, the school's Debating Society was renamed Diagnothian Literary Society at the suggestion of seminary student Samuel Reed Fisher. In June of that year, Diagnothian was divided into two friendly rivals to encourage debate. Diagnothian retained its original name, while the new society was named Goethean, in honor of German philosopher and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The two organizations sponsored orations and debated politics, philosophy and literature. They merged together in 1955, but became separate entities again in 1989. The Diagnothian Society is the oldest student organization on campus.

History of Marshall College (19th Century)

Having grown from a Reformed Church academy, Marshall College, opened in 1836 in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. The school was named for the fourth Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, who had died the previous year.

During its first year, 18 students were taught by Frederick Augustus Rauch and his assistant, Samuel A. Budd. Rauch, an acclaimed young scholar and theologian from Germany who authored the first American textbook in psychology, also served as the College’s president. The faculty grew in both size and status with the addition of John Williamson Nevin and another German scholar, church historian Philip Schaff. Nevin became the college’s president upon Rauch’s sudden death in 1841.

However, despite being initially well-funded, Marshall College began to experience financial difficulties of its own. By the late 1840s, financial support and enthusiasm among the local community had virtually disappeared, despite a growing reputation that attracted students from as far away as the West Indies.

The Merger (1853)

On December 6, 1849, Franklin College and Marshall College began to explore the possibility of a merger as a method to secure the future of both institutions. Three years later, on June 7, 1853, the combined college was formally dedicated at Lancaster's Fulton Hall. The merger created an all-male Reformed Church institution that combined the resources of both schools. James Buchanan, four years shy of becoming the 15th President of the United States, was named president of the first Franklin & Marshall board of trustees. The college’s first two presidents, Emanuel Vogel Gerhart, a Marshall College graduate, and Nevin struggled to keep the young school afloat with an inadequate endowment. But the hope of creating a reputable liberal arts institution fueled their efforts to push on. “No second- or third-rate school will do,” said Nevin at the formal dedication of the united college. “We must either have no college at all or else have one that may be in all respects worthy of the name.”

In 1854, Phi Kappa Sigma was founded as the all-male college's first fraternity. (The chapter existed for 129 years, until losing its national charter in 1983.) Chi Phi, founded later that year, remains the oldest fraternity still in existence at F&M.

On May 16, 1856, Franklin and Marshall College dedicated its main building, "Recitation Hall." The distinctive, tall-towered structure, designed in the Gothic Revival style, was constructed on "Gallows Hill," the former site of Lancaster's public executions and the highest point of ground in the city. At the laying of the building's cornerstone in 1853, Henry Harbaugh, a Marshall College graduate and pastor of the Reformed Church of Lancaster noted that the city's lowest point was the location of the Lancaster County Prison. Harbaugh stated: "Thank God! The College stands higher than the jail. Education should be lifted up and let crime sink to the lowest depths!" Recitation Hall came to be known as Old Main and the ground as College Hill.

The Civil War Era

With the start of the Civil War in 1861, Goethean Hall and Diagnothian Hall were used as hospitals for sick soldiers from nearby Camp Johnson, an emergency recruitment camp northwest of Lancaster.

On June 27, 1863, college officials closed the Franklin and Marshall school year early in fear of the approaching Confederate armies. Many students immediately volunteered to help burn the bridge at Wrightsville, preventing a Confederate advance across the Susquehanna River into Lancaster County.

During the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863, college president Rev. E.V. Gerhart organized a humanitarian trip to the nearby city with 20 students. For three days, the students assisted with the medical efforts and ministered to the sick, wounded and dying soldiers and townfolk.

In 1865, James Buchanan resigned as President of the Board of Trustees, in part because of his unpopular term in the White House, which had ended in 1861.

The Late 19th Century

In 1872, the Franklin and Marshall Academy, an all-male prep school opened on campus. When it closed in 1943, it was the last prep school in America to be directly affiliated with a college or university. The Academy's first building, East Hall, was constructed in 1872. A second, larger building, Hartman Hall, replaced it in 1907. Both buildings were used by the college for various purposes after the Academy folded. Hartman Hall was demolished in 1975 and East Hall followed in 1978.

College Days, the first student newspaper, began publication in 1873. Later student newpapers included The College Student (1881-1914), The F&M Weekly (1891-1915), The Student Weekly (1915-1964), The Blue and The White (1990-1992) and The College Reporter (1964-present).

Oriflamme, the Franklin and Marshall College yearbook, was established in 1883.

In 1887, the centennial celebration of Franklin College was held at the school. By then, over 100 students were enrolled at F&M.

1899 saw the formation of the college's first theatre group, the Franklin & Marshall Dramatic Association. The next year, it was renamed The Green Room Club. The club performed plays at Lancaster's Fulton Opera House. Because the college admitted only men, the female roles were played by local actresses. In 1937, the Green Room Theatre opened on campus. F&M alumni who have performed on the Green Room stage include Oscar-winning film director Franklin J. Schaffner and actors Roy Scheider and Treat Williams.

The 20th Century

The college began a rapid period of growth after World War I. Enrollment rose from around 300 students in 1920, to over 750 students by the year 1930. In 1924, the architectural firm of Klauder and Day presented a master campus plan in the Colonial Revival style. Dietz-Santee dormitory, Meyran-Franklin dormitory, the Mayser Physical Education Center, and Hensel Hall were all completed within three years. Two additional dormitories were planned at that time, but never constructed.

The sesquicentennial celebration of Franklin College was held in mid-October of 1937. Student enrollment at that time was 800. A commemorative plaque celebrating the sesquicentennial of Franklin College and the signing of the United States Constitution was presented to the college by the Lancaster County Historical Society.

In 1939, the school began an aviation program in the new Keiper Liberal Arts Building. The Aeronautical Laboratory eventually became a government-sponsored flight school with 40 faculty members. Two airplanes were disassembled, moved into the building and reassembled on the third floor where they were used as flight simulators.

By 1945, with the majority of young men fighting in World War II, the college population dwindled to just under 500 students and 28 faculty members. But the end of the war brought many new students who decided to pursue their education under the G.I. Bill. By 1946, enrollment had swelled to over 1,200 students (including four females permitted to study in the pre-med program) and there was a sudden critical shortage of faculty members.

The fifties and sixties brought more college expansion and construction to the campus including: North Museum (1953), Marshall-Buchanan Residence Hall (1956), Appel Infirmary (1959), Schnader Residence Hall (1959), Mayser Physical Education Center (1962), Benjamin Franklin Residence Halls (1964), Pfeiffer Science Complex (now Hackman Physical Science Laboratory) (1967), Grundy Observatory (1967), Whitely Psychology Laboratory (1968) and Thomas Residence Hall (1968).

Like other academic institutions in the sixties, Franklin and Marshall experienced a series of student protests during the decade that were based on important social issues, such as the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. In April of 1961, students rioted in front of the President's house and Hensel Hall, burning effigies and college property in protest of administration policies.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited the campus on December 12, 1963. He spoke about civil rights before a capacity audience of 3,300 in Mayser Center, the school's gymnasium.

In 1965, visiting English instructor Robert Mezey was suspended after being accused of urging students to burn their draft cards. He was later reinstated. This became known as the "Mezey Affair."

In the spring of 1969, black students protested the final examination of the history course "The Black Experience in America." Demanding an apology from the faculty for exploitation and an "A" in the course, the students argued that no white man can test them on their "blackness." The day before the exam, the professors agreed to the apology, but still insisted that the students take the final exam. On May 22, the day of the exam, forty black students--many of whom were not enrolled in the course--blocked the entrance to the exam room in Old Main. The professors attempted to hand out the exam to the other students in the class, but the protesters confiscated them. Retreating to Goethean Hall next door, the professors and staff met to evaluate the situation. The protesters followed them to the building, blocked all doors and exits and held them hostage. They declared that they would not release the faculty members until they received an apology and immunity from punishment. The standoff lasted until midnight, when the professors agreed to allow the students to grade themselves. The students relented and released the hostages. However the college's Professional Standards Committee later overturned the decision, declaring that the professors would, in fact, have to grade the students after all.

In 1969, Franklin and Marshall College ended its formal affiliation with the United Church of Christ, becoming a secular school.

Since its inception, Franklin and Marshall permitted only male students, although Franklin College had occasionally allowed female students to enroll and women were permitted to attend summer school classes beginning in 1942. Continuing a trend in single-sex schools across the country, the Board of Trustees announced on January 17, 1969 that it had voted to admit women to F&M, a decision that was unanimously and enthusiastically supported by male students. In the fall of 1969, 82 freshman women and 34 female transfer students were enrolled in F&M's first coeducational class.

In 1970, F&M students protested the administration's failure to rehire popular sociology instructor Anthony Lazroe and history instructor Henry Mayer. The protest, known as the "Lazroe-Mayer incident," culminated in the East Hall sit-in on April 30, where students took over the building for several hours.

In 1976, the Steinman College Center was constructed. The building--designed by Minoru Yamasaki, architect of New York's World Trade Center--originally housed the campus bookstore and post office. Today it houses the College Reporter, the Oriflamme Yearbook, the College Entertainment Committee, the Phillips Museum of Art, the Common Ground (a popular student hangout) and the campus radio station WFNM.

On April 29, 1976, the Green Room Theatre staged the world premiere of the John Updike play Buchanan Dying, about former President James Buchanan, a Lancaster resident and former President of the Board of Trustees. The production was directed by Edward S. Brubaker and starred Peter Vogt, an F&M alumnus. After the premiere, a reception was held at Wheatland, Buchanan's Lancaster residence.

In 1978, the school's first sorority--Sigma Sigma Sigma--was chartered.

On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in nearby Harrisburg, Pennsylvania experienced a partial meltdown, forcing the college to close for a short time.

