Chartered in 1832, the campus of the then-named Pennsylvania College totaled three buildings and served a student body of little more than 100 young men. In July of 1863, the campus was thrown into the midst of the fight, providing shelter for the wounded and dying as a field hospital.
It's been reported that on July 1, 1863, math professor Michael Jacobs cancelled classes after telling his students that their minds were no longer on their lessons as an estimated 165,000 Union and Confederate troops battled around them.
Pennsylvania Hall, one of the college's original buildings dating to 1837 is now known as the Old Dorm and serves as the administration building. This handsome brick structure with stately white columns and cupola was taken over by both armies during the battle. A number of officers, including General Lee, used the cupola to keep an eye on the progress of the battle and the classrooms and student quarters housed the more than 700 casualties treated here.
It was from this fitting location that students walked to town to hear President Abraham Lincoln deliver his legendary Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.
In 1950, President Dwight D. Eisenhower purchased a farm outside Gettysburg as a retirement home. In 1960, the president of Gettysburg College offered his on-campus home to Eisenhower's for his post-presidential office. Ike served the college as a member of its Board of Trustees until his death in 1969. He wrote his memoirs and met with many heads of state in what is now known as Eisenhower House, now the College's Admissions Offices.