Wellesley College, outside of Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the most beautiful campuses in North America.
Wellesley's 500 acres include a private lake, a golf club, groves of conifers and hardwoods, and winding paths through open meadows. Stunning brick and stone buildings rise from wooded hills. From almost every window on campus, the view opens out to an inviting vista—through pine trees to the shores of Lake Waban, down sweeping lawns to century-old oaks with magnificent gnarled branches.
The landscape has always been central to the identity of Wellesley College and to the experience of its students. Henry Fowle Durant, who founded the college in 1870 (it opened in 1875), believed that young women should be educated in the midst of beauty. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. described Wellesley's landscape in 1902 as "not merely beautiful, but with a marked individual character not represented so far as I know on the ground of any other college in the country." Glacial topography, he believed, gave the campus "its peculiar kind of intricate beauty."
In connection with the Durant’s founding vision, Wendy Judge Paulson ’69’s initiative establishes a five-year intensive effort to transform Wellesley’s relationship with its landscape. The ecosystems the campus supports play a key element in teaching and learning, inspiring and preparing students to make a positive ecological difference in the world. By using the beauty, diversity, and history of the landscape more intentionally to connect students to campus flora and fauna and to the natural rhythms of life outdoors, the initiative aims to make the campus an increasingly effective “living laboratory.”