1200 Main St., 610-861-1365
Moravian College is America’s sixth-oldest college, tracing its origins to a girls’ school founded in the spring of 1742 by followers of John Amos Comenius, the 17th century Moravian bishop whose humanistic ideals helped shape the modern educational system.
The girls’ school was founded by 16-year-old Countess Benigna von Zinzendorf, who was visiting Moravian settlements in the New World with her father. Known as the Bethlehem Female Seminary, it was the first girls’ boarding school established in America. In 1863, the school was chartered to grant baccalaureate degrees and in 1913 became the Moravian Seminary and College for Women.
A boys’ school was also established in Bethlehem in 1742 and later merged with a boys’ school in nearby Nazareth to form Nazareth Hall, an institution that survived until 1929. In 1807, a men’s college and theological seminary was established as an extension of Nazareth Hall. That institution, Moravian College and Theological Seminary, moved to Bethlehem in 1858 and was also chartered to grant baccalaureate degrees in 1863.
The two schools merged in 1954 after more than two centuries of separate growth and development. Today, the Moravian Theological Seminary is a global resource for men and women preparing for Christian leadership and maintains a close but academically distinct identity as a graduate school of theology. As a result of the merger, Moravian College began its modern existence and became the Lehigh Valley’s first coeducational institution of higher education.
Moravian College is made up of two campuses – the Main Street Campus, which is home to Reeves Library, Haupert Union Building and the athletic center, and the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus on Church Street, just eight blocks away in the center of Bethlehem’s historic district. The area between the two campuses is known as the “Moravian Mile,” and includes Bethlehem’s downtown shopping district. The campuses encompass 30 buildings, including some of the city’s oldest dwellings, on 85 acres.
While Moravian was founded as a community school based on religious and educational ideals, it has grown into the modern era with a current population that includes 1,533 undergraduate students from 21 states and 10 foreign countries, representing a variety of socioeconomic, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. With 120 full-time faculty members, students enjoy an 11-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.
The college’s coursework is grounded in values-based liberal arts and offers students the opportunity to choose courses from multidisciplinary clusters while focusing on fundamental issues, questions, ideas and elements of Western culture, as well as economic, social and political systems to gain a better understanding of the global community. The college offers 49 programs of study in 17 academic departments, including biology, English, education, psychology, economics and business, sociology, music and art.
Student life at Moravian centers on the ideals of John Amos Comenius, who believed that education should do more than teach information – it should also give students the chance to explore values, build physical well-being and develop a productive and caring way of life. With more than 60 clubs and organizations on campus, including national service and social fraternities and sororities, the college offers students abundant opportunity to learn outside of the classroom.
Moravian offers numerous arts programs, including the renowned Moravian College Choir, which has served as a noted performing ensemble for more than 40 years. The group has performed across the country and around the world, including repeat performances at the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. Moravian’s Music Department has been a part of the college since its founding and offers more than 70 concerts in three concert halls annually, which are open to the public.
Moravian is a NCAA Division III institution and a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The school competes in the recently formed Landmark Conference in all sports other than football and golf (football competes in the Centennial Conference and golf in the Empire 8 Conference). The college sponsors 20 intercollegiate athletic programs, including baseball, basketball, softball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, field hockey and track and field. Facilities include Johnston Hall, with a seating capacity of 1,600, Timothy Breidegam Field House, Rocco Calvo Field and the Haupert Union Quadrangle. Ten intramural sports are offered, as well as club sports, including ice hockey and equestrian competitions.