Haverford was founded in 1833 as Haverford School by a group of New York and Philadelphia Quakers who sought to create an institution of learning grounded in Quaker values. Though we are nonsectarian today, our Quaker roots influence many of our values and processes.
In the beginning, a seven-member faculty educated 21 Quaker boys in Greek, Latin, natural and moral philosophy, mathematics, and literature in that first year. Students lived, ate, and took classes in Founders Hall, a building that currently houses meeting rooms, faculty offices, and College administration, including the Office of the President.
By the turn of the 20th century, Haverford had become a national institution, competing for students and faculty with leading institutions in the nation. Although Haverford began admitting women as first-year undergraduate students only in 1980, Haverford's commitment to educating women began as early as 1917 and has been greatly strengthened by cooperation with Bryn Mawr College, which was also founded by Orthodox Friends. Today, women comprise half of Haverford's student body, and the Bi-College (Bi-Co) relationship continues to enrich the academic, cultural, and extracurricular offerings of both institutions.
Haverford has evolved into a college with both a wide-ranging academic program (students study topics from Biophysics to Peace and Conflict Studies, though we still offer Latin) and a diverse scholarly community. Today, with over 100 faculty members and a coeducational student body, Haverford enrolls nearly 1200 students each year representing a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds and a wide geographic area.
Learn More About Haverford's History
To read more about how we got to where we are today, visit the Library's Histories of the College site.