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Washington County PA 

Contributed by Judith Florian to the Washington County PAGenWeb


From the 2007 W & J Convocation Address

September 3, 2007
Olin Fine Arts Center

Read the entire address

"Good Ole W&J"


"By the time of the civil war, however, there were not enough young men to keep both colleges financially solvent, and the two decided to join.  But this was not a comfortable marriage. Most of the boys of Washington were Northern sympathizers and most of those from Jefferson fought for the Confederacy.  There were sword duels on campus-no one was killed, but blood was shed.  Gradually, however, the College healed and a new community was born, a community where you can be sure that there were lively debates, bitter arguments, and searching discussions, but gradually there was also respect. 

Reinfused with new energy by the union of the two colleges, W&J went on to weather WWI ("the war to end all wars"), the Spanish-American War, WWII and the Korean War.  Enrollment fluctuated, as the country's men were called to service or released to private lives.  The size of the student body hit a low point during World War II, when in 1945 only 143 men attended the College.  But the end of hostilities and the passage of the GI Bill allowed the College to bounce back to its normal size of about 1100 students once again in the 1950's.  It wasn't long, however, until the Viet Nam conflict once again drew young men away from college and enrollment here dropped to about 800 students in the 1960's. In response, W&J considered a truly drastic step-adding women. 

Of course, there had been female students associated with W&J for some time.  The Washington Female Seminary, located near Davis, was founded in 1836 and continued until 1948.  The Seminary (you know it as "The Sem" in the song "Good Ole W&J") had a reputation in its day for being different from most female seminaries.  Rather than being a finishing school, it provided a rigorous academic curriculum, often calling upon W&J faculty as teachers for its advanced courses.  After the Seminary's closure, W&J continued to have the occasional woman as a part-time or special student, usually a faculty wife. "




Index for The Washington Female Seminary



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Page added Jan 2, 2009.

Tiny Fact: Washington PA got the nickname "Little Washington" to distinguish it from Washington, DC.

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