Hood College, located in Frederick, Maryland, was established in 1893, when the Mercersburg College in nearby Pennsylvania disbanded, becoming a strictly male academy with the women’s school relocating below the Mason-Dixon (both schools were chartered by what would become the United Church of Christ). Looking to establish a school for “creating and maintaining a college for the promotion and advancement of women, and the cultivation and diffusion of Literature, Science, and Art”, their first graduating class, in 1897, saw 14 women receive Bachelor of Arts degrees.
As of today, the college has a coed student body of almost 2500 Bachelor and Master degree seekers, about 1500 of them undergrads. Hood began accepting male commuter students by 1971 and though this met with initial opposition in the community and among the female student body, their first male graduate is at this school to this day, teaching Journalism and directing the Communications program. As of 2003, residential males were included and the college became officially coeducational.
The school, now 50 acres, offers 28 undergraduate majors (with 20 concentrations and another 44 minors of study) as well as 14 graduate programs, and a number of certification and post-baccalaureate programs, though no distance learning to really speak of. With recognition for their Natural Science programs, Hood practices a belief in a “strong foundation in the liberal arts [providing] the best possible preparation for personal and professional success”, integrating a broad general education into all majors, with a wide variety of minors to adjust to all students educational desires. Popular majors range from Education (seven fields of secondary education certification are offered) to Biology and the school offers both B.A. and B.S. degrees.
The graduate school numbers about 1000 Master’s and certification seekers, with programs offering the same high academic quality and small class sizes as undergrads. Offering Master’s in Arts, Science and Education, they utilize evenings and weekends, as well as accelerated summer formats, to get adults further degrees on a flexible timetable (summer students can often complete graduate certificate programs in one semester). Hood also works with grad students financially, offering a bargain tuition cost and getting many area employers to pay part or full tuition for their enrolled employees.
Both programs offer a 13:1 student faculty ratio, again offering that small school attention, and most full-time professors (95% actually) hold a doctorate in their fields. Internships are also an important part of Hood’s curriculum, taking advantage of their location to nearby Washington DC and Baltimore to offer creditable work programs with everyone from the National Institutes of Health to CNN to the White House.
Maintaining a highly awarded reputation over its 115+year history, Hood summarizes their college experience with six words: Brainy, Practical, Charming, Surprising, Friendly, and Exciting. These words describe the essence of a college that has always looked to create a community whereby a diverse assortment of coed students can prepare for “lives of responsibility and leadership” in a program rife with tradition and excellence.