Celebrating the Rebirth of Antioch College

Antioch College campus

I’ve been gratified recently to see one of my favorite small schools return from the abyss. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH is back in business, thanks to the support of loyal alums, faculty and staff members. Antioch closed its doors in 2008 after several years of declining enrollments and management problems.

The college is historic and socially progressive, having been founded by abolitionists in 1852. It is among the first U.S. colleges to admit African Americans and the first to fully implement coeducation, enrolling female students in courses and programs alongside men. Among Antioch’s many notable graduates are Clifford Geertz, Stephen Jay Gould, Coretta Scott King, Leonard Nimoy, and Eleanor Holmes Norton. Noted American educator Horace Mann was its first President.

Part of Antioch’s progressive tradition that lives on is the coop program, which has students alternating academic quarters on campus with internships across the U.S. and abroad. Last year a small group of 35 students matriculated at the school and all received a Mann scholarship that fully covered tuition. This will continue next fall and for two additional years until the school is fully re-accredited, meaning that a fine Antioch education can be had for the price of room, board and fees – less than $10,000 a year! I am unsure of the selection criteria for such a small class, although I would guess that they are looking for excellent students with an active social consciousness.

On a personal note, I was very interested in Antioch when I was an Ohio high school student planning for college. My mother, who never attended college, but who grew up near Yellow Springs and shared local suspicion about what went on there, said something to the effect of “You will attend a communist college over my dead body!”  — So of course I didn’t apply. However, I always loved visiting YS and attending events on campus, including on one occasion a powerful rendering of the Three Penny Opera. I especially hope that the cool swing that hung from one of the ancient trees on campus has been restored, and that Young’s Dairy Farm just outside town has weathered the absence of students during the three-year closure.

Welcome back Antioch College; may you live long and prosper!!

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