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Mission, History and Tradition


photo of selwyn hall

 

 

Our Mission

Our mission is to inspire and educate the scholar and leader in each student, building on a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences and a commitment to the best of human values, fostering a commitment to a lifetime of service and learning.



 

Our Vision, Values, Outcomes

Our Vision: We aspire to be widely known and respected for preparing our graduates to be exceptionally successful in navigating an increasingly complex and uncertain world characterized by continuous and dramatic change. We wish, therefore, to attract students who have the capacity and the desire to be engaged members of a supportive and caring learning community that is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, includes a selection of well-integrated, professional programs, and is characterized by a strong interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to learning. We seek to excel in offering an integrative learning experience that synthesizes theory with practice, promotes critical thinking and effective self expression, and fosters in our students a commitment to a lifetime of service and learning. We challenge our students to cross boundaries and make connections among academic disciplines, campus experiences, and community. We aim to educate individuals of integrity who possess intellectual competencies and personal qualities that will enable them to take up positions of leadership and service whatever their chosen fields and thereby add to the richness, diversity and welfare of our global society.

College sealThe values that guide the Albright College community shape both classroom practice and institutional culture. In daily decisions, attitudes and relationships, the entire community models the values, virtues and skills that should be practiced by educated, discerning citizens of the world.

For generations, the words and symbols depicted on the official seal of the College have expressed and sustained those guiding values, including the values implicit in the current College mission statement. Imprinted on the seal are the words Veritas et Justitia, accompanied by the symbols of the lamp of knowledge, the open book (next to a stack of books), and the laurel wreath.

The open book affirms the value we place on academic freedom, in which all forms of truth may be pursued with rigor, candor and openness, free from external restrictions but always subject to inspection, criticism and modification according to the canons of research and reason. The open book, covering the lamp of knowledge, invites each of us to take up the book personally, light the lamp, and read for ourselves.

This lamp of knowledge, with its suggestion of enlightened guidance, thus affirms the value we place on wisdom and understanding as the basis for leadership in life, including leadership in personal, professional, religious and civic affairs.

A stack of books rests next to the lamp of knowledge, symbolizing the value we place on the interrelationship and interdependency of all forms of knowledge and on the vital contribution that every person, of whatever background or tradition, can make to the learning enterprise.

The phrase “truth and justice” points not only to the value we place on each of these ideals, but also to their mutual connectedness. We affirm that the search for knowledge should not be separated from the search for wise and just solutions in human affairs and in the conservation of the natural world. The combined pursuit of truth and justice means we honor, nurture and celebrate human diversity in all its forms and call into question whatever negates or endangers the dignity and worth of the human spirit. The laurel wreath suggests the pride that we have in our tradition of liberal arts and sciences learning and in its enduring importance. It symbolizes our desire that the passion for knowledge, wisdom, skill and virtue [arête] will serve as the basis for lifelong endeavors and achievements.

Finally, we emphasize that these values historically guided our founding in 1856 by the Evangelical Association (later, the Evangelical United Brethren Church) and continue to connect us today to the principles and ideals of higher education of the United Methodist Church.1

1See: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, “An Education Covenant of Partnership,” adopted by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, May 2000. See also the “Strategic Plan for 2006-2012” of the GBHEM, revised October 2006.

Our Outcomes: Employing an integrative approach to learning, Albright expects our students to achieve the following core outcomes:

  • Ability to ask meaningful questions about complex issues and to develop reasoned solutions
  • Capacity to think critically and with discernment
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Capacity and desire to serve community and contribute to the greater good

A Brief History of Albright College

The year 2006 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of Albright College.

Albright College is the oldest institution of higher learning in Berks County and is located on a 118-acre suburban campus nestled at the foot of Mount Penn in Reading, Pa., a city of 80,000.

The College dates its beginning to the founding of Union Seminary in 1856. The present Albright College was formed by a series of mergers with other institutions of higher learning founded in the 19th century by the Evangelical Association and the United Evangelical Church. Union and Schuylkill Seminaries were not theological seminaries, but were three-year collegiate institutes.

Albright Collegiate Institute was founded in 1895 and became Albright College in 1898. Union Seminary, founded in 1856 and rechartered as Central Pennsylvania College in 1887, merged with Albright College in 1902.  Schuylkill Seminary, founded in 1881, became Schuylkill College in 1923 and merged with Albright College in 1929.  With the merger, Albright moved from its campus in Myerstown, Pa., to Schuylkill College’s location on the present Albright campus.

