Washington College Charter

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An Act for the establishment of a College at the town of Washington, in the County of Washington, in the State of Pennsylvania.

Whereas the happiness and prosperity of every community, under the direction and government of Divine Providence depends much on the right education of the youth, who must succeed the aged in the important offices of Society; and the most exalted nations have acquired their pre-eminence by the virtuous principles and liberal knowledge instilled into the minds of the rising generation: and whereas by the petition and address of the Trustees of the Academy of Washington, in the County of Washington, it appears that they are placed in a condition to extend their plan of education, by having the learned languages, the arts and sciences, and literature taught upon a more enlarged system than generally obtained at Seminaries in the country, that their funds are fully adequate to such undertaking, and that the Institution of College at the town of Washington, in the County of Washington, for the Instruction of youth in the learned languages, and others branches of literature is likely to promote the real welfare of this state, and especially the Western thereof: and as it is the evident duty of all ranks of People to promote and encourage, as much as in them lies, every attempt to disseminate and promote the growth of useful knowledge:


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 there be erected and hereby is erected and established, in the town of Washington, in the County of Washington in this State a College for the education of youth in the learned and foreign languages, the useful arts, sciences and literature; the style name and title thereof to be "The Washington College."

Sec. 2nd. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Trustees of the said Academy shall be, and they are hereby declared and appointed to be the first Trustees of said College.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said College shall be under the management, direction, and government of said Trustees and Successors which said Trustees and their successors to be elected in the manner hereinafter mentioned, shall forever hereafter be, and they are hereby erected, established and declared to be one body politic and corporate with perpetual succession, in deed and in law to all intents and purposes whatsoever, by the name, style, and title of the Trustees of Washington College, in the town of Washington, in the County of Washington by which name, and title, they the said Trustees and their successors, shall be competent and capable, at law and in equity, to take to themselves and their successors for the use of the said College, any estate in any messuages, lands tenements, hereditaments, goods, chattels, monies or other effects, by the gift, grant, bargain, sale, conveyance, assurance, will, devise or bequest of person or persons whatsoever; and the same messuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments and estate, real and personal, to grant, bargain, sell, convey, assure, demise and to farm let, and place out on Interest or otherwise, to alter, improve or dispose of, for the use of the said College in such a manner as to them or at least seven of them, shall seem most beneficial to Institution; and to receive the rents, issues, profits, income and Interest of the same, and to apply the same to a proper use and support of the said College; and by the same name to sue, commence, prosecute, and defend, implead, and be impleaded, in any courts of law or equity and in all manner of suits or actions whatsoever, and generally by and in the same name, to do and transact all and every the business touching or concerning the premises, or which shall be incidently necessary thereto, as fully and effectually as any natural person or body politic or corporate within this commonwealth, have power to manage their own concerns, and to hold, enjoy and exercises all such powers, authorities, and jurisdictions, as are customary in other colleges in the United States of America.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said Trustees shall cause to be made for their use, one common seal, with such devices and inscriptions thereon as they shall think proper, under and by which all deeds, diplomas, certificates and acts of the said corporation shall pass and be authenticated, and the same seal, at their pleasure, from time to time, change and alter.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be a meeting of the said Trustees, at least once in every year, at the town of Washington, at such time as the said Trustees, or a majority of them, shall appoint, of which notice shall be given, either by public advertisements in one of the public newspapers published in said town, at least four weeks before such meeting, or by notice in writing signed by the Secy or other officer, whom the said trustees may appoint for that purpose, and to be left at the dwelling house of each Trustee, at least ten days before the time of such intended meeting; and if at such meeting, seven of the said Trustees shall not be present, those present shall have power to adjourn the meeting to any other day, as fully and effectually to all intents and purposes, as if the whole number of Trustees, for the time being, were present; but if seven or more of the said Trustees shall meet at the said appointed times, or at any other time of Adjournment then such number so met shall be a board or quorum and a majority of them shall be capable of doing and transacting all the business and concerns of the said College, not otherwise provided for by this act, and particularly of making and enacting ordinances for the government of said College, of filling vacancies in the Board of Trustees, occasioned by death, resignation or otherwise, of electing and appointing the Principal and professors of the said College, of agreeing with them for their salaries and stipends, and removing them for misconduct or breach of the laws of the Institution, of appointing committees of their own body, to carry into execution all and every the resolutions of the Board, of appointing a Treasurer, Secretary, Stewards, manager, and other necessary and customary officers for the taking care of the Estate and managing the concerns of the corporation; and a majority of the Board or quorum of the said Trustees at any annual or adjourned meeting after notice given as aforesaid, shall determine all matters and things, although the same be not herein particularly mentioned, which shall occasionally arise and be incidently necessary, to be determined and transacted by the said Trustees: Provided always, That no ordinances shall be of force, which shall be repugnant to the laws of the United States or of this State.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the head or chief Master of the said College, shall be called and styled, the principal of the College, and the masters thereof shall be called and styled Professors, but neither Principal nor Professor, while they remain such shall ever be capable of holding the office of Trustee, the principal and professors or a majority of them, shall be called and styled the "Faculty of the College" which faculty shall have the power of enforcing the rules and regulations adopted by the Trustees, for the government of the pupils, by rewarding or censuring them, and finally by suspending such of them, as after repeated admonitions shall continue disobedient and refractory, until the determination of a quorum of the Trustees, can be had, and of granting and confirming by and with the approbation and consent of a board of the Trustees, signified by their mandamus such degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, to such pupils of the College, or others who by their proficiency in learning or other meritorious distinction, they shall think entitled to them, as are usually granted and conferred in other Colleges in the United States of America, and to grant to such graduates, diplomas, or certificates under their common seal, and signed by the faculty, to authenticate and perpetuate the memory of such graduation: all persons of every denomination among Christians shall be capable of being elected Trustees, nor shall any person either as Principal, or professor or pupil, be refused admittance for his conscientious persuasion in matters of religion: Provided, he shall demean himself in a sober, orderly manner and conform to the rules and regulations of the College, and whenever a vacancy shall happen by the want of qualification, resignation or decease of any clergyman hereby appointed a Trustee, such vacancy shall be filled by the choice of another clergyman of any Christian denomination, and so toties quoties such vacancy shall happen, whereby the number of clergyman hereby appointed trustees, shall never be lessened.

