In 2017, Grove City College remained keenly focused on reaffirming the vision, mission and values that have defined the College for more than 140 years.
“It is important to make it clear that Grove City College stands for something. We have aspired over the past year – and we will continue to strive in 2018 – to be the best Christian liberal arts college in America. We do that through a core set of values and a mission to provide an excellent education, founded in faith, that is accessible to everyone,” College President Paul J. McNulty ’80, said. “Our goal is to equip students to pursue their unique callings and encourage them in the development of the character necessary to serve the common good. With God’s help, we will continue to serve this vital purpose.”
The private Christian liberal arts college marked its 141st year in December with a milestone Giving Week campaign – the Wolverine Challenge – which raised more than $1.5 million in less than a week from more than 2,000 alumni and friends who understand the value of a Grove City College education.
It capped a year in which the College implemented an ambitious new strategic plan, saw a nearly 20 percent increase in applications, welcomed the largest freshman class in years, launched new degree programs and a new website, ended a long losing streak on the gridiron and drew national attention with a high-profile commencement speaker.
Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, delivered the keynote address at Grove City College’s commencement ceremony on May 20 in front of 606 graduates and thousands in attendance. Pence endorsed the College’s independent stance and hailed its steadfast commitment to excellence in education. Pence told graduates they had earned a degree “minted in an institution of principle and independence, and you can be proud of it your entire life.”
Pence’s visit significantly raised the College’s national profile, with outlets such as the New York Times, Fox News, CNN and Time magazine among media in attendance at the event.
Bolstering Grove City College’s reach and influence is a key component of the “Building for a Strong and Faithful Future” strategic plan, designed to guide the College in 2018 to be the best Christian liberal arts college in America.
Based on a set of core values – faithfulness, excellence, community, stewardship and independence – the plan lays out a series of goals and objectives to strengthen the brand for the future, including academic excellence, the Christian campus environment and expanding revenue opportunities that can support student success.
Efforts to achieve optimal enrollment through national recruitment initiatives and outreach to selected students coupled with $1.5 million in independently-funded, need- and merit-based student aid paid off in 2017 as Grove City College saw a nearly 20 percent increase in applications and a freshman class of 638 students, the largest in five years. Quantity was matched by quality as incoming students averaged a 3.74 GPA and SAT and ACT scores in the top 16 percent nationally.
Grove City College invested in physical and digital infrastructure last year. Over the summer, more than $4 million in improvements were recognized including a new athletic track, refurbished Olympic swimming pool, paving and other enhancements. In August, the College launched a new mobile friendly website – gcc.edu –to reach prospective students and parents, offering an intuitive and interactive digital experience into Grover life.
Also in 2017, Grove City College:
- Introduced new majors in Christian Ministries, Music Performance, Social Work and Neuroscience and 14 new minors that run the gamut from Cybersecurity to Musical Theater.
- Was again recognized as one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges by Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. Grove City College is also ranked as a top school for return on investment, undergraduate engineering, accounting, classical studies and Biblical studies and noted as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
- Saw the Wolverine football team break a three-year victory drought with a win over St. Vincent College early in the 2017 season. The accomplishment was celebrated by fans flooding the field and fireworks over the stadium. "There are moments in the life of our community that stand out as momentous, and this is one,” President McNulty said.
- Mourned the passing of its fifth president Dr. Charles S. MacKenzie, a towering figure who is credited with returning Grove City College to its Christian roots, creating the signature core curriculum and spearheading the seminal Supreme Court fight against government regulation that led to the College’s independence by its refusal to accept any federal government funding. MacKenzie died in January at age 92.
- Welcomed speakers, authors and thought leaders, including J.K.A Smith, Jonah Goldberg, David Horowitz, Charles Murray, Peggy Grande, Makoto Fujimura and Saleem Ghubril, to share their experiences and ideas with the College community.
- Named two alumni to top leadership posts. Michael Buckman ’82 joined the College as Vice President for Business and Finance and Lee Wishing III ’83, former administrative director of the Center for Vision & Values, was promoted to Vice President for Student Recruitment.
- Received a $100,000 grant from The Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust to serve children and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Grove City area and fund scholarships for students pursuing careers in special education.
- Supported student experiences through the Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation. Grove City College students racked up an impressive record at regional, national and international business pitch events, including advancing to the final round for a $100,000 prize in the e-Fest national competition.
Check out the year in photos here.