Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 23:03
Photo courtesy of haverford.edu
President Daniel H. Weiss makes an address at Haverford College, where he will take the helm July 1.
An hour and a half down the Northeast Extension lies the shade of the plentiful trees and stone and brick buildings of Haverford College—awaiting the arrival of Lafayette President Daniel H. Weiss.
Both colleges are tucked away in eastern Pennsylvania, with relatively small enrollments and class sizes.
“I think the major differences are really around the personality and character of the two institutions,” Weiss said.
Haverford has a stronger academic focus, with Division III sports and no Greek Life; Lafayette is less so, with Division I sports and 10 active Greek chapters.
“While naturally there is partying, [Greek life] is not as high profile as it has been here at Lafayette,” Lafayette Math Professor Rob Root said. Root has a son that is currently a sophomore at Haverford.
Though Lafayette and Haverford may both be considered “small” institutions, Haverford has about half Lafayette’s population, clocking in just short of 1,200 students. The size of the school allows relatively balanced academic departments in arts and sciences.
The locations of the institutions play a role as well. Situated in Easton, Lafayette is one of the largest employers of the area while Haverford rests on the suburban Main Line of Philadelphia and holds fewer commitments to its community.
For Weiss, this means fewer conversations with the city, and more opportunity to communicate with the school.
Haverford also already embraces an Honor Code, which, according to their admissions website involves “the absence of RAs in dorms, 24-hour lab access, and the lack of an admission enrollment deposit.”
From an administrative point of view, Assistant Vice President for College Communications at Haverford Chris Mills explained that at a time when higher education as a whole is undergoing tremendous change, the college will welcome Weiss to dig into any topic that will help ensure Haverford remains set for the future.
“Whether one speaks of cost, curriculum or means of delivery, all assumptions about the model are being tested,” Mills said.
Root believes that Weiss’s ability to keep Lafayette doing relatively well during the financial crisis might have impressed those at Haverford, considering Haverford’s endowment was hit hard by the crisis.
“I think that the school is looking to its new president to both recoup its losses and find ways to continue to offer an excellent education within its newly restricted means,” Root said.