Sec. 7th. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no misnomer of the said corporation, shall defeat or annull any gift, grant, devise or bequest to or from the said corporation: Provided the intent of the parties shall sufficiently appear upon the face of the gift, grant, will or other writing, whereby any estate or interest was intended to pass to or from the said corporation, nor shall any disuser or non-user of the rights, liberties, privileges, jurisdictions and authorities, hereby granted to the said corporation, or any of them create or cause a forfeiture thereof.

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid that from and after the passing of this act, all the property belonging to the Academy of Washington aforesaid, of whatsoever nature the same may be, whether real, personal or mixed, which hath been given conveyed, devised or bequeathed to the trustees for the benefit and use of that Institution, shall be vested and hereby is vested, in the Trustees of the College aforesaid, and their successors in office, subject always, nevertheless, to the uses, trusts, ends and purposes, for which the same property was originally given, conveyed, devised, or bequeathed.

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no sale or alienation of the real estate of the said corporation, which shall have been made by the Trustees aforesaid or their successors bona fide for a valuable consideration, in case the possession thereof pass immediately to the purchaser or purchasers thereof and continue in him, her or their heirs and assigns, shall not be invalidated for want of proving, that seven of the trustees of said corporation consented to such sale or alienation, unless the same be controverted within the space of seven years from and after the sale and delivery of such real estate to the purchaser or purchasers thereof.

Sec. 10. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Trustees herein before appointed and their successors, the Principal and Professors and every of them now appointed or hereafter to be appointed, in the manner and form herein before directed, and required, before they enter upon the duties of their offices, shall before some one judge of the court of common pleas, or before some justice of the peace of the County of Washington, take and subscribe the oath or affirmation as directed by the eighth article of the constitution of the Commonwealth, and the Act of Congress of the United States passed the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, and the trustees are hereby enjoined and required to provide and keep a book, wherein their secretary shall well and truly record the laws and proceedings of said trustees.

Charles Porter, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

James Brady, Speaker of the Senate.

APPROVED-the twenty-eighth day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and six.

Thomas McKean.