Washington & Jefferson College Charter

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Act of March 4, 1865

An act to unite the colleges of Jefferson and Washington, in the county of Washington, and to erect the same into one corporation, under the name of Washington and Jefferson College.

WHEREAS, By reason of the multiplication of incorporated seminaries of learning in this State, and in adjoining States, and of the enlarged and growing demand for the highest attainable excellence in such institutions, the close proximity of the two colleges, of Jefferson, at Canonsburg, and of Washington, at Washington, in the county of Washington, has been found to impede the advance of education, and to discourage the friends and patrons of those colleges in their efforts to sustain and endow them:

AND WHEREAS, For these, and other good and sufficient considerations, the trustees of those colleges have agreed upon a union thereof, and have besought this General Assembly to give thereto the sanction and aid of a legislative enactment; therefore,

SECTION i. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the colleges of Jefferson, at Canonsburg, incorporated by an act of Assembly, approved the fifteenth day of January, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and two, and of Washington, at Washington, incorporated by an act of Assembly, approved the twenty-eighth day of March, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and six, shall hereafter be one corporation, in fact and in law, under the name of Washington and Jefferson College; which corporation, by said name, shall possess and enjoy all the capacities, powers, privileges, immunities and franchises which were conferred upon, and held by, said colleges of Jefferson and Washington, and the trustees thereof, with such enlargements, and subject to such changes therein, as are made by this act.

SECTION 2. That all the real and personal property, of every nature and kind whatsoever, now held and possessed by, or in trust for, said colleges or corporations of Jefferson and Washington, severally, with all endowment funds, choses in action, stocks, bequests and devises, and other rights whatever, to them and each of them belonging, or in any wise pertaining, are hereby transferred to, and vested in, the corporation hereby created; and all the several liabilities of said two colleges, or corporations, by either of them suffered, or created, including the scholarships, heretofore granted by, and now obligatory upon, each of them, are hereby imposed upon and declared to be assumed by the corporation hereby created, which shall discharge and perform the same, with diminution or abatement.

SECTION 3. That the objects of said corporation shall be the cultivation and advancement of literature and science, and of morality and religion, without regard to sect or creed, by the education of youth of the male sex, in classical learning, including ancient and modern languages, in mental and moral philosophy, and in the useful arts and sciences, and to promote and encourage high attainments therein, and in the learned professions, by conferring upon those found worthy thereof, the degrees of merit and honor heretofore known and conferred, or which may hereafter be adopted and conferred, by like institutions in any of the United States of America.

SECTION 4. That the said corporation shall consist of a Board of Trustees, of thirty-one persons, all of whom shall be citizens of the United States of America, and at least sixteen thereof shall be also citizens of this Commonwealth; they shall be chosen and have perpetual succession in the manner following, to wit: Within thirty days after the passage of this act the present Board of Trustees, of each of said colleges of Jefferson and Washington, shall meet at some convenient place, upon ten days' notice, and choose fifteen persons, duly qualified, at least eight of whom shall be citizens of this Commonwealth, to be trustees of the college hereby erected, of which election a record shall be made, and a copy thereof, duly certified, and with the corporate seal thereto affixed, shall be transmitted to the first meeting of the new board, to be by them filed and recorded; thereupon the secretaries of said meeting shall cause notices to be given, by mail and by publications in one or more newspapers published in the county of Washington, and in the city of Pittsburgh, to and of the persons so chosen, and designating a convenient place and day, within twenty days thereafter, for the first meeting and organization of the new board, and for the transaction of such other business as shall pertain to the establishment and interests of the new college hereby erected.

