One of the largest employers in the area, Skidmore College employs more than 800 and provides education to 2,700 students. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks it 37th of all National Liberal Arts Colleges. The College has an operating budget of $130 million, and annual capital expenditures of $20 million. Out of this, annual compensation is $80 million. These numbers multiply, through expansion and construction projects, into local employment in the neighborhood of 3,000 jobs. As well, student and alumni expenditures bring more than $9 million to the local economy.
Skidmore was originally founded as a woman's college in 1911, The Skidmore School of Arts. It developed out of The Young Women's Industrial Club formed in 1903 by Lucy Ann Skidmore Scribner. The early college was devoted to train young women vocationally and professionally. This fledgling college was located in downtown Saratoga Springs until 1961 when it moved to its current 850 acre campus at the edge of the city. The Jonsson Campus was named for trustee Erik Jonsson whose gift provided funds for the new campus' construction. Erik Jonsson was the co-founder of Texas Instruments.
The College was very much a personal and local effort: Mrs. Scribner visited Saratoga Springs around 1900 for her health and to enjoy the spa's springs. She became a permanent resident of the city by 1903, when she founded the Young Women's Industrial Club. Classes in the fine and practical arts were designed to provide women the means to make a living. Mrs. Scribner's favorite colors were yellow and white and these became the school's colors (with an addition of green later).
As Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mrs. Scribner chose Dr. Charles Henry Keyes as the school's first president. By 1922 the school was chartered as Skidmore College by New York State with the power to grant four-year degrees. In 1965, Skidmore became coeducational. The College now offers Bachelor's and Master's degrees in 50 areas of study. The current student body is 60% female. The 2,450 students come from 60 countries and 45 of the states. Nearly 60% of the students at Skidmore study abroad for part of their academic career.
The official mascot of the school is the Thoroughbred, known as “Skids.” This was a change from the original mascot, the Wombat, voted out by the students in 1981. He appears at all sports events, encouraging the teams with neighs and whinnies.
The College Today
There are 240 full time educators among the 839 employees of the campus. The faculty have earned numerous awards (Guggenheim, Pulitzer and Emmy) and have received fellowships and grants from Fulbright, MacArthur and the National Science Foundation.
The curriculum of Skidmore emphasizes a foundation in the liberal arts and encourages interdisciplinary study. Many students carry two majors or add a minor to their major area of study.
2014-15 tuition and fees were $47,314.
In addition to providing employment for many local residents, students and staff give back to the community by being actively engaged in its cultural life and by volunteering in local organizations. The public is invited to performances, lectures and art exhibits. It opens its North Woods area of campus to the public for hiking and other recreational activities. Skidmore College is a good neighbor and a valuable asset to the area.