Agnes Scott College

Last updated
Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott College Seal.png
Former names
Decatur Female Seminary
Agnes Scott Institute
Type Private liberal arts college
Women's college
Religious affiliation
Endowment $223.1 million (2016) [1]
President Leocadia I. Zak
Academic staff
117 [2]
Undergraduates 1,040 (Fall 2018) [3]
Location, ,
Campus Suburban; total 91 acres
Athletic complex (7 acres)
Bradley Observatory and Delafield Planetarium (1.5 acres)
NewspaperAgnes Scott Profile
Colors Purple and White         
Athletics NCAA Division IIIUSA South
Nickname Scotties
Affiliations APCU
Annapolis Group
Oberlin Group
Mascot Scottie dog
Agnes Scott Wordmark.gif
Agnes Scott College Mission Statement Agnes Scott College Mission Statement Sign.jpg
Agnes Scott College Mission Statement

Agnes Scott College (commonly known as Agnes Scott) is a private women's liberal arts college in Decatur, Georgia. The college enrolls approximately 1,000 students. Agnes Scott is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is considered one of the Seven Sisters of the South. [4]

Liberal arts college type of college with an emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences

A liberal arts college or liberal arts institution of higher education is a college with an emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences. Such colleges aim to impart a broad general knowledge and develop general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum. Students in a liberal arts college generally major in a particular discipline while receiving exposure to a wide range of academic subjects, including sciences as well as the traditional humanities subjects taught as liberal arts. Although it draws on European antecedents, the liberal arts college is strongly associated with American higher education, and most liberal arts colleges around the world draw explicitly on the American model.

Decatur, Georgia City in Georgia, United States

Decatur is a city in, and the county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia, which is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. With a population of 20,148 in the 2013 census, the municipality is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple ZIP Codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear Decatur as the address. The city is served by three MARTA rail stations. The city is located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta and shares its western border with both the city of Atlanta and unincorporated DeKalb County. The Druid Hills neighborhood is to the northwest of Decatur.

Presbyterian Church (USA) Mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the USA

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. A part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US, and known for its relatively progressive stance on doctrine. The PC(USA) was established by the 1983 merger of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, whose churches were located in the Southern and border states, with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, whose congregations could be found in every state. The similarly named Presbyterian Church in America is a separate denomination whose congregations can also trace their history to the various schisms and mergers of Presbyterian churches in the United States.



The college was founded in 1889 as Decatur Female Seminary by Presbyterian minister Frank H. Gaines. In 1890, the name was changed to Agnes Scott Institute to honor the mother of the college's primary benefactor, Col. George Washington Scott. The name was changed again to Agnes Scott College in 1906, and remains today a women's college.

George Washington Scott American businessman

George Washington Scott was a noted Florida businessman, planter, and military officer in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Agnes Scott is considered the first higher education institution in the state of Georgia to receive regional accreditation. [5] [6] The ninth and current president since July, 2018 is Leocadia I. Zak, who previously worked as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Leocadia Irine Zak serves as the ninth president of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. Prior to that, Zak served as Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) where she led an agency dedicated to encouraging economic growth in emerging markets and the export of U.S. goods and services to those markets. After being nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2009, Zak was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 2010.

On July 27, 1994, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Candler Street-Agnes Scott College Historic District. [7] The historic district boundaries are East College Ave., South McDonough St., S. Candler St., East Hill St. and East Davis St. It includes the entire campus, as well as historic homes adjacent to the campus. The campus is also designated by the City of Decatur as a historic district.

National Register of Historic Places Federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.


Downtown Decatur

Agnes Scott College is located within walking distance of downtown Decatur. A MARTA subway station, located in downtown Decatur, allows students to travel to Atlanta.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority public transit operator in Metro Atlanta, Georgia

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority is the principal public transport operator in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Formed in 1971 as strictly a bus system, MARTA operates a network of bus routes linked to a rapid transit system consisting of 48 miles (77 km) of rail track with 38 train stations. It is the eighth-largest rapid transit system in the United States by ridership.

Agnes Scott (Main) Hall, the oldest building on campus, was built in 1891 and once housed the entire school. This is documented in the history of Agnes Scott by Dr. McNair entitled Lest We Forget published in 1983.

Buttrick Hall Agnes Scott College - Buttrick Hall.jpg
Buttrick Hall
Looking across the quad Agnes Scott College - Across the quad.jpg
Looking across the quad
McCain Library at dusk Agnes Scott College - McCain Library.jpg
McCain Library at dusk
Bradley Observatory Bradley-Observatory-04.jpg
Bradley Observatory

Agnes Scott occupies more than 90 acres (360,000 m2) in Decatur. The college also owns the Avery Glen apartments as well as more than a dozen houses in the surrounding neighborhoods housing faculty, staff, and students. There are also six dedicated undergraduate dormitories located on campus.

The Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott houses the Beck Telescope, a 30-inch (760 mm) Cassegrain reflector, as well as a planetarium with 70-seat capacity and a radio telescope. Recently Agnes Scott College and the Georgia Tech Research Institute have collaborated on a project that added a LIDAR facility to the observatory. [8]

Bradley Observatory

The Bradley Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Agnes Scott College. It is located in Decatur, Georgia, 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Atlanta, Georgia, (USA). The observatory's largest telescope, the Beck Telescope, is a vintage 30 inch (750 mm) Cassegrain reflector built in 1930. The telescope was owned and operated by an amateur astronomer, Mr. Gibson. He offered the telescope for sale, seeking to upgrade his own telescope. Agnes Scott purchased it in 1947 for about $15,000. For many years, the Beck telescope was the largest in the Southeast United States, until the Fernbank Observatory opened in 1972 with its 36-inch (910 mm) telescope.

Cassegrain reflector main design element of Cassegrain reflecting telescope (Q21098783)

The Cassegrain reflector is a combination of a primary concave mirror and a secondary convex mirror, often used in optical telescopes and radio antennas, the main characteristic being that the optical path folds back onto itself, relative to the optical system's primary mirror entrance aperture. This design puts the focal point at a convenient location behind the primary mirror and the convex secondary adds a telephoto effect creating a much longer focal length in a mechanically short system.

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit applied research arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. GTRI employs around 1,765 people, and is involved in approximately $305 million in research annually for more than 200 clients in industry and government.

The college's science building contains a three-story rendering of part of the nucleotide sequence from Agnes Scott's mitochrondrial DNA. The DNA came from a blood sample of an ASC alumna who is a direct descendant of the college's namesake.

American poet Robert Frost was an annual visitor at Agnes Scott from 1945 to his death in 1962. [9] During his visits, he would read poetry in Presser Hall. A statue of the poet sculpted by George W. Lundeen sits in the alumnae gardens. A collection of Robert Frost's poetry and letters can be viewed at McCain Library.


Agnes Scott has committed to becoming a carbon-neutral institute by the college's 150th anniversary in 2039 and has taken steps such as partnering with the Clean Air Campaign to reduce its impact on the local environment. [10]

As of 2015, the college has five solar arrays, four of which are part of Georgia Power's Advanced Solar Initiative. The fifth array is on the rooftop of the Bradley Observatory and is also used for student research. The renovation of Campbell Hall into a mixed use residence hall, learning center, and office space was concluded in 2014 and included installation of a hydro-geothermic HVAC system. [11]

The college hosts a Zipcar. [12]


The library at Agnes Scott College was an original Andrew Carnegie Library built in 1910. It was renamed in 1951 for James McCain, on the occasion of his retirement as the 2nd President of the College.

Student life


Non-commuter students are expected to live in on-campus housing for all four years as an undergraduate at Agnes Scott College. [13] There are six resident halls situated around the Northern edge of the campus: Winship, Walters, Inman, Rebekah, Campbell and Agnes Scott Hall (nicknamed "Main"). Agnes Scott also owns off-campus apartments one block from campus called Avery Glen. Winship and Walters are traditionally reserved for first-year students. Upperclasswomen participate in a numeric room selection process, where students choose to live in loft-style dorms, tower rooms, or apartments with their friends. Single rooms are available in Inman, Main and Rebekah, while triple rooms are available exclusively in Main. [14] Beginning in August 2014, Campbell offers students suite-style rooms for four, with two students per room and a shared restroom. [15] Hopkins Hall was retired as a residence hall after the 2014–2015 academic year due to increased need for office space on campus.

Campus organizations

Due to the small size of the Agnes Scott College community, students are encouraged to start any organization or group that does not yet exist on campus. [16]


The Silhouette is the yearbook published by the students of Agnes Scott College. All students are invited to join the staff.

Aurora is the Agnes Scott literary magazine. The magazine is published once a year and includes student poetry, prose, and artwork. The magazine has also considered publishing musical compositions.

Psychobabble is the student-run newsletter of Agnes Scott's Department of Psychology. The newsletter's goal is to create an informed and united community within the discipline by promoting coordinated activities and facilitating communication and relationships among faculty, students and staff. Psychobabble gives psychology majors and minors an opportunity to involve themselves in their interest and form an identity as undergraduate students, while benefiting the department as a whole and supporting the educational experience of their peers.

The Profile, the college's independent student newspaper, is published bi-weekly during the academic year. All students interested in writing, photography, editing, layout and design, cartoons, advertising or circulation are encouraged to join the staff.


Agnes Scott is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III which fields six sports teams including basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball. All teams compete in the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South). The tennis team is arguably Agnes Scott's most successful team, having won the conference championship and advanced to the NCAA national tournament six times: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The newest team is cross country, which was restarted in 2014 after being cut during the 2008 school year.

Agnes Scott uses the tune of the Notre Dame Victory March as their fight song and to rally the students together during the annual Black Cat Spirit Week. The Agnes Scott mascot is a "Scottie", a Scottish Terrier named Victory.