SECTION 5. That upon the assembling, at the time and place appointed, of at least a majority of the thirty persons so chosen, (or if a majority do not then and there convene, then upon such majority convening on some other day, to which a less number assembled may adjourn, at the same, or some other place,) they shall, after having taken and subscribed the oath or affirmation hereinafter prescribed, choose one of their number to be President of the Board, and another thereof to be Secretary; thereupon they shall choose some other citizen of the United States, not a resident of the county of Washington, to be the thirty-first Trustee, and transact whatever other business relating to the college, they may deem to be required of them; all vacancies occurring thereafter in the board shall be filled by the concurrent vote of a majority of the members present at any stated meeting duly convened and constituted but the existence of one or more vacancies in the membership shall not invalidate any act of the board which shall be otherwise lawful and regular; at all subsequent meetings of the board, any number not less than ten shall be a quorum competent for the transaction of any business, by the concurrent vote of a majority of the members present.

SECTION 6. That before entering upon the discharge o any official duty, each of the trustees of said college shall take and subscribe in a book an oath or affirmation that he will according to the best of his knowledge and ability, while holding the office of trustee, be true and loyal to the interests of Washington and Jefferson College, and to the constitution and government of the United States of America, and of the State of Pennsylvania; at the first meeting of the board, said oath or affirmation shall be administered by some judge or justice of the peace to the members then in attendance; thereafter, the same may be administered by the President or any other duly qualified member of the board.

SECTION 7. That stated meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held at least once in each year, at such times as the board shall by standing rule appoint, which meetings may be adjourned from time to time, and from place to place; special meetings may be held at such other times as occasion may require, upon call by the President or any three members; at least ten days' notice, previous thereto, shall be given of all meetings, in such manner as the board shall by standing rule prescribe, and all meetings shall be held in some of the college buildings to be designated unless otherwise specially ordered; but no business shall be transacted at any special or called meeting other than such as shall pertain to the object or objects thereof, as made known by the call.

SECTION 8. That all the property, funds and interests of the corporation and college, shall be under the care, control and management of the Board of Trustees, who may from time to time commit the collection, keeping and disbursement thereof to such committees, officers and agents, as they shall deem requisite and proper, prescribing to them severally, by standing rules or otherwise, their powers and duties; at least once in every year, a detailed account or accounts of the receipts and disbursements of the corporation or college funds, and of the amount, management and condition of all the property and rights of the corporation shall be submitted by the proper officers and agents to the Board of Trustees, which after examination and correction, if necessary, and approval, shall be entered upon the minutes at length, or in such part or parts as shall be ordered.

SECTION 9. That the Board of Trustees shall, from time to time, as required, appoint a President and a Vice President of said College, and such other professors or instructors therein, and of the departments thereto pertaining, as they shall deem necessary and proper, each of whom shall be a citizen of the United States of America; they shall hold their places at the will of the board, and shall receive for their services such salaries or compensation and emoluments as the board may, from time to time, determine, or as may be agreed on.

SECTION 10. That the course of instruction and studies to be pursued in said college, shall be such as to conform to its objects, as declared in the third section of this act, and shall be divided into four periods or classes, denominated the Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior classes, each to comprise such studies as are pursued in the best colleges in the United States, and as the President, Vice President and Professors shall from time to time prescribe, with the approval of the Board of Trustees, which course of studies shall extend not less than three nor more than four years; Provided however, That students who have previously pursued any of the studies of those classes may be graduated at the end of a shorter period, and students found to be deficient may be required to remain for a longer period.

SECTION 11. That in addition to the aforesaid collegiate periods, or classes, and the studies appropriate thereto, there shall be as integral parts of said college, a scientific department and a preparatory department. The scientific department shall be such as to afford facilities for instruction in the higher branches of the English education, and in such of the modern foreign languages as are most useful and common, in natural sciences, belles lettres, mathematics, civil and military engineering and the mechanic arts, so as to qualify students therein for the various business avocations of life; and the degree of S. B. shall be conferred upon the graduates of said department, although they may not have pursued such a course of study in the college as to entitle them to any other degree. The preparatory department shall be of high grade, and shall include such studies as will qualify those seeking instruction therein for admission to the Freshman class of the college, or to the scientific department.

