The Reverend John Franklin Goucher and his wife Mary Fisher Goucher had a dream of equity, innovation, and excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, which Goucher College has continued since 1885. Originally named the Woman’s College of Baltimore, the college was renamed after its founder in 1910. It was first located in downtown Baltimore, on land deeded by Reverend Goucher to the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. By the early 1920s, the college’s trustees had decided to move the campus from the increasingly congested city to a newly purchased tract in Towson, eight miles north of the city. The Depression and the advent of World War II postponed construction of the new campus, so it was not until 1953 that the move to the current campus was complete. Goucher became coeducational in 1986.
Early in its history, Goucher was recognized for innovation, excellence, and commitment to equity. It was the first women’s college south of the Mason-Dixon line to receive accreditation and the second college in Maryland with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Over the years, Goucher was among the first colleges in the nation to offer groundbreaking new initiatives such as independent study, field work, early admissions, accelerated college programs, individualized majors, and a study abroad requirement. In Fall 2014, Goucher College became the first college in the nation to create an application option requesting student-submitted videos as the decisive factor for admission. The Goucher Video Application was developed to simplify the college admissions process and to increase access to underserved populations.
Goucher’s continuing commitment to equity was recently recognized by the Department of Education in 2016, as one of 51 colleges in the country achieving measurable success in retaining and graduating its Pell Grant recipients. Despite a 14 percent gap in college-completion rates on the national level for Pell-grant recipients and non-Pell students, Goucher’s college-completion rates for both populations are virtually identical.
Goucher is a college of approximately 1,500 undergraduates from 45 states/territories and 66 countries, as well as 800 students in a thriving graduate school. The most recent edition of the well-known guide Colleges That Change Lives describes Goucher as a “liberal arts college of the first magnitude.” The college was also named a “Most Innovative School” by U.S. News and World Report for four years.
Goucher provides students with a broad-based education and helps them develop skills to become lifelong learners. Students learn how to think creatively and critically, how to process new information and experiences, and how to use these skills to solve complex problems through collaboration with people whose views are different from their own. These skills also prepare students for the jobs of the future. One way the college helps its students achieve their goals in school and in life is by focusing on relationships, resilience, and reflection. Goucher understands that faculty and peer relationships are a prerequisite for learning, resilience is a stronger predictor of success than intelligence, and students must be able to reflect on how they learn best in order to continue acquiring knowledge after graduation.
Goucher provides a diverse array of educational opportunities. For undergraduates, the college offers 27 majors and gives students the option of designing their own majors. Through the Baltimore Student Exchange Program, Goucher students can take courses offered by other colleges in the fall or spring semester. Since 1990, the college has added graduate programs, and now the Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies offers master’s degrees in traditional, hybrid, and online formats in the following areas: arts administration, cultural sustainability, digital arts, education, historic preservation, and nonfiction, as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificates for professional development. The Welch Center also offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies for certain community college degrees as a pathway to earn a bachelor’s degree. Goucher education integrates thought and action, combining a strong liberal arts curriculum with hands-on learning in the world beyond the campus. Classes are small, and students receive close, personal attention from skilled faculty. Off-campus experiences are an essential component of a Goucher education. Students take part in internships and study abroad, as well as conduct independent research and study off campus.
The major cultural, political, and economic centers of the East Coast are within easy striking distance-a fact many students use to their advantage in finding internships while they’re here and jobs after they graduate. Goucher is about an hour’s drive from Washington, DC, an hour’s train ride from Philadelphia, and less than an hour away from Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland. New York City is just three hours away by car or train. Goucher is also a member of the 15-college Baltimore Collegetown Network, which further contributes to academic and social opportunities on campus and in the surrounding area. The city of Baltimore is more than Goucher’s historic home, as many members of our community go into the city every week to connect their academic work with hands-on experience through internships and community-based learning opportunities. Our students learn about the workings of a community; encounter differences related to race, class, and privilege; gain a deeper understanding about social justice; and are able to do work that is beneficial to others.
