Wilkes University is a private, non-denominational American university located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It has over 2,200 undergraduates and over 2,200 graduate students (both full and part-time). Wilkes was founded in 1933 as a satellite campus of Bucknell University, and became an independent institution in 1940, naming itself Wilkes College, after English radical politician John Wilkes. The school was granted university status in 1990.
The school mascot, which was suggested by Wilkes student Joe Pringle (class of 1949), is a Colonel and the official colors are blue and yellow. The campus symbol is a letter "W" known as the "flying W" by students and alumni.
History and Expansion
Wilkes University was first established in 1933 by Bucknell University under the name "Bucknell Junior College" (BUJC) in Wilkes-Barre. BUJC attracted many students who were the first members of their families to benefit from higher education. The Junior College also received support from leading members of the Wilkes-Barre community.
In 1947, Wilkes College was instituted as an independent, nondenominational four-year college, with programs in the arts, sciences, and a number of professional fields as well as numerous extracurricular activities. Wilkes was given university status in 1990.
More recently college programs were significantly expanded. Wilkes College opened the School of Pharmacy in 1996, and in 1999, through a donation from Mrs. Geraldine Nesbitt Orr, the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy at Wilkes University was established.
The Jay S. Sidhu School of Business & Leadership was created in 2004. Students in the university's business program are required to take courses across several schools with the intent to provide an emotional education in addition to the typical business experience.
In 2005, the Henry Student Center was expanded and the University purchased an 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) building in downtown Wilkes-Barrel This building serves as the Wilkes University communications center, housing the registrar, bursar, indoor track and field, and ropes course.
Passan Hall at Wilkes University houses the infirmary, where a nurse can be consulted by any student who is ill.
The university offers many majors in science, education, engineering, business, and liberal arts for undergraduate and graduate students. These academic programs are divided among four colleges.
The school's Nesbitt College of Pharmacy and Nursing is one of seven pharmacy schools in Pennsylvania. The Wilkes Graduate Teacher Education Program hosts classes online and at classroom sites across Pennsylvania. Some of the Wilkes Graduate Teacher Education Programs are hosted entirely online. The university sponsors academically focused lectures each year. The Max Rosenn Lecture Series in Law and Humanities was established in the 1980s, and brought many speakers to the university including author Norman Mailer, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and journalist Bob Woodward. The Allan P. Kirby Lecture in Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship has also hosted speakers including journalist and television host John Stossel, and former New York Governor George Pataki.
As part of the Wilkes Vision 2010 master plan, the university plans to study the feasibility of a Law School to "add to Wilkes prestige and develop an alumni base over time". The university was apparently moving forward with this effort, as is noted in the college corner of The Weekender, week of January 11, 2008 edition. Recently, the University in 2010 announced that it would suspend moving forward with this plan for economic reasons and focus more on the sciences.
The Wilkes University Colonels compete in NCAA Division III athletics. The university is a member of the Middle Atlantic Conference in all sports except wrestling. In wrestling, the Colonels compete in the Metropolitan Wrestling Conference. Wilkes' teams compete in 14 intercollegiate sports: baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, men's soccer, women's soccer, softball, women's tennis, men's tennis, volleyball and men's and woman's cross country
The softball team won the Middle Atlantic Conference region in 2006.
The football team were Middle Atlantic Conference Champions for the 2006 season.
The men's tennis team won 3 individual MAC Championship titles as well as 1 Doubles title on top of making a consistent appearance in the MAC Team Tournament which will be a record other teams will try to accomplish as well.
From the 1975 to 2000, the Wilkes' wrestling team was a Division I squad, wrestling in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association.
In the 2007-2008 Men's Basketball Season they went 13-12 overall and finished fourth in the conference. They made the playoffs and lost in the first round to the top seeded team, Desales.
In 2007 the Wilkes University Colonels Baseball Team were Freedom Conference MAC Champions, led by Coaches: Folek, Bavitz, Klinetob, Lipton, and Toomey
Its most recent All American is Florida Native Felipe Queiroz in 2006 in Wrestling.
In the mid- to late 1960s the Wilkes College football program ran off 32 straight wins—the fourth longest streak in college football history at the time. It began in the fourth game of the 1965 season and ended in 1969. From a 34-0 victory over Ursinus to a 13-7 loss to Ithaca. Rollie Schmidt coached the Colonels from 1962-81. His teams went 90-73-1 winning five MAC titles, two Lambert Bowls (best small college team in the East) and one Timmie Award (best small college team in the country).
In 2008 both the men's soccer team and the women's field hockey team competed in the ECAC Southern Region Tournament.
In 2008 the women's field hockey team was ranked 18th in the nation by the NCAA
In 2008 field hockey players Kerry Battersby and Gina Elmy were both honored by womensfieldhockey.com. Battersby was honored as a third team All American player, while Elmy included in the All-Rookie squad.
For over 60 years Wilkes University has been the host of the Annual High School Mathematics Contest as sponsored by the Luzerne County Council of Teachers of Mathematics (LCCTM). Every year juniors and seniors from Luzerne County high schools come to Wilkes University to participate in the competition. The first place winner in both the junior and senior divisions are awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Wilkes University. The 64th Annual High School Mathematics Contest was held on Saturday, April 21, 2012.
The Wilkes University Math and Computer Science Department hosts the Eastern Pennsylvania division of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the annual ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. Wilkes University has been host to the event for the last 5 years. A total of 8 schools host teams in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Annually, hundreds of Pennsylvania high school students attend this annual media oriented event. Each year features a notable keynote speaker, hands-on workshops in the areas of telecommunications, journalism and public relations and panel discussions and presentation from media professionals and personalities. A high school journalism contest and awards ceremony is also a main event.
