Roberts Wesleyan College

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Roberts Wesleyan College
Roberts Wesleyan College logo - 2016.png
Former names
Chili Seminary, A.M. Chesbrough Seminary, Roberts Junior College
Motto Education for Character [1]
Type Private
Established 1866
Affiliation Free Methodist Church
Endowment $23.1 million[2]
President Dr. Deana L. Porterfield
Dean Dr. Scott Caton, Dr. Cheryl Crotser, Dr. Julie Grimm, Dr. Steven Bovee, and Dr. Joseph McCarthy
Students 1,708
Location Rochester, NY, USA
Campus Suburban
Colors Red     
Athletics Division II - NCAAECC
Nickname Redhawks
Affiliations CIC
Sports Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis, Track and Field, Women's Volleyball, Swimming and Bowling
Mascot Reggie the Redhawk

Roberts Wesleyan College is a Christ-centered liberal arts college offering liberal arts and professional programs located in Rochester, New York. The college celebrated 150 years in 2016 (1866-2016).

It is the first educational institution established for Free Methodists in North America. Roberts is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, is a member of the Association of Colleges and Universities of the State of New York,[4] the Rochester Area Colleges, the Association of Free Methodist Educational Institutions, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC),[5] and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).[6]

Northeastern Seminary (NES)[7] is a graduate school of theology located on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan College. Northeastern has been fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada since 2003.[8] It is also accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[9] and the New York State Board of Regents University of the State of New York.[10]


Roberts Wesleyan College was originally established as Chili Seminary by Benjamin Titus Roberts in 1866. Roberts was a social activist who opposed slavery and oppression of the poor, and was a supporter of women's right to vote. He began the school to train young people to become servant leaders with high moral character.

In 1885, its name changed to Chesbrough Seminary in response to the $30,000 gift of benefactor A.M. Chesbrough.

Having first used a local tavern as a school, in 1869 a three story brick building was erected. There were 56 students total that year.[11]

In the fall of 1892 both Cox Hall and Roberts Hall were completed. Cox Hall was used as both class rooms and administration.[12]

Students laid a sidewalk between Cox and Roberts Hall in 1929.[13]

Carpenter Hall was opened in 1935. It was named for Miss Adella P. Carpenter who had taught at the school from 1877 to 1916.[14]

In 1945, it was renamed Roberts Junior College in honor of B.T. Roberts, the founder of both the college and the Free Methodist Church. Four years later, it was renamed as Roberts Wesleyan College to indicate the transition to a four-year baccalaureate institution and to root itself clearly within the Wesleyan theological tradition.

In 1998, Roberts Wesleyan College established Northeastern Seminary[15] as its graduate school of theology.


Roberts Wesleyan College has undergraduate (60+), graduate (13) and adult degree-completion (5) programs. The College also has a doctoral program in Clinical & School Psychology. The undergraduate programs include: Art, Business, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Communication, Mathematics and Computing, Criminal Justice, Engineering and Physics, History, Interdisciplinary, Language and Literature, Music and Performing Arts, Nursing, Pre-Health, Psychology, Religion and Philosophy, Social Work, and Teacher Education. New programs (launched 2015-16) include: English to Speakers of Other Languages, PsyD, Health Administration (online), Sports Management & Marketing, Social Work degree completion at TTI, Exercise Science and Media. At Roberts, the student to faculty ratio is 11:1.

At Northeastern Seminary, students can complete a Master of Arts in Theology, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry degree, and several certificate programs.


Official athletics logo

Roberts has 19 NCAA DII teams. The College is a dual member of two national athletics associations: the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The Redhawks are currently competing as members of the East Coast Conference (ECC); they formerly competed as members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the American Mideast Conference. Roberts offers the following varsity sports: Basketball (men and women), Cross-country (men and women), Golf (men), Lacrosse (men and women), Soccer (men and women), Tennis (men and women), indoor track and field (men and women), swimming (men and women) and women’s volleyball and bowling.

In July 2011, the college was accepted into the NCAA Division II reclassification process from the NAIA to NCAA.[16] Roberts became a full member of NCAA Division II for the 2014-15 academic year.[16] Roberts Wesleyan College is the first NCAA Division II school in the Greater Rochester Region.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°07′33″N 77°47′55″W / 43.125743°N 77.798530°W / 43.125743; -77.798530