Ramapo College was founded by the state of New Jersey in 1969, when the growth of Bergen County, which was quickly becoming a suburb of New York City, created a demand for higher education there. The Stephen Birch Estate – 700 acres and a mansion originally built by the sugar baron Theadore Havemeyer – were purchased and refashioned into the campus for Ramapo College, named for the nearby Ramapo Mountains. Today, Ramapo is a mid-sized public liberal arts, sciences, and professional institution, ranked as one of the top 30 regional colleges for the north, and widely recognized as a best value and top ROI by Kiplinger’s and Washington Monthly.
Academic ProgramsAs the smallest public college in New Jersey, Ramapo College is officially designated New Jersey’s Public Liberal Arts College, designed to provide students an affordable alternative to the expensive, private liberal arts colleges throughout the region. With its roots in the classical liberal arts, Ramapo’s curriculum is built around interdisciplinary, experiential learning, organized into five schools offering more than 30 degree programs. While Ramapo began with liberal arts, a number of professional programs like criminal justice, nursing, and social work have given the college an important impact on the region’s workforce. Ramapo is small enough for students to get personalized attention from faculty and develop close relationships with peers, but large enough to provide the resources of a public college.
Ramapo has been featured numerous times for the quality of their programs. The Anisfield School of Business is accredited by the AACSB, the international standard for business accreditation, and the Templeton Guide has named Ramapo as one of the top character-building colleges in the nation. Founded in 1993, the Ramapo nursing program has hit a new high with the creation of the Alder Center for Nursing Excellence. And the Ramapo approach to education shows serious results; not only are Ramapo’s freshman retention rate and six-year graduation rate far higher than the national average (nearly 20 points in both cases), but 87% of graduates are employed or in graduate school within one year.
Student LifeRamapo serves just over 6000 students for a wide range of diverse backgrounds, including a sizable proportion – around one-third – made up of racial and ethnic minority students. The college is a relatively conventional residential liberal arts college, in that around three-quarters of the student body lives on campus, and student life therefore tends to revolve around on-campus events, traditions, and activities, both those sponsored by the college, and those sponsored by the many student-led organizations and clubs. These include more than 100 groups, from hackers and gamers to ethnic and religious groups.
As a public institution in an populous, diverse area, Ramapo puts an emphasis on community service and civic engagement. The Civic and Community Engagement Center helps encourage student action and service projects, along with service learning incorporated directly into the curriculum, and the many projects taken on by Ramapo’s Greek organizations. Ramapo’s NCAA Division III athletics are another source of community-building and cohesion; the Ramapo Roadrunners compete in 18 varsity sports, while intramurals and recreational organizations keep the student body moving and active as well.