What's in a Name, Yes! | Earlham College Skip to Content

In case there is any doubt, we want to reassure you about the pronunciation of Earlham. It is simply “Earl-am (um).” The “h” is silent. While some may struggle initially in pronouncing our name, there is no mistaking the national regard for Earlham College. We invite you to explore the quality of our undergraduate academic programs, meaningful opportunities for student involvement and leadership, and our commitment to service and social justice. We are confident in who we are. It is gratifying nonetheless that public recognition of Earlham has contributed to its standing as one of the nation’s leading colleges of the liberal arts and sciences.

Earlham is proud to be among the 40 colleges chosen by Loren Pope for inclusion in his book Colleges That Change Lives, first published in 1996.

Colleges -that -change -lives -cover -13-14Pope, now deceased, was a former journalist and education editor at The New York Times; he devoted over 30 years to counseling parents and students about making college choices.

In his widely acclaimed college guide, Pope focused on liberal arts colleges that "not only equip youths to live full lives but they work their magic on a variety of aptitudes, academic and others as important…. Every one of these catalytic places will push and stretch you beyond what you think possible, but they won't let you fall."

Pope emphasizes the learning that takes place in these colleges: "Learning is collaborative rather than competitive; values are central; there is a strong sense of community. They are places of great synergy…."

Beyond the Book

Colleges That Change Lives, Inc., (CTCL) is a non-profit organization that promotes a student-centered college search process. In 1998 the CTCL colleges began working together to extend Pope's approach to helping students find the right college fit. They developed a website and began a nationwide series of college fairs and individual information sessions that continues today.

Watch CTCL's calendar to find out when representatives will be in your area.

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Earlham College has earned new recognition from U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s “Most Innovative Schools.”

In the 2020 edition of U.S. News’ “Best Colleges” guidebook, Earlham is featured as one of 55 institutions taking a pioneering approach in the areas of academics, campus life, technology or facilities. Earlham stands alongside other leading liberal arts colleges including Bates, Carleton, Oberlin and Amherst, in warranting the recognition.

Earlham also maintains its reputation as a national leader among all liberal arts colleges for academic quality, diversity, and affordability in the popular resource for college-bound students and their families. Earlham ranks 25th on U.S. News’ lists for “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” 34th for “Best Value,” and 7th for the percentage of international students on campus.

“We’re thrilled that U.S. News recognizes our innovative spirit and commitment to providing access to the very best that a liberal arts education can offer,” Earlham President Anne Houtman says. “We offer funding for every student to pursue their passion and embark on a journey full of unexpected discoveries and learning experiences that transform the way they think about the world around them – and how they can connect with it.”


Working in college admissions for forty years, Peter Arango has counseled hundreds of students and families over his career. Earlham is honored to be among Peter's list of institutions considered to be hidden gems for their academic rigor and teaching excellence.

Quotes from the Book

  • College -secrets -2011"Generally seen by its collegiate neighbors as somewhat "quirky," Earlham students might better be characterized as "authentic." … In fact, one of the first observations that many visitors make about Earlham is that the campus is spiffy, students look great, and the tone of the college is almost uniformly cheerfully productive."
  • "As is true with all of Earlham's programs, however, the primary focus is student engagement. … Earlham may be the college most attractive to students from outside the region, one of the few Quaker Colleges, and perhaps one of the most 'Quakerly.' Although Earlham has a graduate program for teachers (M.A.T.), it is primarily an eminently well-respected liberal arts college, most notable for its historic mission."
  • "A major difference between Earlham and the other colleges to which it might be compared is in the closeness of faculty to students. Every college touts the accessibility of its faculty to undergraduates; at Earlham, those relationships are best described as respectful friendships; the faculty, as authentic as Earlham's students, has joined in a partnership with these active and socially committed learners on this handsome campus. One hallmark of the relationships established at Earlham is that all in the community are called by first name; there are no honorifics - Doctor, Professor, etc. It will come as no surprise that Earlham is also one of the Colleges That Change Lives."
  • "So, call it 'quirky' or call it 'authentic'; the Earlham experience is distinctive, challenging, and highly worthwhile."

Nothing speaks to the protected value of your college investment like the success of a college’s alumni. Earlham ranks 29th —ninth in life sciences — among 1,533 institutions of higher learning in the United States in the percentage of graduates who go on to receive Ph.D.s. And that doesn’t include the many Earlham graduates who attend the nation’s top medical, law and business professional schools.

In addition, Earlham graduates from the past five years have earned such prestigious awards as the Rhodes Scholarship, the Fulbright teaching assistantship, the Watson Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award, and a Fellowship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 2016, the Clinton Global Initiative awarded the $1 million Hult Prize to the Earlham “Magic Bus” team out of over 25,000 entries. The Magic Bus team will implement its idea for improving transportation in developing nations. Earlham alumni are making an impact in all 50 states and over 60 countries as scientists, executives, teachers, lawyers, ministers, writers and concerned, involved citizens.

Fiske -guide -2020Continued national recognition for Earlham College’s exceptional academics and commitment to affordability comes from the 2020 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

Earlham is once again featured as a “Best Buy” in this year’s guide, a recognition reserved for just 10 public and 10 private colleges and universities. Other institutions featured as top values include Mount Holyoke College, St. Olaf College and Vanderbilt University.

“Best Buys,” according to the guide, are schools that offer “outstanding educational value as determined by academic quality in relation to the net cost of attendance.”

“I am thrilled that Fiske has once again recognized the wonderful value-added of an Earlham education,” Earlham President Anne Houtman says. “Our students graduate with an impressive toolkit of change-the-world knowledge, skills and values.”

Visit the website for the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

While we are glad to share these accolades about Earlham with you, we remain convinced that the best way for you to appreciate Earlham is to talk directly with students, faculty, and alumni. Please contact the Admission Office (1-800-EARLHAM or 1-800-327-5426) so that our staff can help you connect with those who have first-hand knowledge of the Earlham experience.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.