Franklin College (Indiana)

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Franklin College
Franklin College(IN) seal.svg
Motto Relentlessly Pursue
Type Private Liberal Arts and Sciences College
Established 1834
Affiliation American Baptist Churches USA
Endowment $83 million[1]
President Thomas J. Minar, PhD
Academic staff
79 full time; 38 part time
Students 1000
Location Franklin, Indiana, USA
Campus 207 acres (0.84 km2)
Athletics NCAA Division III
Colors Navy blue and Old gold          
Nickname Grizzlies
Franklin College(IN) logo.svg
Old Main

Franklin College is a residential, liberal arts institution founded in 1834 in Franklin, Indiana. It has a wooded campus spanning 207 acres including athletic fields and a 31-acre biology woodland. The college offers its more than 1,000 students Bachelor of Arts degrees in more than 50 majors from 24 academic disciplines, 42 minors, 11 pre-professional programs and five cooperative programs. The college also offers a Master of Science degree in athletic training. In 1842, the college began admitting women, becoming the first coeducational institution in Indiana and the seventh in the nation. Franklin College has historically maintained an affiliation with the American Baptist Churches USA.


Franklin College was originally founded as Indiana Baptist Manual-Labor Institute,[2] a manual labor college.


Located in Franklin, the college's 207-acre (0.84 km2) campus includes an athletic park and a 31-acre (130,000 m2) woodland for biology study. Nearly all the buildings on campus are placed around an ellipse known as Dame Mall, named after John Dame, the first-ever graduate of Franklin College.

A majority of campus activity happens in the Napolitan Student Center, which is home to the dining hall, the college bookstore, a large atrium, convenience store known as Ben's Den, student activity center, security office, conference rooms, counseling and health center, and the Branigin Room, which is used for lectures, award ceremonies and community functions. Another common place for activities is the Spurlock Center, which contains a fitness center, gymnasium, indoor track, the athletic hall of fame and athletic offices. This is also where pep rallies, school assemblies, commencement and numerous presentations involving guest speakers are held.

Educational buildings[edit]

  • Old Main, the iconic clock tower located at the campus entrance, holds classes for most subjects, the technology help center, computer labs and Custer Theatre where choir concerts and other functions take place. This building was almost completely destroyed by a fire on April 21, 1985. At the top of the first flight of stairs in the front is a wooden stand with a bust of Benjamin Franklin that is known for having paint rubbed off its nose due to students touching it (college legend says doing so before class will bring good luck).[citation needed]
  • Barnes Hall is where most lab science classes are held which used to be marked by the greenhouse next to it.
  • Johnson Center for Fine Arts, called JCFA for short, is where fine art and leadership classes are held. School plays also are performed here at the Theatre Margot.
  • Shirk Hall, where journalism classes are held and is home to a radio station, 89.5 WFCI and The Franklin, the college's weekly student-run newspaper.
  • Hamilton Library, the campus library with a 24-hour computer lab, auditorium, Academic Resource Center, Silent Study area (2nd floor) and Disability Services.
  • The Annex, a one-classroom house right off campus near the football field.

Old Main and Shirk Hall were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[3]

Residence buildings[edit]

  • Elsey Hall, a predominately freshmen dormitory that has exclusively double rooms (with the exception of RA rooms, but others can use one as a single for a fee). Originally, it was the only female dormitory on campus and Elsey is connected to the four Panhellenic suites belonging to the three (formerly four) sororities.
  • Hoover-Cline, two buildings connected by a glass tunnel and located in the center of campus. Provides singles, doubles and quads (exclusive to Hoover).
  • Johnson-Dietz, for upperclassmen only, Johnson-Dietz is two separate buildings and popular due to the residential suites with bay windows that are occupied by 3-4 people. Many on campus refer to it as "The Sections" because several suited are grouped in a particular section marked by a letter.
  • Dietz Center, for upperclassmen only, single rooms and suites are available here. Popular for its environment, this building is also used for community purposes.

All campus-owned residence halls have air-conditioning, host events organized by RAs and starting with the 2012-2013 year, Wi-Fi and free laundry will also be available. Each of the fraternities also has its own house; numerous other houses on campus are reserved for upperclassmen. Three of them have recently been turned into specialty houses called La Casa (founded 2011, exclusively Spanish-speaking), Chez FC (founded 2012, exclusively-French speaking) and the Martin Luther King Beloved Community (founded 2012, for students involved in the Interfaith Youth Core on campus).

Greek life[edit]

Franklin College is home to five fraternities and three sororities that are active. It's estimated that 40% of Franklin College students are involved in Greek Life.[citation needed] Of the fraternities, only three out of the four provide on-campus housing, whereas the sororities use reserved Panhellenic suites owned by the college for meetings, ceremonies and other activities. The Greek community plays an active role on campus and hold multiple philanthropic events throughout the year.