The Visual and Performing Arts Department presents four shows annually at the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts.
Many residence halls are located in 19th century mansions that were donated to the university, or other houses purchased by the university. Over 11 mansion and house style residence halls are currently in use.
Apartment style residences are found in University Towers and Rifkin Hall.
Non-apartment Residence halls include Catlin Hall, Doane Hall, Evans Hall, Ross Hall, Roth Hall, Schiowitz Hall, Sterling Hall, Sturdevant Hall, Sullivan Hall, University Towers, Waller Halls (North and South), and Weiss Hall. First year and second year students are required to live in residence halls (unless he or she is a commuter), and can live off-campus starting their third year.
Traditional dormitory /residence life housing is provided at Evans Residence Hall. With four floors and about 200 students, Evans Residence Hall is the largest first-year student residential hall on the Wilkes University campus. This building is unique among the campus residential halls in that it provides air conditioning and a shared bathroom between every two rooms. Renovated in 2008, Chesapeake and Delaware Residence Halls were re-dedicated as Lawrence W. Roth Residence Hall, a residential hall connecting the previously separate Chesapeake and Delaware Residence Halls. It is a first year student, non-traditional residential hall house about seventy residents and three RAs.
Students living on campus enjoy laundry facilities, basic cable, and local phone service all free of charge. .
Wilkes has an active student media, including a television station within the Shelburne Telecommunication Center "[Wilkes Now]", FM radio station WCLH, weekly newspaper [The Beacon], and yearbook Amnicola.
Numerous student-run clubs are recognized and funded by the student government. Many of the clubs are athletically focused, representing sports including Crew, Lacrosse, Running, Skiing, Volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee. Clubs associated with academics and majors represent Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, and Pre-Pharmacy. Other clubs are formed around common interests such as Animal Advocacy, Vegetarianism, Anime, and Robotics.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Wilkes University Programming Board hosted PA based bands such as Live and Fuel, and national favorites including Alanis Morissette, Rusted Root, Joan Osborne, Dashboard Confessional, Lifehouse, Busta Rhymes, Hoobastank, Jack's Mannequin and Billy Joel. In March 2011 they hosted Yellowcard. In May 2012, they hosted Mac Miller.
The Student Government at Wilkes hosts many annual events for undergraduates. Among these are a Homecoming Pep Rally, Homecoming Dance, Fall Casino Night, Winter Weekend,Spring Casino Night, and Spring Fling. Ian Foley is currently the Student Government President. The Tri Council, comprising Commuter Council, Off Campus Council, Inter-Residence Hall Council, Programming Board, and Multi-Cultural Student Coalition, also put on additional events throughout the Spring and Fall Semesters. Among these are a Fall and Spring Study Break Party, and Spring Block Party.
Detachment 752 of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps is located at Wilkes University. Established in 1973, AF ROTC Detachment 752 has trained and prepared hundreds of young men and women for future careers as USAF officers. The detachment is currently located in Slocum Hall. The detachment serves 12 other crosstown colleges and universities in Northeast Pennsylvania to include Bloomsburg University, East Stroudsburg University, Keystone College, Lackawanna College, King's College, Luzerne County Community College, Marywood University, Misericordia University, University of Scranton, Penn State Worthington-Scranton, Penn State Hazleton, and Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
Students may use university-owned athletic facilities, and are also given a free membership to the Wilkes-Barre YMCA which provides a pool, gym, racquetball courts, basketball courts and other athletic facilities.
As first year freshmen, students living on and off campus are permitted access to Wilkes University parking lots. The UCoM Parking, hosted by the public safety garage, runs about $120 per semester for students. Many incoming freshmen who decide to bring their car their freshmen year find themselves parking in the Ralston Field Parking lot, which runs approximately $40 per semester. All costs are added directly into the student's tuition; cost is NOT upfront. Other parking units include: Chase, Library, Weckesser, Temple Israel, Henry Student Center, Passan, Creative Printing, Marts, Gutman, Barnum, and West River Street. These garages are also open to commuter students, who may also park on public streets.
Most of the academic buildings are located within the same city block, between South River Street, South Franklin Street, South Street, and Northhampton Street. The Stark Learning Center (SLC), located on South River Street, is the largest building on campus. It houses offices and classrooms for the university's science, math, engineering programs, and some art classes. The first floor contains the Sordoni Art Gallery, which hosts four exhibitions each year, and maintains a permanent collection with several hundred pieces. Classrooms and offices for humanities and social sciences are located in Breiseth Hall, a three story building located on South Franklin Street, in the same block as SLC. Kirby Hall, a mansion formerly home to Fred Morgan Kirby, was renovated to house offices and classrooms for English and communications programs.
In 2005, the university acquired the former Wilkes-Barre Call Center building and parking garage on South Main Street. The parking garage is currently being used for student and faculty parking. The Public Safety department has remodeled and relocated to the basement of the garage. The "Call Center" building was renovated and renamed "University Center on Main". The building now houses recreation facilities including tennis and basketball courts, and a rock climbing wall. Many student services offices have been reorganized and relocated to this building in a move to cut costs and provide students with more knowledgeable support staff. This move resulted in a net reduction of 7 full-time positions.
The university purchased the University Towers apartment complex located at 10 East South Street from a private real estate company for $8.1 million. Approximately 400 students are housed in this building's 130 units.
The university partnered with neighboring King's College, Pennsylvania to operate a joint for-profit bookstore in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The new bookstore opened October 17[when?] consolidating two independent bookstores previously run by Follett Higher Education Group, on behalf of the respective schools. The new bookstore, run by Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, is located in the basement and first floor of the Innovation Center @ Wilkes-Barre. The first floor includes a Starbucks cafe. The store is also accessible via the web.