College News and Fun Facts: Dickinson University

SIGNING IN/SIGNING OUT. Each year, new Dickinsonians gather in front of Old West’s venerable stone steps. Literally etched with history and scuffed by centuries of students, those steps are part of Dickinson’s most important traditions.

MERMAID. As Benjamin Latrobe designed Old West on Dickinson’s campus, he was instructed to include a cupola for a bell. After consulting his text on Greek architecture, Latrobe decided to model the cupola loosely on the Athenian Tower of the Winds. To further this association, Latrobe ordered a likeness of Triton, the fish-tailed mythological god of the sea, to be placed atop the cupola as a weathervane.

DEBATE AND HONORS SOCIETIES. The first student organizations at Dickinson College (and among the first in America) were two literary societies, Belles Lettres Society (est. 1786) and Union Philophical Society (est. 1789). The societies served as forums for political debate. Student life in the 19th century revolved around public debate and exhibitions that were hosted by both societies, and the societies regularly challenged each other to debate.

Read more traditions.

  • Color: Red and White
  • Mascot: Red Devil
  • Admit Rate: 49% (Class of 2022). Read more