A group of pioneer pastors, farmers and businessmen in Rice, Dakota and Goodhue counties, under the leadership of the Rev. Bernt Julius Muus, the Rev. N.A. Quammen, and Harald Thorson, laid the groundwork for the college’s founding in 1874. The purpose of the school, then as now, was to offer a program of liberal studies to students preparing for careers in business, politics and the clergy.
St. Olaf College offers a traditional four-year liberal arts education distinguished by both breadth and depth. Within the bachelor of arts degree program, academic majors are offered in 39 different disciplines and subject areas in the natural and mathematical sciences, fine arts, social sciences, and humanities. Students also may pursue an individually designed major on any subject that permits coherent, in-depth study using resources available through the college. To enrich their learning, St. Olaf students may choose among 23 different interdisciplinary concentrations, including Asian studies, environmental studies, linguistics, and neuroscience.
Academic Coaching is available for students who wish to learn more about managing time, learning styles and strategies, study skills or strategies, accountability, test taking strategies, test taking anxiety, note taking strategies, and more! Academic Coaching is free and available for all students.
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The Academic Support Center (ASC) supports all students as they work to maximize their full academic potential. The ASC collaborates with faculty, staff, and other campus partners to provide a range of services, programs, and resources to support student learning. Support is student-centered, accessible, inclusive, and free of charge.
We encourage all college employees to make use of the electronic and print collections in Rølvaag Library, the Glasoe Science Library (in the Science Center), and the Halvorson Music Library (in the Music Building). Your college ID serves as your library card, allowing you to check out material and, in most cases, take it home.
Known as “The Hill” St. Olaf College’s picturesque 300-acre campus is home to 16 academic and administrative buildings, 30 student residences, and 10 athletic facilities. As a residential college, 95 percent of St. Olaf students reside in one of the 11 residence halls and 19 academic and special interest honor houses. Adjacent to campus are 325 acres of restored wetlands, woodlands, and native tall grass prairie owned and maintained by St. Olaf. The college also has a utility-grade wind turbine, and 40 acres of college-owned land are blanketed with solar panels. St. Olaf’s solar system, combined with the energy generated by its wind turbine, has enabled the college to achieve 100% carbon-free electrical power.
27 varsity teams, 14 for men and 13 for women, participate in NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, hockey, skiing (both Nordic and Alpine), soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field (both indoor and outdoor), volleyball, and wrestling. Athletic colors are black and gold, and the nickname for St. Olaf teams is the Oles. All varsity athletic teams compete in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), with the exception of wrestling and Alpine and Nordic skiing.
St. Olaf has 214 registered student organizations, including academic, athletic, awareness, multicultural, political, religious, service, and other special interest groups. Club sports include men’s and women’s rugby, men’s and women’s lacrosse, badminton, cycling, judo, dance, fencing, rowing, and waterskiing, among others. The Manitou Messenger is the student newspaper and KSTO 93.1 FM is the student-operated radio station.
St. Olaf College is accredited as a degree-granting institution by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The college’s academic programs are also accredited by the American Chemical Society, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Council on Social Work Education, Minnesota Board of Nursing, Minnesota Board of Teaching, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, National Association of Schools of Dance, National Association of Schools of Music, and National Association of Schools of Theatre.
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