Recognizing there is still work to be done, we honor those who inspire change both on College Hill and beyond.


Lafayette College is founded and named for the Marquis de Lafayette, anti-slavery advocate, supporter of rights for French Protestants, promoter of democratic revolutions.


Pennsylvania legislature grants Lafayette College a charter but requires addition of Article VIII, which guarantees that no persons shall be denied admittance or opportunity to serve as president, trustee, or faculty member on account of religious preferences.


Lafayette opens with a local Black student, Aaron Hoff, in the first class.


Additional Black students are admitted to be trained for the ministry in Liberia.


Two slaves, David and Washington McDonogh, are sent from Louisiana to study at Lafayette. They are freed when they arrive in the North, but are subject to much discrimination.


Washington McDonogh leaves Lafayette and sails for Liberia with other freed slaves from Louisiana.


John Bemo, member of the Seminole Indian Tribe and nephew of Chief Osceola, enrolls and is in residence for four years. College expected to admit 10 Choctaw Indian Tribe members, who never matriculated.


David McDonogh is the first Black student to graduate.


Last Black students for the next 100 years are in residence.


Lafayette awards honorary degree to Edward Blyden, noted Liberian scholar and diplomat.


After a contingent of female students from Vassar College visits, the idea of admitting women is promoted in Easton and Lafayette newspapers.


Susan B. Anthony lectures on women’s suffrage in Pardee Hall.


F.M. Kirby establishes the Fred Morgan Kirby Professorship of Civil Rights.


Kirby Hall of Civil Rights is dedicated.


Lafayette admits two Tuskegee Airmen, Roland Brown ’49 and David Showell ’51, members of the first Black aviators unit in the U.S. military.


Lafayette’s football team receives a bid to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, played in a segregated stadium. The College is told it cannot bring its Black halfback, David Showell. The College turns down the bid, an action that helps lead to the integration of the Sun Bowl in 1952.


Lafayette begins to admit a small number of Black students. The College continues to have unwritten quotas for the admission of Black and non-Protestant students.


Clay Ketcham, a member of the education department, is the first woman hired permanently for the Lafayette faculty.


Faculty adopts a resolution prohibiting discriminatory clauses in fraternity constitutions. Phi Kappa Tau pledges two Black students; all members resign from the national fraternity, which had a constitutional clause prohibiting Blacks from becoming members.


Unwritten quotas in admissions are discontinued.


Board of Trustees requests fraternities to divest themselves of all discriminatory clauses and practices as soon as is reasonably possible.


Ronald Brooks ’65 is the first Black student to win the George Wharton Pepper Prize, awarded by vote of students and faculty to the student who most closely represents the Lafayette ideal.


“Statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities” is adopted by the College, which affirms that students have the same rights as any other citizen. The College would no longer act in loco parentis, restricting students’ freedoms, and conversely, protecting those who violate the law.


Board of Trustees confirms that no discriminatory clauses remain in the constitutions of national fraternities at the College and that members are to be chosen regardless of “race, color, creed, or nationality.” Lafayette’s Association of Black Collegians issues a “Black Manifesto,” calling for more Black students, more Black faculty, a Black studies program, a house to serve as a Black cultural center, and an end to racial discrimination on campus.


Women are admitted to the College. Jeanette Reibman is the first woman to serve on the Board of Trustees.


Earl G. Peace ’66, a member of the chemistry department, is the first Black professor on the Lafayette faculty with a full-time appointment.


Catherine Patterson ’77 is the first woman student to win the Pepper Prize.


Friends of Lesbians and gays (FLAG) has its first meeting in response to the Princeton Review’s naming Lafayette as one of the most homophobic schools in the country.


Same-sex partner benefits are provided to Lafayette College employees.
Hispanic Society of Lafayette is founded.


Students dedicate grave marker for Aaron Hoff, Lafayette’s first Black student, in the Easton Cemetery.


More than 300 students participate in the “Gay? Fine by Me” rally on campus, sponsored by QUEST (Questioning Established Sexual Taboos).


Lafayette dedicates the sculpture Transcendence in memory of David McDonogh, Class of 1844, the former slave who became a physician in New York City.


In connection with the 80th anniversary of the dedication of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, an additional plaque is added to the building with more inclusive language after student leaders raise concerns about context and meaning of the building’s original plaque.


More than 200 students participate in a peaceful demonstration as part of #OurCampus, a nationwide event in response to the 2016 presidential election. Demonstrators call for a commitment to making marginalized groups feel safe on campus.


In support of #Black Lives Matter, the Student Government Equity & Inclusion Committee spearheads Lafayette Students for Racial Justice, an educational fundraising campaign, with 24 other student organizations. Students collectively raise more than $20,000 for various organizations connected with racial injustice. Additional alumni and student groups support the effort.

Students share a list of demands with Lafayette administration calling for institutional changes to result in a more equitable community.