|Motto||Arrive Curious, Graduate Prepared|
|Type||Private liberal arts college|
|President||Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter|
|Provost||Dr. Susan Henking|
301 acres (1.22 km2)
|Athletics||NCAA Division III—North Eastern Athletic Conference|
|Colors||red and white|
Wells was established as a women's college in 1868 by Henry Wells, co-founder of Wells Fargo and the American Express Company. Wells had the building for Wells Seminary constructed on property he donated. On August 9, 1888, the college's main building burned to the ground. The building was replaced in 1890 by the current Main Building, designed by architect William Henry Miller. In 1906, Henry Wells' 1852 mansion, Glen Park, was purchased by the Alumnae Association and given to the college for its use.
In 1965, Walter Netsch designed the Louis Jefferson Long Library. The design of this award-winning building inspired two other buildings on campus, Barler Music Hall and Campbell Art Building.
In 1886, Frances Folsom, Wells Class of 1885, married President Grover Cleveland and became the youngest First Lady of the United States. She was the only First Lady to have her wedding in the White House, and she was the first First Lady to have graduated from college. Frances Cleveland (later Preston, after her second marriage) served on the college's board of trustees for 50 years.
After 136 years as a women's college, Wells announced on October 2, 2004 that it would become a co-educational institution in 2005. Students protested on campus against the change. Some parents of students also became involved in the protests. Some of the students said that their protests were patterned after ones at Mills College in the early 1990s. A website called Wells for Women was established to organize support. After the college's decision to adopt coeducation was approved by its board, students filed a lawsuit, which the courts rejected.
In 2020 the president of Wells College, Jonathan Gibralter, sent a letter to the college community reporting that financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the college's future, writing, "If New York State continues its mandate that our campus remain closed through all or part of the  fall semester, Wells simply will not receive enough revenue to continue operations." Because Wells College receives about 15% of its operating revenue from its Italy-based study abroad program, a COVID-19-related postponement or termination of that program can seriously harm the college's financial standing.
|Liberal arts colleges|
|U.S. News & World Report||124|
In 2016, U.S. News ranked Wells at 174 (tied) among liberal arts colleges nationally.
Wells College has several study abroad programs, most notably in Florence, Italy. It has created centers in sustainability, business and entrepreneurship, and book arts. Undergraduate students are required to participate in at least two internships during their time at Wells, one of which must be off campus.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2021)
Athletics are offered with half a PE credit earned for each season completed.
A member of the Private College Athletic Conference throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Express sports teams of the college captured four consecutive conference championships in women's tennis (1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81). They also won titles in women's bowling (1978–79, 1979–80). Wells, which officially became an NCAA Division III institution prior to the 1986–87 athletic season, joined the Atlantic Women's Colleges Conference prior to the 1996–97 athletic season. In 1996, the Wells women's soccer team captured the school's only AWCC championship title. Wells offered six intercollegiate athletic sports: field hockey, softball, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, women's swimming and women's tennis.
As part of the Board of Trustees decision to begin accepting men to the traditionally all-women's college, Wells in 2005 incorporated men's soccer, men's swimming, and men's and women's cross country into their athletic cadre.
Prior to the 2007–08 academic year, the Express teams were invited to join the North Eastern Athletic Conference and compete against 14 other schools in the East Region. By joining the NEAC, Wells can compete for conference championships with the added benefit of receiving an automatic qualifier in select sports to participate in the NCAA tournament.
Since joining the NEAC, Wells has captured six separate conference championships. Men's swimming won the first league title in 2009–10, and earned a second title in 2012–13. Women's swimming have won three consecutive conference championships, during the 2011–12, 2012–13, and 2013–14 seasons. Men's basketball, who won the NEAC championship in 2010–11, was the first team from Wells to participate in the NCAA Tournament.
As of the 2021–22 athletic season, Wells offers 15 NCAA Division III varsity sports, including field hockey, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country, softball, and baseball.
In the 2018–2019 season the Wells Men's Volleyball team made it to the Elite 8 (Quarterfinals) in the NCAA Division 3 Men's Volleyball Tournament before falling to Stevens Institute of Technology.
In the 2019–2020 season, the Wells College Women's swim team won first place in the NEAC swimming championships.
Wells has an honor code to which all students subscribe. By signing the Honor Code, Wells students pledge "not to lie, cheat, steal, deceive, or conceal in the conduct of their collegiate life". Wells allows students to have take-home exams and to work in their residence hall rooms, at the library, or on the dock by the lake rather than only in classrooms.
This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. (August 2022)
- Helen Barolini, author of novels and essays
- Mary Beckerle, Ph.D and executive director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- Frances Folsom Cleveland, wife of President Grover Cleveland and First Lady of the United States
- Edith Kinney Gaylord, journalist, philanthropist, founder of Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and former president of the National Women's Press Club
- Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter, translator of Thomas Mann's works
- Laura Nader, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Pleasant Rowland, founder of Pleasant Company and creator of the American Girl brand of dolls, books, and accessories
- Grace Carew Sheldon (1855–1921), journalist, author, editor, businesswoman
- Faith Whittlesey, politician, US Ambassador to Switzerland
- Helena Zachos, faculty member at Cooper Union
- Jesse Bering – psychologist
- Robert P. T. Coffin – poet
- Frances "Sissy" Farenthold – politician and human rights activist, former Wells president
- John D. Graham – painter
- Victor Hammer – artist
- Paul Hindemith – composer and violist
- R. Joseph Hoffmann – historian of religion, humanist activist
- J. J. Lankes – artist
- Lillian Rosanoff Lieber – mathematician and author
- Louise Ropes Loomis – historian, translator, editor
- William Matthews – poet
- Lewis H. Morgan – anthropologist
- Robert A. Plane – chemist and Wells president
- Thomas J. Preston, Jr. – Wells president pro temp (married Frances Cleveland, widow of Grover Cleveland)
- William Stokoe – English professor
- Allen W. Trelease – history professor
- Margaret Floy Washburn – psychologist
- Tarby, Russ (2002-06-14). "Trustees greeted by angry students". AuburnPub.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Spohr, George (2002-06-14). "Students stage sit-in to protest". AuburnPub.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Barton, Noelle (2002-06-14). "Wells students not going home". AuburnPub.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Barton, Noelle (2002-06-14). "Angered Wells parents feel left out". AuburnPub.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Spohr, George (2002-06-14). "Wells students' sit-in patterned after Mills". AuburnPub.com. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- "Wells for Women". 2009-10-27. Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Wogan, Lisa. "When Wells Run Dry: Another women's college opens the door to men". Ms. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- Rocheleau, Kelly (2020-05-08). "Wells College in Aurora warns it may close if students can't return in fall 2020". Ithaca Journal. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
- Brean, Berkeley (2020-05-26). "Wells College president: Without students on campus we 'cannot afford to reopen'". News 10 WHEC. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
- Whitford, Emma (2020-05-15). "Frank Assessment From a Private College". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2020-05-28.
- "Best Colleges 2024: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
- "2023 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
- "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2023". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
- "Wells College Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
- "Wells College Athletics - Wells". Wells Express.
- "Wells College Athletics History". Wells Express.
- "Wells College swimming" (PDF). Wells Express. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
- "Women's swimming records" (PDF). Wells Express. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
- "Wells athletics". Wells Express. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
- Wells Computer Services (2010-06-15). "Honor Code". Wells.edu. Retrieved 2011-08-13.