Mission and Values
Non ministrari sed ministrare. "Not to be ministered unto but to minister," proclaims Wellesley's motto, capturing in four Latin words the College's mission: To provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.
Smart, serious women choose Wellesley because it offers one of the best liberal arts educations—and total learning environments—available anywhere. But they graduate with more than a highly regarded degree and four memorable years. They leave as “Wellesley women,” uniquely prepared to make meaningful personal and professional contributions to the “real world”—and to be major influences in it.
The world’s preeminent college for women, Wellesley is known for intellectual rigor, its belief in the enduring importance of service (and putting that belief into practice), and its cultivation in students of an inclusive, pragmatic approach to leadership.
Wellesley Believes In...
Making a Difference
Every woman can—and should—make a meaningful contribution to her world. There is a growing recognition that women’s empowerment and leadership are crucial to their own advancement, and to worldwide societal change. Wellesley and its alumnae have supported and championed women’s intellectual and social development and autonomy for over 100 years.
Inquiry and intellectual exchange lead to disciplined thinking. Wellesley challenges students to explore widely, interrogate closely, and make the creative leaps—synthesizing disparate ideas, perspectives, and experiences—that lead to new levels of understanding. A culture of collaboration (with our world-class faculty as well as with her peers) refines a student’s intellectual habits, hones her judgment, and increases her sense of mastery, while teaching her to take a considered position and defend it with conviction.
There is no greater benefit to one’s intellectual and social development—and to the vitality of an academic community—than the forthright engagement with and exploration of unfamiliar viewpoints and experiences. Wellesley encourages students to try on new ideas, try out new courses of action, and interact authentically with others whose beliefs or choices challenge their own.
A contemporary liberal arts education must enhance real-world leadership skills. The rigor of a Wellesley education is part of what makes our graduates so effective “out in the world.” But Wellesley women are also taught to be strategic thinkers who can “read” environments, navigate their challenges, and bring people together to achieve a goal.
Knowing how to serve is a key element of effective leadership. True leaders inspire rather than control, and they dedicate their intellect and energy to the hard work of creating a sense of commitment, responsibility, and common purpose in the pursuit of a vision. Wellesley has long dedicated itself to the ideal that former Wellesley President Diana Chapman Walsh described as "trustworthy leadership," and subscribing to this ideal is integral to the Wellesley experience.