College of the Month: Kenyon College

Kenyon College is located in Gambier, Ohio on a beautiful campus (

Kenyon College is a hidden treasure tucked beneath the foothills of the Ohio River Valley. Known for its Gothic architecture and pastoral environment, the private liberal arts college is a great school for students from all over the world.

Home to roughly 1,650 undergraduate students from 18 countries and 42 states, Kenyon is definitely not limited to only Ohio natives. There are 500 students in this year’s freshman class, of which 43% were in the top 5% of their high school, making Kenyon a highly selective academic institution. Its most popular majors are English, economics, psychology, and international studies. Student life is engaging as well with over 150 student organizations, a lively Greek life, and the spectacular Kenyon Athletic Center for recreation.

Kenyon places a strong emphasis on school traditions and communal bonding. For example, the Matriculation Book is signed by every first year student at Kenyon, and it includes signatures from Rutherford B. Hayes, E.L. Doctorow, and Paul Newman. All first year students also participate in the First Year Sing where they sing traditional Kenyon songs and learn Kenyon vocabulary from the lyrics. On graduation day, students sing these songs one last time to commemorate their experience.

CCES English teacher Mr. Jacobssen is a Kenyon alumnus, and he gave a detailed overview about his experience at Kenyon:

My experience at Kenyon was, for the most part, a charmed one. My dearest friends in the world are my classmates from Kenyon, and I still consider Gambier, Ohio a place where I will always be home, regardless of age or circumstance. I experienced Kenyon as most do: a challenge to be undertaken and shared with classmates and friends. There were certainly a number of dark nights of the soul, but those were outweighed by proud moments, fun times, and personal triumph. Of course, a considerable portion of my time there was defined by swimming, however, swimming never separated me from campus life in general. My clearest memories range from late nights of study in beautifully appointed college gothic buildings to playing campus golf with friends in all kinds of weather (Campus golf was played with a golf club and a tennis ball. The course was handed down from generation to generation, complete with course records).

Kenyon’s campus has a kind of ineffable beauty. It elicits both a frenetic excitement and energy that Kenyon students all feel, and it also, by virtue of its rural setting and timeless beauty, a sense of separation and peace. The architecture is college gothic, and even after 4 years there, every student still appreciates how beautiful the campus is.

I recognize that I was extremely fortunate to have chosen a school that was right for me, and that my experiences there were some of the most formative of my entire life. Perhaps one of the most accurate summations of the Kenyon experience comes from one of my closest friends, who, while we stood together on Middle Path in graduation robes on our last morning at Kenyon, noted that this was “the worst day of our lives”, simply because it meant that we had to leave and that our Kenyon experience had run its course.