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45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown, CT 06459

(860) 685-2000


Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University

Wesleyan is dedicated to providing a rigorous liberal arts education that values putting ideas into practice. Wesleyan is a private, coeducational, non-sectarian school of liberal arts and sciences, offering undergraduate, graduate and PhD degree programs.

An Undergraduate Experience Like No Other

At Wesleyan you’ll discover what you love to do and learn how to apply your knowledge in meaningful ways. With 45 majors, 14 minors, 12 certificates, a diverse collection of distinctive programs and an open curriculum, you'll have the freedom to explore your options and follow your passion.

Exploring interests outside academics — whether in the arts, sports, political and social issues, languages, travel, the outdoors, internships (and the list goes on) — Wesleyan students find balance, expand their circle of acquaintances, cultivate personal networks, and build leadership skills.


Wesleyan University is dedicated to providing an education in the liberal arts that is characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism. At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.


THE WESLEYAN SHIELD: The Wesleyan shield is a simplified version of a heraldic shield created in the early 1950s to be displayed at the University Club of Chicago. The design was taken directly from the family coat of arms of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and namesake of the University. In 1953, President Victor L. Butterfield accepted the design as Wesleyan’s official coat of arms. The red shield bears a cross decorated with five scallop shells. Decorated shields were used in medieval warfare to identify knights and their soldiers during the battle. Pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land wore a scallop on their hats, and so this shell entered the heraldry as the symbol for a pilgrimage. Later, the shell came to symbolize anyone who had made long journeys or voyages to foreign countries.

THE SCHOOL COLORS: Cardinal red and black were adopted as Wesleyan’s colors in a general college meeting on Oct. 10, 1884. An editorial in the Wesleyan Argus endorsed the change: "Lavender [the former color] is not a striking color. Waving as a pennant or smoothed into a bow, it has not the brilliant tint which is desirable in a college color...Cardinal and Black make a combination that is rich and striking."

“Battle Cry”
Words and music by Clifford L. Waite, Class of 1906

And then it’s fight for old Wesleyan,
never give in.
Fight to the end
when might and right shall win.
So keep on fighting ’til victory
crowns everyone;
And then it’s fight, fight, fight, fight
for Wesleyan!

Go Wes!

“Come Raise the Song"
Words by F.L. Knowles, music by William B. Davis, both Class of 1894

Come, raise the song for Wesleyana,
Till night and echo send it back;
Come, gather ’round the dear old banner,
Emblazoned with the Red and Black!
We’ll all be young again together;
Life’s short--then fill with joy its span!
The home of joy is Alma Mater,
Then hail! all hail to Wesleyan!
O ivied walls! O storied halls!
O shrine of long ago!
The altar fires our fathers lit
Shall still more brightly glow.

Come, throw away all thoughts of sorrow,
And give the night to mirth and song!
If care must come, it comes tomorrow;
Today our hearts are bold and strong.
Our song is for the dear old college!
Join hands and praise you while we can!
Time ne’er shall shake our deep devotion,
Our deathless love for Wesleyan!
(repeat chorus)

THE DOUGLAS CANNON: One of the most enduring and celebrated sagas in Wesleyan’s history is the Douglas Cannon. In the 1860s, a yearly contest began between the freshmen, whose mission it was to fire the cannon on February 22, Washington’s Birthday, and the sophomores, who were charged with foiling the effort. This contest came to be known as a “Cannon Scrap.” The Cannon Scraps ceased in the 1910s, but the Douglas Cannon remained an important Wesleyan symbol. In 1957, the tradition of stealing the cannon began in earnest when it was removed from its mounting on College Row. The cannon has traveled widely since that time: it has been hidden in dormitories, presented to the Russian Mission at the United Nations as a "symbol of peace, brotherhood, and friendship," appeared unexpectedly in the offices of the managing editor of Life magazine, was driven to Washington D.C. and presented to the White House as a protest against the war in Vietnam, and baked into Wesleyan’s sesquicentennial birthday cake, among many other escapades. After resting again briefly on its pedestal in 1995, the cannon disappeared, and has since reappeared during important Wesleyan events, such as commencement ceremonies and the inauguration of President Roth in 2007. The Douglas Cannon’s present location is unknown, but it will likely reappear at future Wesleyan festivities.

Student Life:

Sharing a double in a residence hall is typical for first years. Sophomores may move to program houses with a dozen like-minded residents. Juniors and seniors may move into apartments and wood-frame houses with a handful of good friends.

With 250+ active student-run groups on campus, it’s easy to engage with others who share your passion at Wesleyan: from the arts and lifestyle choices to sports and the outdoors to politics and social issues…and the list goes on!

As competitive members of the NCAA Division III NESCAC, Wesleyan’s 29 varsity teams regularly advance to tournament play, with some Cardinals achieving sporting success at the national level. More interested in sports as recreation? Join one of Wesleyan’s 30+ club and intramural programs, from rugby and ultimate Frisbee to broomball and inner tube water polo.



The Cardinal
The cardinal was adopted as the nickname for Wesleyan’s athletic teams in the early 1930s. Until then, Wesleyan’s athletic teams were known as "The Methodists." A newspaper report of a game in 1932 with the University of Rochester referred to the team as "the Mysterious Ministers from Middletown, "a slogan resented by half the team. The following spring, one of the football players, Walter W. Fricke ’33, the baseball captain, purchased a baseball jacket with a cardinal on the breast pocket. The idea caught on as a solution to the quest for an acceptable nickname.

Wesleyan today:

Today Wesleyan offers instruction in 46 departments and 45 major fields of study and awards the bachelor of arts and graduate degrees. The master of arts degree and the doctor of philosophy are regularly awarded in six fields of study. Students may choose from more than 900 courses each year and may be counted upon to devise, with the faculty, some 900 individual tutorials and lessons.


The student body is made up of approximately 2,900 full-time undergraduates and 150 graduate students, as well as 85 part-time students in Graduate Liberal Studies.

Famous graduates:

Joss Whedon (born June 23, 1964) started out as a staff writer for 1990s sitcom Roseanne, and worked on films, including Toy Story. In 1992 he penned the script for a film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When the TV version starring Sarah Michelle Gellar took off in 1997, Whedon had his big break—with its female action heroine, Buffy became a huge hit. Whedon wrote hundreds of episodes for Buffy and its spinoff Angel, and was nominated for Emmy and Hugo awards for his work. Whedon has come to enjoy a cult following. He went on to write and direct two box office hits, The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). 

Bill Belichick (born April 16, 1952) is an American football head coach. The son of a longtime college coach, Belichick got his own start in coaching in 1975 when he took a job with the Baltimore Colts. By the 1980s, he was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants and praised as one of the brightest minds in the game. After a rocky stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s, the New England Patriots hired Belichick in 2000. He's guided the franchise to four Super Bowl victories.

Interesting facts about Wesleyan University:

One of the very first forward passes completed in a collegiate football game was thrown by a Wesleyan student in fall 1906 in a game against Yale. Wesleyan is among several colleges and universities that may hold this honor. No one will ever really know for sure which was first.

Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States from 1913 to 1921, taught history and political economy at Wesleyan from 1888 to 1890.

In 1964, The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave the baccalaureate sermon from Denison Terrace.