The eighties were a prosperous time for the college. Construction projects initiated during the decade included Hartman Green (1982), French House (1984), Murray Arts House (1984), Ice Rink (1984), Spaulding Plaza (1985), the Other Room Theatre (1985), major renovations and expansions of Fackenthal Library (1983, renamed Shadek-Fackenthal Library) and Stahr Hall (1985, renamed Stager Hall, 1988) and the Black Cultural Center (1986).

On June 6, 1987 Franklin and Marshall College celebrated its bicentennial.

In April of 1988, the College's Board of Trustees voted to no longer officially recognize the school's fraternities and sororities. This was known as "derecognition." At the time, three of the school's fraternities had recently lost their national charters due to various offenses. In an effort to repair the system, the college administration proposed eight specific reforms to the Greek Counsel, which were ultimately rejected by all of the organizations. The result was derecognition. Derecognition was highly unpopular with the student body, but it served to remove the college from any liability associated with hazing and underage alcohol abuse, issues that were in the national public eye at that time. The experiment met with mixed results. Despite the decree, the Greek System continued--albeit unofficially--and the college kept a watchful eye on how it developed without financial or administrative support. No Greek chapters were closed during this time and membership was generally not affected. But after several years unsupervised, a small number of fraternities struggled with health code violations, fires and one unfortunate accidental death. Owing to several factors, including dwindling financial support from fraternity and sorority alumni and legitimate concerns about student academics, health and safety, the college announced on May 19, 2004 that it would reinstate a new, revised Greek System beginning on September 1, 2004 after a 16 year absence.

The nineties brought a major expansion to the north side of campus with the construction of College Square in (1991). The multi-use complex housed a new bookstore, laudromat, video store, restaurants and a food court. Other buildings from the decade include Weis Residence Hall (1990), International House (1990), Martin Library of the Sciences (1990) and the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center (1995).

The 21st Century

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the college continued to grow with the addition of the Barshinger Center for Musical Arts in Hensel Hall (2000), President's House (built 1933; purchased by the college in 2002), Roschel Performing Arts Center (2003) and Writer's House (2004).

In 2003 the school celebrated the sesquicentennial of the union between Franklin College and Marshall College.

History of F&M Sports

Sports have been an active part of Franklin and Marshall since its inception. The school's sports teams are called the Diplomats. Many of the teams compete in the Centennial Conference. Men's intercollegiate competition is in thirteen sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, squash, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and wrestling. Women's intercollegiate competition is in 13 sports: basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and volleyball. F&M competes in NCAA Division III for all varsity sports except wrestling, which is Division I, and men's and women's squash, which are nondivisional.

In 1866, the student-run Alpha Club sponsored the college's first baseball game.

In 1887, the first football team was organized by Seminary student Miles O. Noll. Franklin and Marshall College was defeated 9-0 by the York YMCA.

Distler House, the school's first gymnasium, was constructed in 1891. It contained a bowling alley, indoor running track, and gymnastic equipment.

The "New Athletic Field" was constructed in 1895 with the assistance of $1,500 from Henry S. Williamson. It was later renamed "Williamson Field." A concrete grandstand was added in 1922 at a cost of $10,000.

In 1900 the first basketball game was played. The opposing team was Millersville Normal School.

F&M's football team finally defeated the University of Pennsylvania in 1915. The score was 10-0.

1924 saw the college's first wrestling match.

Mayser Physical Education Center, the college's second gymnasium, was opened in 1927.

In 1950, the football team celebrated an undefeated season.

In 1995, the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center, the school's third gymnasium opened on the site of the college's former ice rink.

F&M Presidents

Franklin College:

  • Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1787-1815)
  • Operated as an academy by Board of Trustees (1816-1853)

Marshall College:

  • Dr. Frederick Augustus Rauch (1836-1841)
  • Rev. John Williamson Nevin (1841-1853)

Franklin and Marshall College:

  • Rev. Emanuel Vogel Gerhart '38 (1854-1866)
  • Dr. John Williamson Nevin (1866-1876)
  • Rev. Thomas Gilmore Apple '50 (1877-1889)
  • Rev. John Summers Stahr '67 (1889-1909)
  • Dr. Henry Harbaugh Apple '89 (1910-1935)
  • Dr. John Ahlum Schaeffer '04 (1935-1941)
  • Dr. H. M.J. Klein '93 (1941) (acting president)
  • Theodore August Distler (1941-1954)
  • William Webster Hall (1955-1957)
  • Dr. Frederick deWolf Bolman, Jr. (1957-1962)
  • Anthony R. Appel '35 (1962) (resigned after one week)
  • G. Wayne Glick (1962) (acting president)
  • Keith Spalding (1963-1983)
  • James Lawrence Powell (1983-1988)
  • A. Richard Kneedler '65 (1988-2002)
  • John Anderson Fry (2002-present)

Famous Alumni

External links

Official University Website ( Henry Harbaugh online (


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools