Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA: A sunny, autumn day on the campus of Bucknell is perfect for a student/parent tour. This four-year, private, coeducational university was founded in 1847. On a 300-acre hillside it overlooks the quietly bustling town of Lewisburg, quaint with its century-old shops and houses nicely restored to fit the three-globed lampposts reminiscent of historic America.

More than three thousand undergraduates and two hundred graduate students from many states and nations attend twenty-seven programs in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, management and business administration, music and education. The 14-week fall and spring terms are divided by a one-month voluntary JAN Plan in January, offering special courses, travel, and internships. All classes are taught by nearly 300 faculty 95 percent of whom hold doctorates. Thus, the student-faculty ratio is 15 to 1, with most classes having fewer than 20 students. There is a real feeling of closeness and respect for individuality at Bucknell University.

My dad and I took a walking tour and our guide was Brian, a sophomore with an upbeat personality. Another girl, who was a volleyball star and interested in engineering, and her mom (from nearby Rochester, NY) were with us. Brian toured the entire campus for more than an hour, showing us Rooke Chapel, a beautiful place for candlelight services, Weis Performance Center, acoustically perfect for concerts, various classrooms, the inviting bookstore and cafeteria, several dorm rooms with student lofts built by dads, and the Bertrum Library. I was really impressed by the exquisite looks and comfortable feeling of this library at the center of the quad and campus. Beanbag chairs are found on the lower floor for lounging, reading, and studying. It has almost 500,000 books and an easy-to-use on-line computer catalog system.

We passed a number of neat-looking on-campus fraternity and sorority houses. After our tour I was given a personal interview where I was told about the program in Elementary Education and could ask any questions. Later my dad joined us to ask questions.

The most memorable point of the day, besides shopping in the unique shops downtown, came when my dad invited Brian, our tour guide, to lunch with us in the Bison Student Cafeteria. It was there I met two girls from Corning West High School, whom I knew. It’s a small world when you travel to the middle of Pennsylvania and meet someone you know. They also told me lots of inside stories about school including the fact they loved life at Bucknell.

Bucknell is a small university with a great reputation. It is very expensive, over twenty thousand a year, but there is financial assistance and people willing to help you. With some decent grades, evidence of service, involvement in high school life beyond the classroom, and a real desire to make productive use of your university days, Bucknell may be the place for you. n

Reviewed in 1993