Mascot and School Colors
The school colors of Agnes Scott are purple and white and the school mascot is the Scottie, a Scottish Terrier.

Class Colors
Each incoming class is assigned a class color—red, yellow, blue, or green—and votes on a class mascot that correlates with that color. The colors and mascots are intended to establish class pride, particularly during one week of activities called Black Cat.

Black Cat
Black Cat occurs every fall and is Agnes Scott's version of homecoming week. The week includes a number of class-focused games and activities and culminates in a series of skits written, directed, and performed by the junior class. Each class has the opportunity to showcase its mascot that features the class color. If there is dissatisfaction with a class mascot, the class is given the option to revote and choose a different mascot their second year. [17]

Pestle Board
A senior-only social and philanthropic society created to lampoon the campus chapter of the academic honor society Mortar Board. Whereas Mortar Board has strict GPA and extracurricular prerequisites for membership, Pestle Board's only entry requirement is the completion of a humorous initiation process known as "capping" that pairs junior "cappees" with graduating senior "cappers". Capping also involves Pestle Board's largest philanthropic fundraiser of the year.

Class Ring
The class ring is given to students during the spring of their sophomore year in a special ceremony. The ring is very distinctive with a rectangular engraved black onyx stone inscribed ASC and has remained essentially the same since its introduction in the 1920s with choices only in metal (white or yellow gold) and antiquing. Alumnae who wear the ring are recognizable to one another or those familiar with the college's tradition. Students and Alumnae alike dub themselves the "Black Ring Mafia".

Honor Code
The honor code is held in high regard among Agnes Scott students and faculty. [18] At the beginning of every academic year, new students must sign the honor code and recite a pledge promising to uphold the high academic and social standards of the institution.

As a member of the student body of Agnes Scott College, I consider myself bound by honor to develop and uphold high standards of honesty and behavior; to strive for full intellectual and moral stature; to realize my social and academic responsibility in the community. To attain these ideals, I do therefore accept this Honor System as my way of life.

Students self govern and ask violators of the code to turn themselves in to Honor Court. The trust the Honor Code builds between faculty and students allows for students to take self scheduled, unproctored, exams.

Senior Investiture
Senior Investiture is one of the college's most cherished traditions. During the investiture ceremony in the fall of students' senior year, each student is capped with an academic mortar board as a symbol of her senior status at the college by the Dean.

Bell Ringers
Seniors at Agnes Scott traditionally ring the bell in Agnes Scott Hall's bell tower upon acceptance to graduate school or a job offer. This tradition dates from the early 1990s after the tower acquired its bell during the administration of President Ruth Schmidt. Students who ring the bell sign their names on the walls of the tower.

Alumnae Pond
Tradition dictates that students who get engaged are thrown into the alumnae pond by their classmates. [19]


University rankings
Forbes [20] 420
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report [21] 58

U.S. News and World Report's 2020 edition of "Best Colleges"

Princeton Review's 2019 The Best 384 Colleges ranks the college as follows: [23]

Notable alumnae

See also


  1. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2016 Market Value of Endowment Assets and Percentage Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY2015 to FY2016" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-15. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  2. "Common Data Set 2015–2016" (PDF). Agnes Scott College.
  4. Agnes Scott College. , Retrieved on May 15, 2013.
  5. "Agnes Scott College". Liberal Arts Colleges. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  6. "Member List" (PDF). Southern Association of Colleges. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  7. "" National Register of Historic Places: DeKalb County Retrieved: 18 August 2008.
  8. Lidar Projects at GTRI, Georgia Tech Research Institute, archived from the original on September 29, 2011, retrieved June 15, 2010
  9. "Agnes Scott College – Previous Guest Writers". Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  10. New grant boosts Agnes Scott green initiatives, Agnes Scott College, January 11, 2010, retrieved February 22, 2010
  11. "Renewable Energy on Campus". Agnes Scott College. Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  12. "Zipcar". Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  13. Agnes Scott College Housing. , Retrieved on May 15, 2013
  14. "Agnes Scott College – Main Hall" . Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  15. "Agnes Scott College – Campbell Hall" . Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  16. "Agnes Scott College – Clubs and Organizations". Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  17. "Page Not Found". Agnes Scott College website.
  18. "Page Not Found". Agnes Scott College website.
  19. "Agnes Scott College – Page Not Found". Agnes Scott College website. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  20. "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  21. "Best Colleges 2020: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  22. "US News College Rankings".
  24. 'Illinois Blue Book 1979-1980,' biographical sketch of Goudyloch E. Dyer, pg. 149
  25. "Agnes Scott College – Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC., Alum to Speak at Commencement". Agnes Scott College website. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  26. "Agnes Scott Fact Sheet" (PDF). 2010.
  27. "Saycon Sengbloh". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
  28. "Martha Priscilla Shaw Collection". Sumter County Museum. March 1999. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  29. "CV". Jordan Casteel. Retrieved 2018-04-25.

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Coordinates: 33°46′13″N84°17′36″W / 33.77016°N 84.29325°W / 33.77016; -84.29325