Lafayette College and The General
In 1777, at the age of 19, Lafayette left behind the safety of his life of privilege in France to fight for the cause of freedom in the America. Guided by the belief that the creation and nurturing of a just, compassionate society is the responsibility of every citizen, he was a passionate advocate of individual liberty, abolition of slavery, and religious tolerance.
On Christmas Eve 1824, the Easton Centinel carried a notice calling upon residents of Northampton County "friendly to the establishment of a COLLEGE at Easton" to meet three days later at White's Hotel on Center Square. Led by James Madison Porter, a prominent local lawyer, the assembled citizens worked out a plan for a college "combining a course of practical Military Science with the course
of Literature and General Science pursued in the Colleges of our Country." Because the country was then in a fever over the farewell tour of the aged Marquis de Lafayette, whom Porter had met in Philadelphia in the Fall of 1824, the founders voted to name their new college for the French hero of the Revolution as "a testimony of respect for (his) talents, virtues, and signal services... the great
cause of freedom."
Today, it is no surprise that the college bearing the name of this man of action who broke away from the comforts of his youth to change the course of history encourages students to cross traditional boundaries, to challenge their own beliefs and ideas, and to impact the lives of others. Lafayette College is a vibrant, dynamic environment in which to explore and grow, where students cross
intellectual, cultural, and social boundaries to discover new worlds and to discover in new ways the world they already know. They learn and they lead. They make new connections - and they make a difference.
The American Friends of Lafayette was founded at Lafayette College on May 20, 1932, by Stuart Wells Jackson and Judge Walter P. Gardner, leading Lafayette collectors, along with eleven other enthusiastic admirers of General Lafayette. The AFL collection of historical documents and memorabilia, along with additional items acquired by the College, is now housed in Special Collections at Skillman Library on the campus as The Marquis de Lafayette Collection. The AFL periodically has its annual meeting on the campus.
Link to the most recent Lafayette College Annual Report.
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Easton, Pennsylvania 18042