Arcadia University—From 1853 to 2012

Arcadia University is a top-ranked, comprehensive private university providing a distinctively global, integrative and personal learning experience to its students, preparing them for careers in a rapidly changing, increasingly diverse global economy. More than 2,200 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate students study at our Glenside, King of Prussia, and Christiana (DE) campuses in more than 80 fields of study, and another 3,500 students a year study in Arcadia University programs in 75 cities around the world.

Arcadia University was founded in 1853 in the town of Beaver in western Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh. At that time in our nation’s history, it was rare that women would have access to higher education. They were not thought to have a capacity for intellectual pursuits equal to that of men, so the education of girls was usually limited to reading, writing, a smattering of French, drawing, painting, music and embroidery. Rejecting these societal limits, the founders of the Beaver Female Seminary opened a “Seminary of Learning for the education of female youths in the arts, sciences and literature.”

In recognition of its quality, the school was awarded collegiate status in 1872 by the Pennsylvania Legislature, and its name was changed to Beaver College and Musical Institute. Five decades later, in 1925, its Board of Trustees saw that the center of commerce, government and industry was shifting to the east and took the bold step of moving the College to Jenkintown, Pa. Just a few years later, recognizing the school’s potential for growth, the trustees purchased the Harrison Estate in Glenside, and Grey Towers Castle has been the institution’s enduring symbol ever since. In 1972, Beaver College became coeducational and in 2001, it became Arcadia University, having been granted university status by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

True to its traditions of access and excellence, 32 percent of this year’s entering class will be the first in their families to graduate from college, 38 percent are recipients of Pell Grants, and 52 percent come from families with adjusted gross family incomes of less than $80,000 per year. Proving our commitment to producing globally-aware citizens, 82 percent of the graduating Class of 2011 had used their passports while at Arcadia. And demonstrating our excellence, Arcadia’s Physical Therapy Program is rated one of the top 15 in the country, our Physician Assistant students scored in the top fourth percentile on the national board exams, and our Forensic Science program is one of the first accredited programs in the world.

Contact Us

Office of the President
Grey Towers Castle
450 S. Easton Road
Glenside, PA 19038

Strategic Plan Report 2013-18
View 2013-2018
Strategic Plan