About three-quarters of Goucher’s alumnae/i go on to medical, business, law, or graduate school within five years of graduation. They study at Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and many other of the nation’s finest graduate and professional schools. Goucher students have won the prestigious Fulbright and Mellon fellowships for graduate study, and Goucher faculty have garnered Guggenheim and Newberry fellowships, among others. Goucher’s graduates have gone on to careers and lives of distinction in a wide range of fields.
Goucher’s 287-acre wooded campus is home to impressive facilities in technology, the sciences, and the arts. Goucher was one of the first colleges in the nation to introduce computer courses as part of the undergraduate curriculum and to require computer literacy of all graduates. The college’s network of technology resources include a scientific visualization laboratory, a computer music studio, a technology learning center, and a state-of-the-art digital language lab. The campus is fully wired for electronic telecommunications, providing access to the web and cable television as well as to internal campus networks.
Students in the sciences benefit from well-equipped teaching laboratories and research space, an observatory, a greenhouse, and sophisticated instrumentation such as the high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer in the Hoffberger Science Building. The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Arts Center includes a modern theater and studio art facilities. The 1,000-seat Kraushaar Auditorium, Mildred Dunnock Theatre, and Todd Dance Studio provide both practice and performance spaces, with multiple private practice rooms across campus. For students in the social sciences, the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center offers them a chance to participate in the highly-regarded Goucher College Poll, along with numerous other programs with federal, state, and local officials.
In August of 2016, the college opened Pagliaro Selz Hall, the first of three new residence halls that will transform the residential-life experience for its students. Pagliaro Selz was joined by two other first-year residence halls in August 2018, creating a “village” for 450 first-year students to live, work, and socialize. First-year students will live close to the center of campus, directly adjacent to the Decker Sports and Recreation Center and the new centralized dining facility in Mary Fisher Hall. The village is designed for interaction, with prominent communal areas for students to come together to cook, share, and learn.
The Sanford J. Ungar Athenaeum is a 103,000-square-foot building that features a state-of-the-art library; a spacious open forum for performances, public discussions, and other events; classrooms; a café; an art gallery; the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity; and spaces for exercise, conversation, and quiet reflection and relaxation. The Goucher College Library in the Athenaeum includes a collection of nearly 540,000 print, electronic, and audiovisual materials, as well as access to 125 online databases and membership to more than 70,000 electronic journals. There are several special collections in the Rare Book Section, including the Mark Twain and Sara Haardt Mencken collections, and one of the world’s largest repositories of material by and about Jane Austen, as well as the college’s archives and a growing collection of political memorabilia.
In Fall 2013, the college completed the renovation of the 62,000-square-foot former Julia Rogers Library into a multidisciplinary academic center. Julia Rogers now offers technologically enhanced classrooms, laboratories, and offices for the social and physical sciences; The Exploration Hub which includes the Office of Global Education, the Career Education Office, and the office of Community-Based Learning; the Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies; the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE); two passenger elevators and improved accessibility; and a new, formal entrance plaza on the building’s Loop Road side.
A member of the NCAA Division III and the Landmark Conference, Goucher sponsors intercollegiate teams in basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The college also offers one of the region’s top co-ed equestrian teams and a variety of intramural sports. In Fall 2017, Goucher added men’s and women’s golf, raising their total of intercollegiate sports to 21. In the last 10 years, Goucher’s Gophers have either won or competed in the conference championship for men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis, and women’s tennis, as well as multiple equestrian national championships. Goucher student-athletes routinely earn prestigious awards for their combined athletic and academic achievements.
The Decker Sports & Recreation Center (SRC) features a large gymnasium, a cardio-fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and high definition flat screen TV’s, a weight training room, a racquetball and squash court, classrooms, and a multipurpose room used for aerobics and other activities. A new lighted international soccer dimension turf field, is used by the intercollegiate, club sport, and intramural programs. Other facilities include a swimming pool, eight tennis courts, five playing fields, a track, and stadium, and five miles of hiking, riding, and jogging trails.
The Haebler Memorial Chapel hosts a variety of interfaith services and is open to members of all religions. Likewise Goucher’s Hillel organization enjoys a newly refurbished space in in Heubeck hall where they host events throughout the year.
