Dickinson College was created explicitly for high purposes: to prepare young people, by means of a useful education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society. Founded by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the college was chartered in 1783, just days after the conclusion of the American Revolution with the specific purpose of preparing the citizens and leaders who would ensure the success of the new democracy. It was to offer a distinctively original form of American education—one that was rigorously rooted in the traditional liberal arts and was, at the same time, innovative, forward-looking and ultimately useful. It was a revolutionary education designed for a revolutionary age.
As we face the challenges and complexities of the 21st century, Dickinson continues to seek direction from this revolutionary heritage within a contemporary context. A Dickinson education prepares its graduates to become engaged citizens by incorporating a global vision that permeates the entire student experience, creating a community of inquiry that allows students to cross disciplinary boundaries and make new intellectual connections, and encouraging students to be enterprising and active by engaging their communities, the nation and the world.
Dickinson offers a liberal arts education that is distinctive in purpose and approach. Our founders intended Dickinson graduates to use their liberal arts education as a powerful agent of change to advance the lot of humankind. We expect no less today.