Diversity & Inclusion

The mission of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion is to assist Gettysburg College in the development of an integrated and sustainable strategy for creating an inclusive learning and working environment.

In addition, the Office provides leadership for the College’s initiatives to enhance the intercultural competence of faculty, staff, and students.

Diversity StatementFreedom of Expression Philosophy

Diversity and Inclusion at Gettysburg College: An Evolution

Established in 1832 by Samuel Schmucker, Gettysburg began as an all men’s institution known as Pennsylvania College. Schmucker is often labeled an abolitionist, but it is also known that his second wife held slaves in her family home. Schmucker himself was ahead of his time: he encouraged the education of women and minorities, and encouraged Daniel Alexander Payne to join the Lutheran Theological Seminary—Payne became the first African American to do so.

Since its founding, Gettysburg College has earned the reputation of a predominantly white institution, but efforts to increase the enrollment and retention of students and faculty of color began in earnest in the mid-20th century, when the presence of African Americans on campus began to grow. In 1966, College President C.A. Hanson introduced an anti-discrimination statement to safeguard equal opportunity for all students to join Greek organizations. From the 1960s onward, a number of administrative positions were created to focus on diversity, and today, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion carries on these missions, and seeks to assist the College in the development of an integrated and sustainable strategy for creating an inclusive learning and working environment.

composite featuring John Wilkerson, Myra-Anita Taylor, members of the Muslim Student Association, and Jennifer Professor Bloomquist
LEFT TO RIGHT: First African American fraternity member John Wilkerson ’62 (Alpha Chi Ro), first African American woman graduate Myra-Anita Taylor ’67 (Music Education), founding members of the Muslim Student Association in 2002, and first African American full professor Jennifer Bloomquist, in 2018.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered with Special Collections and Archives to research and document the College’s progress to date. Team: Jeanne Arnold (project sponsor); Ivana Lopez Espinosa ’19 (website).

View our diversity and inclusion timelines

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