The fraternities (all active except Phi Delta Theta) include Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Indiana Alpha; 1892–present), Phi Delta Theta (Indiana Delta; 1860– Suspended 2016), Kappa Delta Rho (Epsilon; 1919–present, inactive from 1972-'80), Lambda Chi Alpha (Kappa Gamma; 1924–present) and Tau Kappa Epsilon (Rho Upsilon; 1988–present).

The sororities that are currently active include Zeta Tau Alpha (Beta Theta; 1927–present), Delta Delta Delta (Delta Zeta; 1912–present) and Pi Beta Phi (Indiana Alpha; 1888–present).

At one point, Franklin College also had three additional sororities that are no longer active - Kappa Kappa Gamma (Nu; 1879-1884), Delta Gamma (Phi Alpha; 1995-2008) and Delta Zeta (Psi; 1920-1990). The seemingly abandoned third of the four Panhellenic Suites on campus was used by Delta Gamma (they used it until they closed in Fall 2008). Today, the suite is used by the fraternity without on-campus housing, Lambda Chi Alpha. In addition, benches on campus have been dedicated to both chapters and there are display cases in the Napolitan Student Center in their honor that show photos, shirts and other insignia belonging to their members.[citation needed]


The school offers major topics of study, including Journalism, Education, Art, Political Science, Theatre and Music. There are 50 majors from 24 academic disciplines, 42 minors, 11 pre-professional programs and five cooperative programs. Individualized majors and minors are also available. Franklin College places a large emphasis on the liberal arts curriculum, requiring students to reorient themselves with standard mathematics, world history, literature, English and speech skills as well as take one class in the following categories- Fine Arts, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Intercultural, International and Philosophy/Religion- regardless of their intended major and/or minor. During their first semester, new students also take a leadership seminar class. Up to 95% of students also complete at least one internship during their years at Franklin College and many majors require an internship for a semester.[citation needed]

In addition to the traditional fall and spring semesters, a month-long term in January is also held as most students wouldn't be able to acquire all necessary credits and liberal arts requirements through just the two main semesters. During this time, students can take classes for credit (one Winter Term class is required to graduate), including a few not offered during the rest of the year (topics have ranged from immigration to computer animation to Alfred Hitchcock), do internships for their majors and take travel courses to foreign countries that satisfy the international requirement for the Liberal Arts curriculum. Trips to England, France and Ireland are quite common, but other locations have included Uganda, Costa Rica, Senegal and Japan. While many students take these courses through programs offered by the college, some make arrangements through other organizations and financial aid is also available for students who plan to study in foreign countries. Though January term trips are the most common time for international travel, students also have the opportunities to stay for a semester or full year if their schedules allow it.[citation needed]


In the beginning, the Franklin College athletic teams were known as the Fighting Baptists, but it was later changed to Grizzlies in honor of Coach Ernest "Griz" Wagner. Franklin's athletic teams participate in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

During the 1920s, Franklin College gained national fame when a basketball team called the Franklin Wonder Five, after winning three state high school championships in succession, became national college champions in 1923. The team turned down an offer to play the professional Original Celtics. The fitness center was built in the 1920s specifically to accommodate the large crowds attracted to watch the team.

On November 9, 2013, in a game against Bluffton University, the Franklin football team gave up a rare and unusual scoring play often known as the "one-point safety." [4] This is one of only two known "one-point safety" occurrences in NCAA Division III football; and there are two known incidents in NCAA Division I FBS (Texas vs Texas A&M in 2004 and the other in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl). In the 3rd quarter, Bluffton scored a touchdown resulting in a 16-10 Bluffton lead; but Bluffton's PAT kick was blocked by a Franklin defender, who ran toward his end zone in an attempt to make the score 16-12 via two-point conversion.. However, he got surrounded by Bluffton players around his own 13-yard line, and lateraled the ball to one of his teammates. The ball went awry and bounced into the end zone, where a Franklin player fell on the ball. This play resulted in one point for Bluffton, expanding their lead to 17-10[5][6]. Bluffton would go on to win the game 24-17[4].

Recent Rankings[edit]

  • Ranked #1 national liberal arts college in Indiana by Washington Monthly - 2016
  • Named a best nationwide college for your money by College Factual
  • Ranked 44th top national liberal arts college in the country by Washington Monthly - 2016
  • The only Indiana college ranked in Money’s Top 50 for Most Value Added - 2015
  • Ranked 9th in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value category and 11th among Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest - 2015


Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°28′44″N 86°02′47″W / 39.47889°N 86.04639°W / 39.47889; -86.04639