SECTION 12. That there shall also be established in connection with and as a part of said college, an institution to be known as the Department of Agriculture and Art, the leading object of which shall be to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts: Provided, An adequate fund for the establishment and endowment thereof shall be obtained from the State of Pennsylvania, or otherwise, and graduates therein shall have conferred upon them a suitable degree.

SECTION 13. That the studies of the Senior, Junior and Sophomore classes of said college shall be pursued at or near Canonsburg, in the county of Washington, and those of the Freshman class, and of the Scientific and Preparatory departments and of the Department of Agriculture and Art, at or near Washington, in said county, and in appropriating the income derived from the endowment funds of said corporation, a sum equal to at least one-third, and not exceeding one-half part thereof, shall be exclusively devoted and applied by the Board of Trustees to the use, support and benefit of the class, and departments at or near Washington, in addition to the income which may be derived from the fund or funds pertaining to the Department of Agriculture and Art, which shall be wholly and inviolably appropriated thereto: Provided, however, That nothing herein contained shall be construed so as to divert any gift, grant, devise, or bequest, or the income or profits thereof, from the specific departments, professorships, studies or classes intended according to the true intent and meaning of the deed, last will and testament or other writing, giving or founding the same.

SECTION 14. That the President and Vice President of the college, besides doing the duties pertaining to their offices as such, shall each be a professor of, and give instruction in, such studies as shall be committed to him by the Board of Trustees. The President and the professors of the studies of the Senior, Junior and Sophomore classes, shall be charged with the instruction, government, and discipline of the students in those classes, and the Vice President and professors or instructors in the studies of the Freshman class, and of the departments aforesaid, shall be charged with the instruction, government, and discipline of the students or pupils therein subject in all cases to the direction and control of the Board of Trustees; the President shall also have the general charge and supervision of all the classes and departments, and may as often as occasion shall require, take to his counsel and assistance, in matters of study, government and discipline, the Vice President and any or all of the professors; suspensions or expulsions from the college or any of its privileges or departments, shall be subject to the revision, modification or reversal of the Board of Trustees; and no person shall be excluded therefrom on account of the religious sect or denomination to which he belongs or adheres, provided he shall demean himself in a soberly, orderly manner, and conform to the lawful rules and regulations of the college.

SECTION 15. That the President and Vice President, and professors of the college and its departments, shall be known as the Faculty. All diplomas or certificates of degree, which to students shall be awarded, upon examination and approval by the Board of Trustees or a committee thereof, shall be signed by the Faculty, and have the common seal of the corporation thereto affixed.

SECTION 16. That the said corporation shall have the right to hold, free from taxes, State or municipal, such lots or parcels of land as may be needful and convenient for buildings for the college, and for residences for the President, Vice President and professors, with the appurtenances: Provided, The same shall be so used, and shall not in the aggregate exceed twenty acres, and should the department of Agriculture and Art aforesaid be established, then an additional quantity, not exceeding two hundred acres, if used therefor, shall be in like manner free from taxation.

SECTION 17. That no gift, grant, devise or bequest to or for the use of said corporation or college or any department or part thereof, shall be adjudged to be null and void, or fail to have effect, by reason of any misnomer thereof, in the deed, will or other writing giving or granting the same, provided, the intent of the donor, grantor, or testator, shall sufficiently appear by the same or some other writing duly authenticated, nor shall any such gift, grant, devise, or bequest be declared void because the deed, last will or other writing, conveying, giving, or confirming the same, was not made more than one calendar month before the death of the donor, grantor, or testator, and no non-user or unintentional misuser of the corporate powers and franchises conferred by this act, or any of them, shall work a forfeiture thereof.

SECTION 18. That from and after the organization of the corporation hereby created, as herein provided, the colleges of Jefferson and Washington, named in the first section of this act, shall be dissolved, except so far as may be found necessary to enable them to close up their business affairs, and to perfect the transfer of their property and rights to the corporation by this act created.

ARTHUR G. OLMSTED, Speaker of the House of Rep.

WILLIAM J. TURRELL Speaker of the Senate