Building a Greater Goucher: The History of the Buildings on Goucher's Towson Campus

This project is the result of a student project that began in 2009.  As of August 2018, Special Collections & Archives is in the process of updating the site to reflect more of the buildings on the campus.  The website on the history of the land prior to Goucher College's purchase can be found at

Upon entering Goucher College through the main entrance off Dulaney Valley Road, visitors are greeted by a simple gateway rising out of the landscape.  They find themselves surrounded by trees and rolling hills and simple functional buildings, a calming oasis from the chaos of the Baltimore Beltway and the community of Towson.  The campus buildings follow the pattern of the entranceway growing out of the contours of the land and blending in with the surrounding woods.  The Goucher campus truly reflects the goal of a "Greater Goucher," a million dollar campaign to increase the endowment to improve academics and a five million dollar drive to move the College to Towson.

The development of the Towson campus began in 1921 when President William Wesley Guth (1913-1929) purchased 421 acres of land in Towson, the county seat of neighboring Baltimore County.  His desire was to move Goucher College from its location at St. Paul and 23rd Streets in Baltimore City to the newly acquired land.  It was not until 1938, however, under President David Allen Robertson (1930-1948) that the College actually began the process of moving to the county campus.

  • President Guth and his wife Helen standing near the Goucher College sign on the newly purchased land in Baltimore County, ca. 1920-1929. Photo courtesy of Lantern Slide Collection, 045a.

Through a national architectural competition, Goucher selected the New York City firm of Moore and Hutchins to design the campus.  Utilizing indigenous quarried stone, known as Butler stone, simple lines, and the natural contours of the land, the architects created a building plan in the emerging Modernist style that still influences campus development today. Through the Faculty Planning Committee, chaired by Professor Clinton I. Winslow, Goucher College interacted  closely with the architects in the design process and maintained oversight of the process through the Advisory Board of Architects.

By 1954, Goucher College had completely moved to Towson, ending over 60 years presence in Baltimore City.  Building continued on the new campus through the fifties and sixties with an emphasis on dormitories and academic buildings.  Moore and Hutchins' last building was erected in 1963, yet their design has remained prominent in all subsequent development.  In the 1990s, the College instituted a major renovation project to update and modernize the original buildings on campus.  Since then, Goucher built the Athenaeum and the First-year Village as well as renovated the Julia Rogers Building and the Mary Fisher Dining  and Student Center.

  • A view of Mary Fisher Hall with Robinson House in the background, ca. 1950. Photo courtesy of Goucher College Archival Photograph Collection, 3.16.028.

The Towson campus of Goucher College is the result of dedicated individuals whose desire for a Greater Goucher led to this ambitious move. The foresight and determination of President Guth initiated change for Goucher with his acquisition of the Towson land. President Robertson's careful contemplation was vital in the design process, as he sought recommendations from all members of the College and sound architectural oversight.  Professors Clinton I. Winslow and Eleanor Spencer served for many years on the Faculty Planning Committee ensuring that the new campus reflected the needs of the faculty and students.

President Kraushaar led campus development with great vision and passion for 19 years.  Under his direction and guidance over 17 buildings were constructed to finally realize the dream of a campus in Towson.  Furthermore, Moore and Hutchins cannot be ignored, as all campus development reflects their initial 1938 design.  Countless other individuals have made the Towson campus a reality including the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumnae/i.  Over the years, Goucher has been honored with many awards for the overall outstanding design of the campus.  In 2007, Goucher College received national recognition for its efforts when the Towson campus was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"Building a Great Goucher" web exhibit was created by Scott Davis '10, the first recipient of the Sally Gilger Barnes '46 Archival Internship.