Located in Lewiston, Maine, Bates was founded in 1855 by anti-slavery abolitionists, and was the first co-educational college in New England. It grew out of an idea by Oren Cheney, a Dartmouth graduate and minister of the Freewill Baptist denomination, who wanted to found a seminary in Lewiston. He obtained financial support from Benjamin E. Bates, a Boston manufacturer for whom the college was named.
Bates is unusual in that it requires a senior thesis to get an undergraduate degree in most majors. It does not offer post-graduate degrees.
The school says the percentage of students engaged in study abroad is among the highest in the nation, with 68 percent of the class of 2002 getting credit for study overseas.
As of fiscal year 2001, the school had an endowment of $173 million.