Written by Annie Rose Stathes, Edited by Laura Morrison, for GradSchools.com, April 2014
Are you on the fence and unsure where to study? Take a look at these ten campuses and see if their beauty and intrigue can pursue you. The United States is home to some of the world’s most beautiful college campuses—you might as well enjoy them while you pursue your academic dreams!
Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, Tennessee and was a hotspot for the emerging civil rights movement in the 1950s. It’s also the university that first allowed an African-American athlete into the Southeastern athletic conference. Today, Vanderbilt continues to forge new ground in terms of social and civil liberties, and its engaging history and diverse population only contribute to the beauty of its campus. The campus is located close to downtown Nashville and is abundantly cloaked with trees, gardens, and green-space. In fact, the campus is a designated national arboretum, with more than 300 species of trees and shrubs. Also, Nashville’s distinct four seasons change the colors of the campus from lush greens to brilliant oranges, yellows, and browns throughout the school year. The campus’ buildings add to its colorful scheme with red-bricks and bright white pillars. The campus is beautiful in color and spirit.
2.The College of William and Mary
The College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, Virginia and is the second oldest institute of higher education in the U.S. Its age makes it a part of some of the United States’ more well-documented history. It is, after all, the college that Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler, numerous signers of the Declaration of Independence, and many other notable figures attended. William and Mary’s campus is a blend of what the College calls its “Ancient Campus”, “Old Campus”, and “New Campus”. Each has its own style of architecture spanning from the Georgian and Anglo-Dutch styles of the 1700s to the more “modern” styles of the 1920s, 80s, and 90s. Many of the walkways on William and Mary’s campus are comprised of bricks and wind around the school’s historic landmark buildings, heavily wooded areas, and Lake Matoaka, an artificial but beautiful lake. The College of William and Mary’s campus is full of history, charm, and beauty.
3.The University of Hawaii
Clear blue waters; lush greenery and tropical flowers; a warm and lovely climate; volcanoes; rainbows that end at your dormitory door; it’s difficult to imagine a university system with more beautiful surroundings. The University of Hawaii has 10 campuses, each located in the heart of beauty and natural diversity. Students in Hawaii, on any of its islands, enjoy a plethora of water sports and land-locked activities such as hiking and soaking in beautiful pools under waterfalls. If you want to combine your studies with beautiful outdoor scenery, one of the Hawaiian Islands might be perfect for you.
Howard University’s campus is full of character and history. It has several historical landmarks including the Fredrick Douglass Memorial Hall, the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, and the Founders Library. In addition, the Howard University Hospital is built on the site of Griffith Stadium, which was home to Major League Baseball’s Washington Senators, the National Football League’s Washington Redskins, and the Homestead Grays which was a team in the Negro National League. The University is also home to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center which is recognized as one of the largest and most comprehensive archives of the history and culture of people of African descent. In addition, the campus boasts a variety of culture and activity that speaks of a lesser-known, but equally important history in the United States. Overall, the campus is home to a vibrant, rich, and historically-rooted culture and environment.
5.Lewis and Clark College
This stunning college campus is located in Southwest Portland, Oregon on 137 acres. It sits atop Palatine Hill and abuts the 645-acre Tryon Creek State Natural Area. The campus itself is wooded and filled with stunningly beautiful and romantic rose gardens, shallow pools, shaded walk-ways, and expansive open spaces. Buildings on the Lewis and Clark College campus have won awards, and many have been featured in Travel+Leisure. Lewis and Clark is also well-known for its devotion to sustainability as is evident in many of its buildings (one of which is award-winning) and campus-wide practices. If you attend Lewis and Clark College, you will also enjoy lovely views of waterways and mountains.
Rice University is a 285-acre, heavily wooded campus located in the heart of Houston. It provides a burst of peace and beauty amongst the buzz and busyness of the city. The campus has numerous parks and open spaces with manicured lawns, blossoming flowers, lush greenery and trails canopied by trees. Interspersed with the campus’ green oases are buildings designed in Byzantine-era and Mediterranean architecture that emphasizes pillars, archways, and courtyards. The campus is also located near Houston’s museum district and grants students easy access to some of Houston’s cultural hotspots. The campus is great for students who love the big city but hunger for a daily dose of good ol’ Mother Nature.
Carleton College is located in Northfield, Minnesota. It’s a smaller college with a student population of less than 2,000 as of 2014. Its campus, however, is quite large, spanning 1,040 acres and including an 880-acre arboretum. Carleton College sits on a hill overlooking the Cannon River and is surrounded by agricultural land. The center of the campus has a large open space that students use to play ultimate Frisbee and other warmer-weather sports in the spring, summer, and fall; in the winter, the field is flooded and used for ice-skating and broomball. Many of the buildings on campus are registered historic places, and the campus boasts beautiful buildings such as Goodsell observatory, Skinner Memorial Chapel, and Willis Hall, the first building on campus. Also, the campus is located in a part of the U.S. that sees four distinct seasons; if you attend Carleton College, you’ll enjoy brilliantly vibrant falls, snowy and silent winters, and bright and lush springs and summers.
Bard College is located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The rural campus overlooks the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River. The majority of buildings on campus are built in Collegiate Gothic and Postmodern styles, and many of the buildings are cloaked in ivy and surrounded by lush greenways and foliage. The campus also features beautiful, sculptured gardens with pools and art, and students can easily access soothing views of natural beauty from most locations. The campus is also home to the Fisher Center, a stunning and unusual building constructed of brushed stainless steel and glass, with an organic and whimsical shape. Bard College would be a great place to call home.
Kenyon College is located in Gambier, Ohio. It’s a rural college, with Collegiate Gothic architecture dotting its campus and contributing to its beauty. Even the student dining hall, the Richard L. and Helen Thomas Hall, is constructed to perfection with vaulted ceilings, an emphasis on natural light, and massive windows. Other stunningly beautiful buildings include the Victorian Gothic Ascension Hall with its beautiful, carved wood interiors, and the Greek Revival Rosse Hall with its regal columns. Along with its lovely buildings, Kenyon College features the Middle Path, which allows students to move between classes beneath the branches of massive trees that sport gorgeous colors in the fall and spring. This path connects with several others that take students on a whimsical journey through natural and architectural beauty.
Indiana University’s flagship campus is located in Bloomington, Indiana. The campus is akin to a giant garden flush with trees, shrubbery, tulips, fountains, bridges, and gazebos. In addition, the Jordan River runs right through campus, weaving through the limestone earth upon which the campus sits. The campus provides an oasis for students hanging out between classes or walking from building to building. The buildings on campus were built using locally-harvested limestone and were primarily designed using English Gothic architecture. Indiana University’s Sample Gates, complete with towers and archways, welcomes you into this campus’ lovely oasis of beautiful buildings and soothing landscaping.
About the Author: Annie Rose Stathes holds a B.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Political Science, from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is currently an instructor of writing at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado.