By Kasey Varner | Special to PennLive
on August 20, 2014 at 5:32 PM, updated August 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Wilson College students who arrived on campus for move-in day Wednesday were part of a historic day. For the first time in the school’s 145-year history, the formerly all-women’s private liberal arts college in Chambersburg had students moving into co-ed residences.
Wilson, which has had a strong tradition of competitive academics, allowed men to enroll for the first time during the previous academic year.
This year, they are being integrated into the traditionally all-female residence halls.
“While we had more men enroll than I was initially anticipating, we don’t have enough to make an entire floor co-ed because I have to guarantee bathroom equity,” said Sherri Sadowski, Wilson College’s director of residence life.
Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be much negative reaction from students or their parents, Sadowski said.
Incoming freshman Caroline Willson, 19, had been looking for a school with a strong veterinary program and found a good fit in Wilson College. The demographics, while important, were a secondary consideration.
“I was surprised to find out that it was once an all-girl school, but once I found out that it was changing, I thought that was pretty cool,” Willson said.
Brant Swartz, 17, of Pottsville, said he was drawn to Wilson College for its environmental focus and sustainability efforts – as well as its prelaw affiliation with Vermont Law School.
His mother, Kim Swartz, found the school’s other efforts at financial viability a bit more enticing. Having kept their tuition steady for the past three years, Wilson College actually reduced its tuition costs for the current academic year by $5,000. Tuition this year at Wilson College is $23,745.
“We hadn’t really heard about the school’s tuition in the past, we were more focused on finding a school that would fit his interests in environmental law,” she said.
All of these changes seem to have a positive impact on the college’s enrollment figures. Preliminary information on the incoming class indicates that it will be the largest since 1970. As of Wednesday, there were 148 freshmen students – 124 women and 24 men.