I arrived in Connecticut the day before the inaugural Junior Equestrian Festival, a recruiting showcase for college-bound equestrians that was held at the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Westport just this past weekend. This early arrival was partly by necessity (the show began first thing Friday morning and I didn’t want to miss any of it) and partly because a counseling friend tipped me off to the fact that Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut recently revealed that they’re considering the addition of an equestrian program to their campus offerings and my already-scheduled trip to the state offered a tremendous opportunity to swing by and learn about their campus firsthand.
(That it was nearly 70 degrees and a perfectly sunny New England afternoon when I arrived was just the icing on the cake!)
Quinnipiac is a true medium-sized institution of about 6,500 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students that was founded in nearby New Haven (home to a certain famous other university) in 1929. In the 1960s, however, the campus moved to its current Mount Carmel location and has since expanded still more with the addition of the York Hill Campus located a half-mile away, which houses the Rocky Top Student Center, residence halls, and the university’s major sports arena, as well as the North Haven Campus that houses five of the university’s major schools – the School of Education, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Law, and the Schools of Medicine and Nursing.
Indeed, it’s the pre-professional and professional programs that are among the most noted at Quinnipiac, with business, communications and broadcasting, and health-related programs being some of the most popular areas of study. Regardless of major, however, the university prides itself on its liberal arts foundation and demonstrates the with their general requirements, which include freshman composition courses to strengthen students’ writing abilities, a focus on quantitative inquiry that requires all students to take math before graduation, and a capstone experience for seniors that encourages them to look back over their undergraduate career and make reflective connections between their education, extracurricular endeavors, and any other specialized educational opportunities they’ve undertaken while enrolled (off-campus study, internships, etc.).
Quinnipiac is also a school with an active social life. Thanks to NCAA Division I athletics teams and a long-standing rivalry with nearby Yale University, the stands are typically packed during home games and the free student tickets can be snatched up in as little as eight minutes when they’re released online. (Here’s hoping the equestrian team can generate that kind of buzz one day!) Yet despite the flurry of activity that keeps the campus lively at all parts of the day and night (I happened to visit during their all-day mental health fair, which featured tons of free food, loud music, and informational booths to help students learn about the coping programs available to them on campus should they need it), Quinnipiac is also noted to be an incredibly safe campus, with a very visible on-campus police force. (Indeed, visitors to campus will find that their first contact will be the security guard in the booth at the visitors’ entrance who will welcome them and point out admission office parking spaces.)
Please note, I don’t know any more specifics about the plans for an equestrian program and/or teams at this time (and nothing was mentioned in the campus newspaper I picked up to read) but as with the addition of any major program to an existing campus, I’ve no doubt that announcements will be made in due course. When that happens, I’ll publish the information on Twitter and Facebook for you to read through.