Lebanon Valley College
Lebanon Valley College is a private, co-educational college situated on 340 beautiful acres in Annville, Pennsylvania, just eight miles east of Hershey. The College is distinguished by its innovative, high-impact, and collaborative learning experiences. Our faculty and students advance programs and research that improve lives around the world.
The College provides broad and challenging curricular offerings that include majors supported by technology with global reach. Our culture is one of warm, respectful, and supportive relationships that promote personal growth through creative risk taking. There is a College-wide devotion to community outreach.
Our aim is to educate graduates who are thoughtful, confident, adaptable, and prepared—to excel in their careers and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
A Brief History of Lebanon Valley College
On February 22, 1866, the East Pennsylvania Conference of the United Brethren Church accepted the gift of the Annville Academy on condition that "an institution of learning of high grade" be maintained. Five public-minded citizens of Annville had purchased the academy for $4,500 and donated it to the conference. The school, which was the first co-ed institution east of the Alleghenies, was named Lebanon Valley College for the broad valley between the Blue and South mountains stretching from the Schuylkill to the Susquehanna rivers.
George Washington Miles Rigor and Thomas Rhys Vickroy opened the institution on May 9, 1866. Vickroy served as president and Rigor as agent, and together they recruited faculty, developed the curriculum, and purchased additional acreage. The College added various literary societies, residential and academic buildings, and intercollegiate athletics for men and women during the following four decades and five presidencies.
Lebanon Valley College benefited from stability during four long administrations during the 20th century: George D. Gossard, 1912–1932; Clyde A. Lynch, 1932–1950; Frederick K. Miller, 1951–1967; and Frederick P. Sample, 1968–1983. Gossard accumulated a million-dollar endowment, achieved accreditation by the Middle States Association of College and Schools, and organized a Conservatory of Music. When Gossard died, Lynch was called on to face challenges resulting from the Great Depression and World War II. Lynch managed to expand the campus by purchasing adjacent properties and raised a half-million dollars for a gymnasium and other institutional purposes. He also witnessed enrollment increase from 200 to 800 following World War II.
During the presidencies of Miller and Sample, enrollment stabilized from post-war highs to approximately 600 in the 1950s. A new wave of students raised enrollment toward 1,100 by 1974–1975.
Miller took the lead in constructing new dormitories and initiated a series of other buildings including a new library, student center, music center, science center, and chapel. He also added Kreiderheim as the official presidential residence. Successful fund-raising campaigns accompanied Miller’s and Sample’s efforts, culminating in the Fund for Fulfillment: Phase II, which surpassed $10 million in 1983.
Sample’s retirement in 1983 brought to the helm Arthur L. Peterson, who capped the liberal arts curriculum with a leadership studies program. Deteriorating health forced Peterson’s resignation in 1987. During the last year of his tenure, the Arnold Sports Center opened.
John A. Synodinos become the 15th president of Lebanon Valley College on July 1, 1988. Synodinos' administration was one of growth and change with the introduction of merit scholarships and the renovation of a substantial portion of the campus. With the assistance of William J. McGill, senior vice president and dean of the faculty emeritus, academic excellence continued to be emphasized and collaborative learning experiences developed. The Vernon and Doris Bishop Library opened in January 1996.
On July 1, 1996, G. David Pollick became the College’s 16th president. During his tenure, Pollick oversaw a 30 percent increase in enrollment, improved freshmen retention, increased student academic quality, and introduced eight new undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He also instituted the start of the $50 million Great Expectations Campaign.
Stephen C. MacDonald was named as the College’s 17th president on October 8, 2004, after having served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty since 1998. During his LVC tenure, MacDonald led the faculty as they developed new academic offerings, including two master’s programs, the College’s first doctoral program, and several undergraduate programs. In 2001, he helped develop the College’s inaugural First-Year Seminar program to enhance writing and interdisciplinary learning for all incoming freshmen.
MacDonald guided the Great Expectations campaign past the $55 million mark, and oversaw more than $56 million in major capital projects that expanded and enhanced the campus. These improvements included the exterior restoration of the Humanities/Administration Building, construction of the Stanson Residence Hall, and the renovation of three major campus spaces—Lynch Memorial Hall, Allan W. Mund College Center, and Neidig-Garber Science Center. He retired on July 30, 2012 after 14 years at LVC.
On August 1, 2012, Dr. Lewis E. Thayne became the 18th president of Lebanon Valley College. Like LVC’s 15th president, John Synodinos, Thayne came to LVC from Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) where he was also vice president for college advancement.
Today, Lebanon Valley College enrolls more than 1,600 full-time undergraduate students. A key tenet of the College’s mission is “to enable our students to become people of broad vision, capable of making informed decisions, and prepared for a life of service to others.”
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)