Our mission

In its commitment to provide the highest quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, Earlham expects all its students to develop their intellectual, spiritual and creative capabilities, and to deepen their understanding of the purposes to which these capabilities may be put in service. We also expect students to learn about their bodies and to develop habits of wellness. From this foundation, we encourage our students to experience the disciplines and joys of athletic striving and competition.

We understand wellness to have intertwined physical, intellectual, spiritual and community aspects. We provide coursework, facilities and opportunities for students to grow in wellness, to develop a deeper understanding of their bodies both through exercise and study, to learn how to focus their energies and live balanced lives, and to improve their understanding of the requirements of health from youth through the decades after graduation.

For all of our students we provide opportunities for athletic competition in a wide array of sports. These range from recreational sports, for those who wish to experience the fun of competition without the rigor of intense training and practice, through club sports, involving a higher level of skill and commitment, to intercollegiate athletics, which provide opportunities for those students who are good at them to pursue excellence.

The pursuit of excellence in athletics requires self-sacrifice, discipline, teamwork, and concentrated effort — qualities we wish to model for all our students. At Earlham, we expect our best musicians to give concerts, our best scientists to deliver papers at conferences, our best actors to perform in plays, our best artists to give showings, and our best athletes to work with one another and compete against students from other colleges.


The Wellness Program provides a breadth of coverage by touching the lives of every student. Furthermore, the program strives to impact the lives of the Earlham staff, faculty, and the Richmond Community as well.

Deliberately broad in content, Earlham defines wellness as the active, lifelong process of becoming aware of, and making healthy choices that lead toward a more healthy and fulfilling life. The program’s components of mind, body, spirit, and community provide depth by working collaboratively with Earlham Health Services, Counseling Services, Office of Religious Life, Wilderness Programs, Residence life and Recreational Sports to provide programs such as Wellness Late-Nights and the annual Wellness Fair. Group fitness classes including yoga, Pilates, and spinning are available. Additional services include massage therapy, personal training, and swim lessons.

Those who represent us in competition

Earlham seeks to attract students who love sports and scholarship in equal measure. The ideal Earlham athlete is as satisfied with a good paper as a good game, as thrilled by a successful experiment as a winning race, as comfortable acting in a play as in making a free throw.

We expect Earlham athletes to be fully involved in the intellectual, political and social life of the college. Because athletics are not the only thing in their lives, they have friends who are not athletes — friends whom they met in classrooms, in labs, on committees, in choirs. At Earlham, perhaps even more than at other small colleges, friends watch friends compete. Professors respect and appreciate the hard work of athletes in their courses and look forward to supporting those students in their athletic endeavors. Well-attended events are evidence that Earlham athletes are engaged in the larger campus community.

We aspire at Earlham to engage in athletics in a way that accords with our mission to improve human society. Successful athletic performance requires disciplined teamwork by people of different races, religions, ethnicities, nationalities, economic backgrounds, political persuasions and sexual orientations. Differences are both honored and transcended in the pursuit of team goals. We expect our athletes to collaborate effectively while maintaining high moral standards of personal conduct — and thereby model for all to see the possibility of a cooperative human society.

Earlham’s aspirations commit us to offering a model of college athletics in which academics are fully complementary. We insist that our athletes be inclusive, tolerant and socially responsible community members. Earlham athletes are student athletes in the fullest sense. They receive the same care as non-athletes throughout the admissions process and in the classroom.

The values we bring to athletic competition

As a learning institution, we expect Earlham student athletes to improve from game to game and from season to season. We expect Earlham student athletes and Earlham athletic teams to strive for excellence. We expect them to play consistently with intelligence, intensity, teamwork and confidence. Our athletic teams are a profound and visible model of the learning communities we nurture across the college.

We expect Earlham student athletes and athletic teams to play to win. We celebrate the students who win graduate fellowships, the students who are admitted to medical schools, the students who perform many hours of volunteer service. These achievements are signs that Earlham is achieving the excellence it values. Athletic victories are no different; they are benchmarks of excellence.

Victory is sweet and defeat is bitter. We celebrate victories, all of us feeling lifted by these accomplishments. In addition, victories bring all members of the community (including the alumni) together in a spirit of joy and community pride. Perhaps best of all, victories bring feelings of deep satisfaction to the athletes themselves. Victories become life-long memories — but so do defeats. We experience with our athletes the frustrations and disappointments of defeat. For teams that have tried their best and treated each other with respect and affection, all memories become good ones.

Policy specifications

Last revision: 04/01/2006
Responsible office: Athletics
Wellness Operations
Student Life
Approved by: Faculty Meeting
Approval date: 04/01/2006
Effective date: 04/01/2004
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):
Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/athletics-and-wellness-at-earlham