Jacob Albright, after whom the College is named, was a Pennsylvania German evangelical preacher and the founder of the Evangelical Association (later the Evangelical United Brethren Church). He was born in 1759 as Johannes Jacob Albrecht. His family changed their name to Albright after his death in 1808.

The Evangelical Association was a German-speaking denomination with beliefs similar to those of the Methodist Church. “The Life and Times of Jacob Albright” by Kenneth R. Good ’47 tells the story of Jacob Albright.

The College's rigorous liberal arts curriculum has an interdisciplinary focus. Albright’s hallmarks are connecting fields of learning, collaborative teaching and learning, and a flexible curriculum that allows students to create an individualized education. Fully half of Albright students have concentrations that combine two or three fields of learning.


Religious Tradition and Affiliation with the United Methodist Church

Albright College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.  In 2005, Albright formally reaffirmed its affiliation with the Church, noting the College’s historic roots in the Evangelical and Methodist tradition, as well as a strong present-day relationship with the Eastern and Central Pennsylvania Conferences and the Wyoming Conference of the Church.

Jacob Albright, after whom the College is named, was a Pennsylvania German evangelical preacher.  (He was born in 1759 as Johannes Jacob Albrecht. His family changed their name to Albright after his death in 1808.) “The Life and Times of Jacob Albright” by Kenneth R. Good ’47 tells the story of Jacob Albright.

Greatly influenced by the teaching of the Methodist Church as a young man, Jacob Albright became the founder of the Evangelical Association, later the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The beliefs of the Evangelical Association and the Methodist Church were closely related. In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church merged to become the United Methodist Church.

Today, Albright College is a multifaith community, with a full-time chaplain and associate chaplains representing a number of faith traditions. The Chaplain’s Office and the Multi Faith Center, at 1811 Linden Street, together provide a wide variety of programs and services.


The Spiritual Ties of Albright College

Evangelical Association
(1803 -1922)
1803 Evangelical Association started by Jacob Albright.
1856 Evangelical Association establishes Union Seminary,
        New Berlin Pa.
1881 Evangelical Association establishes Schuylkill Seminary,
        Reading, Pa.
1887 Union Seminary becomes Central Pennsylvania College
        under its affiliation with the Evangelical Association.
United Evangelical Church
(1895 – 1922)
1895 United Evangelical Church formed by members of the
        Evangelical Association after a schism within the
        association.
1895 United Evangelical Church establishes Albright
        Collegiate Institute, Myerstown Pa.
1898 Albright Collegiate Institute becomes Albright College
        at Myerstown.
1902 Central Pennsylvania College (formerly Union Seminary)
        merges into Albright College at Myerstown, changing
        its affiliation from the Evangelical Association to the
        United Evangelical Church.
  1902 Schuylkill Seminary moves to the present Albright
        campus, purchasing what is today Selwyn Hall.
1905 Schuylkill Seminary creates the School of
        Theology associated with the Evangelical Association.
Evangelical Church
(1922 – 1946)
1922 Evangelical Association and United Evangelical Church
        reunite to become the Evangelical Church.
1923 Schuylkill Seminary becomes Schuylkill College.
1923 Schuylkill Seminary School of Theology becomes the
        Evangelical School of Theology, more commonly known as
        “The Angel Factory.” This is a completely independent
        college located on the second floor of what is today
        Masters Hall.
1928 Albright College at Myerstown and Schuylkill College merge to become Albright College at Reading.
1928 The Evangelical School of Theology constructs its own         building, which is today known as Teel Hall.
Evangelical United
Brethren Church
(1946 – 1968)
1946 Evangelical Church merges with the United Brethren
        Church to form The Evangelical United Brethren Church.
1954 Evangelical School of Theology merges with Bonebrake
        Theological Seminary of Dayton, Ohio, to become the
        United Theological Seminary (UTS), moving all staff and
        students to Dayton and giving Teel Hall back to Albright
        College. UTS is still in operation today in Dayton.
The United
Methodist Church
(1968 – Present)
1968 Evangelical United Brethren Church merges with
        Methodist Church to become The United Methodist Church.