Dickinson College, in Carlisle, was one of the first colleges chartered in the United States. The college's charter, signed in September 1783, was prepared by Benjamin Rush, a prominent Philadelphia physician who believed that the new nation needed an educated citizenry to succeed.
Rush worked to make education a priority for Americans and sought to open a new educational institution in Western Pennsylvania. At Rush's request, John Dickinson, the president of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania, agreed to lend his support and his name to the new college. A grammar school in Carlisle, then a frontier town about 25 miles west of the Susquehanna River, served as the foundation of the institution.