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About Arcadia University

History of Arcadia University

Arcadia University has its roots in the far west of Pennsylvania in 1853.   In that year, a group of civic and church leaders in Beaver, Pennsylvania, northwest of Pittsburgh founded the Beaver Female Seminary, one of the first institutions in the nation devoted to higher education for women.  In 1872, the institution adopted the name Beaver College and Musical Institute, and opened its doors to young men.  Then, in 1907, the name was shortened to Beaver College and enrollment once more limited to female students.  In 1972, the College again became co-educational and began offering graduate level programs.

In 1925 the College moved to Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.  This location afforded larger facilities, a more adequate campus and greater opportunities for development.  The change resulted in such an increase in enrollment that the Board of Trustees found it desirable to impose limitations on the annual enrollment in order to maintain the advantages of a small college.

It soon became apparent that additional property would be needed to provide for the expansion of the College.  In the autumn of 1928, the Trustees were fortunate in securing a nearby estate located in Glenside and known as Grey Towers, which, with its spacious grounds and stone buildings, provides a campus of great dignity and beauty.  The College operated both the Jenkintown and Glenside campuses into the mid-1960’s, when it consolidated all activities onto the Grey Towers property.

In the past 30 years, Beaver College has grown significantly from a small undergraduate, liberal arts college serving a traditional-age student body, to a comprehensive university serving more than 4,000 men and women, ages 17 to 77, through part-time and full-time, daytime, evening and weekend, undergraduate and graduate programs.  The University also operates one of the largest study abroad programs in the U.S., The College of Global Studies serving about 3,000 students each year.  In light of this size and complexity of program, the institution applied for and achieved university status in 2000 and changed its name to Arcadia University on July 16, 2001.

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