A Bold Perspective
Goucher College embraces the international, intercultural, and ecological dimensions of every discipline at every level; connects students with the communities around them in substantive, meaningful ways; and comprehensively prepares students to participate in the world of the 21st century as true global citizens.
Goucher’s vision of transcending boundaries is rooted in the belief that in the future, every academic inquiry and intellectual endeavor must have a global context. Goucher’s study abroad initiative is a crucial part of realizing that vision. A Goucher education broadens perspectives in all areas of study, engaging in heightened, intensified discourse that emphasizes international citizenry and intercultural perspectives. The college community encourages intellectual and imaginative efforts that transcend boundaries not only between disciplines, but also among individuals, cultures, and nations worldwide.
Goucher College is also committed to increasing diversity in its faculty, staff, and student body. Through an expanded consciousness of what diversity means and how it may be attained, the community works toward an environment of inclusiveness and mutual respect, emphasizing the discussion and critical evaluation of every point of view in order to reach a balanced understanding of the common challenges we face. In order to sustain, invigorate, and expand the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the campus community, Goucher draws on the resources and experience of its vital extended community, including its more than 22,000 valued alumnae/i.
Goucher College is dedicated to a liberal arts education that prepares students within a broad, humane perspective for a life of inquiry, creativity, and critical and analytical thinking.
The college’s principal objectives are to help each student master significant areas of knowledge and skills while developing an appreciation for individual and cultural diversity, a sense of social responsibility, and a system of personal and professional ethics.
Goucher believes these goals are best achieved in an environment that responds to students both as individuals and as members of multiple groups. Accordingly, education at Goucher is based on an expanding sense of community a community where discourse is valued and practiced, where students attend small classes and interact closely with faculty and one another, and where students can participate in and lead extracurricular programs.
In undertaking this mission, Goucher recognizes the centrality of four curricular and extracurricular themes:
1. Scholarship and academic excellence in traditional disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, mathematics, and the arts;
2. An interdisciplinary approach to important areas that cross or transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines, including world peace, the environment, and the nature of knowledge;
3. An international outlook extending liberal arts education beyond Western cultures to encompass the perspectives and achievements of other members of the world community; and
4. Commitment to experiential learning on and off campus as well as abroad, requiring students to apply and extend what has been learned in the classroom.
Who We Are
Goucher College is a community of individuals who value learning, self-expression, and diversity. We the students, staff, and faculty of the Goucher community support one another even as we recognize our differences. Each community member contributes to and, in turn, is enriched by
- the Goucher community,
- the communities of metropolitan Baltimore,
- our home communities, and
- the communities of the world.
As members of a dynamic community that is constantly in transition and continuously seeking improvement, we strive to live out the commitments that make us a community and to foster the potential we see in each other.
While working, studying, and traveling on behalf of Goucher, we recognize that we represent the Goucher community, and we will conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects the following commitments:
Respect: We will treat everyone within our community with respect and learn from our differences. When conflicts arise, we will work together to come up with mutually beneficial resolutions. We also commit to respect and protect the environment on our campus and in the world.
Inclusion: We will acknowledge and embrace the unique gifts and differences of our community members. Furthermore, we seek to include those who may feel excluded.
Communication: We will communicate with the intent to listen and learn from others while placing a premium on maintaining a safe space for those involved. We will create opportunities for dialogue so that a variety of voices can be heard.
Service and Social Justice: We value active participation in bettering the Goucher community as well as those communities beyond the college where we live, work, and serve. In addition, we seek to understand the issues of privilege and oppression that exist in these communities.
Responsibility: We understand that we are accountable for our own actions, opinions, and beliefs, and for ensuring that our actions are conducive to the safety and well-being of others.
Who We Are Becoming
Goucher College aspires to become the model for an accessible and transformational education that integrates curricular and co-curricular learning. From this process, graduates are prepared to define and solve complex problems in collaboration with people whose views are different from their own and live fully engaged lives in a rapidly changing world.