Eastern Connecticut State University: A Liberal Education Practically Applied
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state’s only public liberal arts college. Combining challenging academics with applied learning opportunities such as internships, paid co-ops and undergraduate research, Eastern is becoming a University of First Choice for Connecticut students as well as students from across the United States.
Eastern’s distinctiveness is its public liberal arts mission. In addition to rigorous coursework, students who attend Eastern embrace involvement and service in and outside the classroom. Whether it is student teaching in local schools, interning at the state Capitol, or building houses for Habitat for Humanity, Eastern students gain valuable career and life skills in preparation for today’s changing and challenging world.
Eastern focuses on undergraduate education on a residential campus; a majority of all students and 85 percent of first-year students live on campus. Supporting this residential community is a modern Student Center, which sponsors more than 2,500 student events annually and houses 90 student clubs, student government, a fitness center, performance stages and other student-focused resources.
All Eastern students take a broad-ranging core of liberal arts courses from the arts and sciences in preparation for focusing on one of 41 majors (from accounting to visual arts), as well as selecting from 68 minors. Small class sizes (average of 20 students); an attractive student/professor ratio (14:1); and the personal attention of full-time faculty provide students with an opportunity to get to know their professors and receive personal attention.
Student interest in attending Eastern continues to grow. In fall 2022, total enrollment was 4,082. In addition to representing 160 of Connecticut’s 169 townships, Eastern students come from 32 states and 8 other countries. Students of color constitute 28 percent of the student body, up from 17 percent in 2009.
In fall 2008, the University opened a 174,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Science Building, which is equipped with a confocal microscope, a virtual dissection table, ground penetrating radar used in geological research, DNA sequencing technology and more.
Eastern science students travel to exotic places such as French Polynesia and Costa Rica to conduct field experiments; receive NASA fellowships to conduct and report on their research into antibiotics; gain exposure presenting at regional and national conferences; and publish their findings in academic journals.
In January 2016, Eastern opened a new 118,000-square-foot Fine Arts Instructional Center, which houses the Music, Theatre, and Art & Art History Departments as well as the University’s art gallery. Three different performance venues offer performances and exhibits to the campus community, as well as local and regional audiences.
In 2018 and 2019, the University completed major renovations on the Communication Building, upgrading the television studio and radio station; Goddard Hall, which features new psychology labs and a physical education performance lab; and Shafer Hall, which houses 90 upperclassmen in loft- and apartment-style suites.
Successful Eastern alumni include nationally recognized ophthalmologists, TV producers, museum curators and research scientists. In July 2016, Marc Freeman ’93, whose work in neurobiology is used for potential treatments for spinal and nerve injury and neurodegenerative disease, became the director of the Vollum Institute, the biomedical research arm of the Oregon Health and Science University, where he leads more than 200 research scientists. Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ’01 has published such books as “Purple Hibiscus” (2003), “Half of a Yellow Sun” (2006) and “Americanah” (2013), which was on the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2013 list. Her most recent book is “Notes of Grief” (2021). Both “Half a Yellow Sun” and “Americanah” have been turned into Hollywood movies.
Eastern has 19 varsity teams participating in Division III intercollegiate athletics. The Eastern softball and baseball teams each has won five national championships. Over the past 15 years, 46 teams have qualified for NCAA tournaments: nine in baseball; eight in women’s basketball; three each in women’s and men’s lacrosse; three in women’s soccer, three in men’s basketball; nine in softball; seven in men’s soccer; and one in women’s volleyball. During that same period, 44 student-athletes have earned All-America honors, including six Academic All-Americans. Eastern students have won three national Player of the Year honors in that time. In 2021–22, Eastern teams won five conference championships and 12 major individual conference awards. Baseball players Luke Broadhurst and John Mesagno and softball players Brooke Matyasovsky and Cassie Woods were named NCAA Division III All Americans.
In 2022, the Warriors won the Little East Conference’s Commissioner’s Cup for the fifth year in a row for having the best athletic performance among the LEC’s nine schools. Eastern also won the LEC’s Presidents’ Cup a record seventh time since its inauguration in 2010; the cup recognizes the institution with the highest cumulative GPA among its student-athletes each year.