"We're a much more modern campus now but still in the quintessential New England liberal arts tradition," said Dave Wolk, Castleton State's President.
Keeping that tradition alive is taking work. In the last decade the undergraduate student body has nearly doubled to about 2-thousand students. At the same time, state funding for Castleton has continued to drop. "We're tuition dependent. We're dependent on external fundraising which causes us to look at many entrepreneurial ventures," Wolk said.
Ventures that include the completion of Hoff Hall and a new college pavilion. They will be used for student housing and activities and are also being rented out to the community to provide revenue. "We've turned the college,e as you'll see when you make your way around campus, into a haven for meetings, gatherings, conventions and conferences," Wolk said.
The campus has also become a haven for non-traditional students.
"There's people from all walks of life and all age groups -- this is a very dynamic campus," said James Gabriel, a Castleton student.
In the last three years enrollment in Castleton's nursing class has jumped from 65 to 107 students and facilities have received a big boost. This year Castleton brought in a new nursing director to oversee the program's expansion from 2 to 4 years, as the school looks to match student skills with market demands.
"It's called the virtual hospital and it quite literally is that," said Catherine Cannon, a Castleton student.
"It provides students with the opportunity to use knowledge in the context of the clinical setting without having to worry about the patient's health," said Ellen Ceppetelli, Castleton's Director of Nursing Education.
The school's newest residence hall opened in September and is powered with solar panels. And the number of student athletes who fill campus has jumped from 100 to about 450 since 2001. Varsity sports jumped from 11 to 20 in that time, including the return of football to a brand new stadium.
"The students rock my world and this is a small college with a big heart," Wolk said.
A big heart that's staying open to growth as it strives to compete to attract top students.
A few financial facts on Castleton -- This year in-state students will pay about 20-thousand dollars a year for tuition, room and board. Out of state students are paying closer to 33-thousand dollars a year.