Jefferson College, Canonsburg, PA, circa 1842.
flipFlip to "Old Main," Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, circa 1870.
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Exterior and grounds

Credit: Crumrine, Boyd, History of Washington County. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1882.

Chartered in 1802 in isolated Canonsburg, PA, Jefferson College personified the educational experience of many small institutions across the frontier of western Pennsylvania. Despite severe financial difficulties the college managed to graduate more than 600 students, most of them trained for the Presbyterian ministry, by 1840. Over the years a strong rivalry developed with Washington College in the nearby county seat of Washington, PA. In March, 1865, the state legislature granted a new charter merging the rivals into Washington and Jefferson College. Soon, a classical liberal arts education took prominence over theology and ministerial training, but the church affiliation remained strong for generations to come. Reflecting the trend at most all-male colleges, trustees approved the admission of women to undergraduate studies in 1970.

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