Denison University was founded by the Ohio Baptist Education Society in 1831 as the Granville Literary and Theological Institution. After the school relocated to an area overlooking Granville, it accepted a $10,000 donation from local farmer William Denison, adopting his name as a thank-you. Ol’ Billy Denison later took back part of that promised cash, saying he couldn’t afford it after his recent remarriage. (Hey, women are expensive!) The school was originally all-male, but it went coeducational in 1900 when it absorbed the Shepardson College for Women. Though it began as a Baptist institution, the university no longer has any religious affiliation.
The school has a pretty big budget for keeping campus in superb condition, so there are a slew of renovated and mint-condition buildings. The thousand-acre main campus is pretty compact, so class-hopping is quick and easy. The academic buildings are positioned in the middle of College Hill, with residential halls on the east and west sides. Campus is laid out in clustered buildings, with the Academic Quadrangle, Campus Common Quadrangle, Science Quadrangle, and Fine Arts Quadrangle.
Even though Denison is small (around 2,100 undergrads), campus is laid out to make it appear and feel larger. The seasons are beautiful. Denison is a very arborous campus, and the trees turn beautiful colors in the fall and spring. It is Ohio, however, and it gets pretty cold here in the winter months, especially since Denison is built on a hill. At least the snow is pretty--most of the time. One of the best things about Denison is that since the campus has such a gorgeous landscape, a lot of people spend time outside on the quads during the warm months, playing Frisbee, laying out, cooking out, drinking, etc. During these times there is a real sense of community, which I think is awesome.
Denison is located on a hill overlooking the rural village of Granville, Ohio. Its roughly 4,000 locals welcome students, and the sleepy town can be a fun (and really safe) place to explore. Other than a few restaurants and coffee shops, there isn't much to do in Granville, especially after 6 p.m. Students generally stay on campus or head to nearby Easton or Columbus for nighttime entertainment.
The town around the school is tiny and quaint, and most of the residents eager to invite a lost student to dinner or offer a bed off-campus if you really need a vacation (I've been here for only one year, and both of those things have been offered). But if you need a big-city fix, downtown Columbus is an easy 25-minute drive off-campus. Every weekend, my friends and I go to clubs on High Street (the gallery district that has GREAT shopping and places to chill).
A lot of students go to Easton Shopping Center, which is about 25 minutes away. Easton is really popular, and it’s a really good place to take a date. Easton has tons of stores and restaurants, and it’s one of those really cute outdoor malls with twinkle-lights illuminating everything. There is also a movie theater there. A good night out is going to Easton for dinner and then seeing a movie. Denison is also right outside the towns of Newark and Heath, which are no Eastons but are really convenient. There is a Target, Wal-mart, Chipotle, Michael's, Best-Buy, Olive Garden, Office Max, Giant Eagle, liquor stores, a mall with a movie theater, etc.--basically, whatever you want. And if you're really feeling adventurous you can head into Columbus or visit some friends at Ohio State, only about 35 minutes away.
Legend has it that students who step on the school seal outside Swasey Chapel won’t graduate on time, so steer clear!
Denison hosts multiple concerts a year, including Culture Jam and D-Day, with local and national artists.
The Greek houses have regular events that have become annual traditions involving games, competitions, and other activities ranging from one-night affairs to week-long engagements.
The One-Act Festival is a student-written and produced sketch show. Students submit their scripts, and the winning acts are performed for the student body.
Joe Banner (1975) is the President and CEO of the NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
George Bodenheimer (1980) is the president of ABC Sports and ESPN.
Steve Carell (1984) is an actor who plays on NBC’s The Office and has starred in films such as in Little Miss Sunshine, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Evan Almighty, and Get Smart.
Jennifer Garner (1994) has starred in the TV show Alias and has acted in Juno, 13 Going on 30, Catch Me if You Can, Daredevil, and Catch and Release.
Terrell Jones (1970) is the founder of Travelocity.
Denison is an NCAA Division III school and member of the North Coast Athletic Conference. They have won ten NCAC All-Sports Championships and hold the conference record for the most championship titles. The men’s and women’s swimming programs have been successful recently, and the squash team is also a powerful divisional competitor. The best-attended sports games are the lacrosse and soccer games against their rival, Ohio Wesleyan University.
Denison is a member of the Five Colleges of Ohio consortium and the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
A freshman notes, “Unusual: Lots of turkey buzzards.”
Granville is home to some Indian mounds surrounded by intense Native American folklore.
Denison has 13 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A few campus buildings are allegedly haunted, including Barney-Davis, the old Beta House, and the seventh floor of the library.
All Denison students are required to live on campus in the slightly rundown dorms. Rooms range from singles to quads, and there are also apartment-style suites that have room for up to nine people with common living areas and kitchens. The Homestead offers a quirky alternative to the usual dorms and apartment-style residences. It is a student-run ecologically-sustainable setup where twelve students live, cook, garden, and work to take care of their uber-green mini-community.
The dorms are dirty, moldy and fungus-ee - the school does not change the carpets enough, which state schools are bound to do. But they build new alumni attractions, hence the stereotype that they care more for money than students. And 99 percent of students live on campus since they are not allowed to do anything else. Thus, they have no rights and get bossed around by security. My sophomore-year roommate went the hospital for a week (along with other friends) because of the poor conditions of the dorms.
Explore the Homestead! It’s the ecological community in the woods behind campus. It is beautiful, they do great things, and they have great parties...the best on campus!