History and Mission

  • Dean College Has Helped Students Succeed for Over 150 Years

    Mission Statement 

    Old Dean Academy

    Dean College is a private, residential New England college grounded in a culture and tradition that all students deserve the opportunity for academic and personal success. A uniquely supportive community for more than 150 years, Dean has woven together extensive student support and engagement with exceptional teaching and innovative campus activities. Our graduates are lifetime learners who thrive in their careers, embrace social responsibility and demonstrate leadership. This is The Dean Difference.

    Summary of Dean College History 

    Dean College has undergone many transformations since its founding in 1865 by Dr. Oliver Dean (1783-1871), a native of Franklin who began his career as a medical doctor but joined the Industrial Revolution, eventually managing the Amoskeag Mills in Manchester, New Hampshire. Upon retirement and returning to Franklin in the 1850s, Dr. Dean established the Universalist Church and then Dean Academy, a residential school educating boys and girls from New England and beyond. During this time, the Academy thrived under the leadership of Arthur W. Peirce, affectionately known as “Awpie,” for whom the main campus walkway and science center are named.

    During World War II, Dean transformed significantly by adding a Junior College, which ran alongside the Academy until 1957, when the Academy was phased out. The 1950s-1960s was a period of great construction and growth as it was at so many American institutions of higher learning. Dean President William Garner oversaw the construction of four new dormitories, a gymnasium, a library, a science center, and a campus center.

    In the 1990s, under the leadership of President Paula M. Rooney, the institution evolved once again, becoming Dean College. Soon Dean was offering bachelor's as well as associate degrees and a new era of capital improvements was initiated—beautiful new dormitories as well as dining and performance facilities have risen to grace our campus in the last twenty years.

    Today’s students, faculty, and staff thrive in a learning and work environment that is a century-and-a-half in the making. Fittingly, our College motto, inspired by Dr. Dean’s family saying, is Forti et Fideli Nihil Difficile: “To the strong and faithful nothing is difficult.”

Take the next Step

  • Forgive others’ faults, but never your own.

    Oliver Dean

    Founder, Dean Academy