Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Located adjacent to the historic Moravian community of Old Salem, Salem College was established in 1772 as a girl's school, became a boarding school in 1802, changing its name to Salem Female Academy in 1866, and finally took the name Salem College in 1890. The school is the oldest women's college in the United States, and among its alumnae is Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison.
At the age of 17, Sister Elisabeth Oesterlein walked from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Salem to establish the school. Her influence led the school to be among the first to accept non-white students.
Salem College enrolls (as of 2003) approximately 1,100 students, all of whom are required to complete both community service and internship programs prior to graduation -- part of the "Salem Signature" leadership program, for which the college has earned national praise.
Salem College shares its campus with Salem Academy, a residential high school for girls. During the summer, Salem campus has, since 1963, housed one campus of the Governor's School of North Carolina, a state-run summer program for gifted high school students.
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