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Wed Sep 12, 2018, 12:57 AM

The Most Contrarian College in America

Whatís the highest calling of higher education? St. Johnís College has some enduring answers.

SANTA FE, N.M. ó Have I got a college for you. For your first two years, your regimen includes ancient Greek. And I do mean Greek, the language, not Greece, the civilization, though youíll also hang with Aristotle, Aeschylus, Thucydides and the rest of the gang. Thereís no choice in the matter. Thereís little choice, period.

Let your collegiate peers elsewhere design their own majors and frolic with Kerouac. For you itís Kant. You have no major, only ďthe program,Ē an exploration of the Western canon that was implemented in 1937 and has barely changed.

Itís intense. Learning astronomy and math, you donít merely encounter Copernicusís conclusions. You pore over his actual words. Youíre not simply introduced to the theory of relativity. You read ďRelativity,Ē the book that Albert Einstein wrote.

Diversions are limited. Thereís no swimming team. No pool. The dorms are functional; same goes for the dining. Youíre not here for banh mi. Youíre here for Baudelaire.

Iím talking about St. Johnís College, which was founded in 1696 in Annapolis, Md., is the third-oldest college in America and, between its campus there and the one here, has about 775 undergraduates. And Iím drawing attention to it because itís an increasingly exotic and important holdout against so many developments in higher education ó the stress on vocational training, the treatment of students as fickle consumers, the elevation of individualism over a shared heritage ó that have gone too far. Itís a necessary tug back in the other direction. . .

I visited St. Johnís out of respect for its orneriness and because itís making an announcement this week thatís consistent with its mission of pushing back against the fashionable norm. For the academic year that begins in the fall of 2019, itís lowering its yearly tuition to $35,000 from $52,000, a change that recognizes how wildly the cost of college has risen and how few students pay the sticker price anyway.'>>>


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elleng Sep 2018 OP
Rhiannon12866 Sep 2018 #1

Response to elleng (Original post)

Wed Sep 12, 2018, 02:53 AM

1. I considered going there, back in the day...

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