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 a rigorous and relationship-based academic experience strengthened by the College's emphasis on community, 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.

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. Over 80% of our classes are less than 20 students, and 100% of our graduates complete at least one internship during their time at Wells.

And both during their time as on campus — and after they graduate — Wells students benefit from our experienced team in the Center for Academic and Career Advising, which assists them with career counseling preparation, internships, and post-graduate advising and services such as resume reviews. 


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.


Wells College was established in 1868 by Henry Wells, who also founded the Wells Fargo and American Express companies. During the 2018–2019 year, Wells is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a series of events, activities, programs, and other surprises. Learn more at


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 Gibralter

Jonathan Gibralter, Ph.D. has served as president of Wells College since July 2015. He came to Wells from Frostburg State University in Maryland, where he led efforts to improve student life, relationships with the community, enrollment, and fundraising. President Gibralter is a nationally recognized leader on issues of sustainability and student alcohol abuse. Read more about President Gibralter here.


85 percent 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.


There are approximately 500 full-time students enrolled at Wells College (75.9% in-state, 22.6% out-of-state, and 1.5% from six countries other than the U.S.). For fall 2018, 36% of the student body identified as male and 64% as female.

The Wells College student community is an increasingly diverse one. In fall 2018, the student body included 15.4% Black, 7.4% Hispanic, 2.0% Asian, and 58.6% white (non-Hispanic) students. These figures do not include the 9.8% of students who self-identify as having multiple ethnic or racial backgrounds.

Facts, Figures, and Rankings

In recent years, Wells College has been ranked on a number of leading national surveys and indexes,  including:

  • Included in the 2019 Princeton Review list of best northeastern colleges as well as its most recent list of the 375 best "green colleges"
  • Included on the 2019 U.S. News and World Report list of best national liberal arts colleges
  • And in 2018, was once again included in Forbes magazine's ranking of America's top colleges, a selective listing of the best 650 colleges and universities in the country (out of more than 2,000 considered), and was ranked #199 on the Forbes national list of best liberal arts universities

In addition, Wells College has earned a number of accolades related to sustainability and environment: 

  • Upgraded to a "gold" rating on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) rubric in 2018 by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
  • Ranked as #17 for academics and #16 for planning on the Sierra Club's 2017 "Cool Schools" list of institutions that promote sustainability values and practices in higher education

A wide range of additional information about Wells, including our retention and graduation rates, can be found on our profile on the National Center for Education Statistics website. You can also read more about the College's sustainability efforts at

Wells College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Study Abroad

Wells offers over a dozen locations for study-abroad opportunities, including our flagship program in Florence, Italy, as well as affiliated programs in places like Australia and New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Ireland, South Africa, and Tanzania. Wells also participates in a study-away program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. You can find more at

3/2 and 4+1 Articulation Programs

Through affiliations with the University of Rochester, Clarkson University and Columbia University, within five years students may earn both an undergraduate degree from Wells and the professional degree (business, engineering, nursing, or teacher education) from the affiliated university.

Pre-Professional Programs

The following programs are available as pre-professional tracks: Educational Studies (elementary and secondary certification), Engineering (B.A./B.S.), Pre-Law, and Health Professions (including medicine, nursing, dentistry and veterinary medicine).

Cross-Registration Agreements

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.


The College is a Division III member of both the NCAA and the North Eastern Athletic Conference. Wells offers the following intercollegiate teams: 

  • Women: basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, and volleyball
  • Men: baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, and volleyball

More information on our intercollegiate athletics program may be found at the Wells Express website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Approximately 99% of Wells students receive financial aid, with about 98% eligible to receive need-based aid and 78% receiving merit-based aid.


Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

170 Main Street, Aurora, NY 13026
Admissions: 800.952.9355
General Information: 315.364.3266
© 2019 Wells College
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