wells college

At a Glance

Wells College is a nationally recognized private liberal arts college located on the shores of beautiful Cayuga Lake. Founded in 1868, Wells provides an academically rigorous and relationship-based educational experience strengthened by the College's small size, residential atmosphere, and dedication to hands-on learning. The mission of Wells College is to teach students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. 

  • Enrollment: Wells has a total full-time enrollment of over 500 students. Students come to Wells from all over the country and the world.  Three percent of our student body is international; 24 percent of students are people of color. 
  • Location: Situated on more than 300 scenic acres overlooking Cayuga Lake in central New York, Wells College offers the simplicity and safety of village living and easy access to metropolitan and educational centers: ½ hour from Ithaca (home of Cornell University), 1 hour from Rochester and Syracuse, and 5 hours from New York City. The Finger Lakes are known for vast outdoor recreational opportunities and for a high concentration of outstanding colleges and universities. 
  • Mission: The mission of Wells College is to educate students to think critically, reason wisely, and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. Through Wells’ academic program, residential atmosphere, and community activities, students learn and practice the ideals of the liberal arts. The Wells experience prepares students to appreciate complexity and difference, to embrace new ways of knowing, to be creative, and to respond ethically to the interdependent worlds to which they belong. Committed to excellence in all areas of its reach, Wells College equips students for lifelong learning and for sharing the privileges of education with others.
  • President:   Thomas E. J. de Witt, Ph.D. Appointed interim president by the Board of Trustees in 2013, he holds over 40 years of experience in higher education and has been active in a number of other leadership roles.
  • Faculty: 85% of Wells faculty members have doctorates or terminal degrees in their disciplines. Faculty members hold degrees from Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of California – Berkeley, Brown, Cornell, and Stanford, among others. Approximately 86% are tenured or in tenure-track positions. 
  • Rankings: In 2012, Wells earned the rank of #118 on Forbes magazine's list of the top U.S. colleges and universities (#105 among Private Colleges and #49 in the Northeast), is included in the Princeton Review's list of best northeastern colleges and placed at #14 on their list of best schools for encouraging class discussion, and gained the ranking of #127 on U.S. News and World Report's list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.
  • 3/2 and 4+1 Articulation Programs: Through affiliations with Cornell University, the University of Rochester, Clarkson University, and Columbia University, within five years students may earn both the B.A. from Wells and the professional degree (business, engineering or teacher education) from the affiliated university.
  • Pre-Professional Degree Programs: Education (elementary and secondary certification); engineering B.A./B.S.; pre-law; pre-health.
  • Cross-Registration Programs: Wells and nearby Cornell University share a close academic and social relationship. Wells students may register for courses offered by any of the seven undergraduate colleges at Cornell. The College also has cross-registration agreements with Ithaca College and Cayuga Community College. 
  • Hands-On Learning: Wells takes a unique approach to higher education that puts hands-on learning at the center of all we do. Classroom learning is directly connected to future careers in a global society. Our students have unique and diverse opportunities to conduct research with faculty members, hold internships, and study across the United States and abroad. 
  • Athletics: The College is a Division III member of NCAA and the North Eastern Athletic Conference. Wells offers the following intercollegiate teams: women's field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, basketball, cross country and volleyball; and men's basketball, cross country, swimming, soccer, lacrosse, and volleyball. In addition, the Intramural Association offers intramural and club sports activities.
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships: Approximately 99% of Wells students receive financial aid, with about 98% eligible to receive need-based aid and 78% receiving merit-based aid.
  • Retention & Graduation: A wide range of information about Wells, including our retention and graduation rates, can be found on our profile on the University and College Accountability Network website at  members.ucan-network.org/wells.
  • Founding:  Wells College was established in 1868 by Henry Wells, who also founded the Wells Fargo and American Express Companies.