|Motto||Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.|
|Type||Private, Coeducational, Undergraduate, Liberal arts|
|Academic staff||25|
|Admin. staff||15|
|Location||Yellow Springs, Ohio, United States|
|Colors||Blue and gold (historical) Crimson and Charcoal (current) |
|Mascot||Antioch Free Radicals (historical)|
|Affiliations||Great Lakes Colleges Association|
Antioch College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Founded in 1850 by the Christian Connection, the college began operating in 1852; politician and education reformer Horace Mann became its first president. Antioch College is the only liberal arts institution in the nation to require a cooperative education work program for all of its students. Democracy and shared governance are at the heart of the college.
Since 1921 Antioch's educational approach has blended practical work experience with classroom learning, and participatory community governance. Students receive narrative evaluations and academic letter grades.
Antioch College is no longer associated with Antioch University.
On July 1, 2008 Antioch College temporarily suspended operations. Antioch University, which then controlled the College, transferred assets including the campus, endowment, the Glen Helen Nature Preserve, and the Antioch Review literary journal, to the Antioch College Continuing Corporation in 2009 for $5 million. The Antioch College Continuing Corporation then raised nearly $17 million from alumni to reopen in the fall of 2011. Since reopening, the College has received a large number of applications for admission. Its acceptance rate was 5.2% for the class entering in October 2012.
Antioch College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and the North American Alliance for Green Education. The College has produced two Nobel Prize winners. José Ramos-Horta, the 1996 laureate for Peace, obtained his Master of Arts at Antioch in 1984. Mario Capecchi, the 2007 laureate for Medicine, earned the Bachelor of Science from Antioch in 1961.
On October 5, 1850, the General Convention of the Christian Church passed a resolution stating "that our responsibility to the community, and the advancement of our interests as a denomination, demand of us the establishing of a College." The delegates further pledged "the sum of one hundred thousand dollars as the standard by which to measure our zeal and our effort in raising the means for establishing the contemplated College." The Committee on the Plan for a College was formed to undertake the founding of a college, and make decisions regarding the name of the school, the endowment, fundraising, faculty, and administration. Most notably, the committee decided that the college "shall afford equal privileges to students of both sexes." The Christian Connection sect wanted the new college to be sectarian, but the planning committee decided otherwise.
Despite its enthusiasm, the Christian Connection's fundraising efforts proved insufficient. The money raised before the school opened failed to cover even the cost of the three original buildings, much less create an endowment. The Unitarian Church contributed an equal amount of funds and nearly as many students to the new school, causing denominational strife early on.
Horace Mann, Antioch's first president, ran the college from its start in 1853 until his death in 1859. The young college had relatively high academic standards, and "good moral character" was a requirement for graduation. The first curriculum focused on Latin, Greek, mathematics, history, philosophy and science, and offered electives in art, botany, pedagogy, and modern languages. Tuition was $24 a year, and the first graduating class consisted of 28 students. Although the founders planned for approximately 1,000 students, enrollment only exceeded 500 once in the 19th century, in 1857.
One notable character in Antioch's history is Rebecca Pennell, Mann's niece, who was one of the college's ten original faculty members. She was the first female college professor in the United States to have the same rank and pay as her male colleagues. Her home, now part of the Antioch campus and called Pennell House, served in recent years as community space for several of Antioch's student-led independent groups.
In 1859, Mann gave his final commencement speech, including what became the college's motto: "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." Mann died in August and was initially interred on the Antioch College grounds. The next year, he was reinterred in Providence, Rhode Island, next to his first wife. Mann is commemorated by a statue on campus.
Noteworthy among historical figures at the college are Austin Craig and Lucretia Crocker. The Reverend Craig became the third president of Antioch College. Crocker taught mathematics and astronomy. As the first woman supervisor of the Boston Public Schools, Crocker pioneered the discovery method of teaching mathematics and the natural sciences during her decade-long tenure, which began with her appointment in 1876. Earlier, in 1873, she was among the first women elected to the Boston School Committee, and a strong advocate for higher education for women.
The original founders gave no consideration to the question of whether Antioch should admit students of color, neither forbidding nor explicitly allowing it. The associated preparatory school admitted two African American girls during the mid-1850s, an action one trustee responded to by resigning and removing his own children from the school. His opinion was apparently the minority one, though, as the African American students were not withdrawn. In 1863, Antioch trustee John Phillips proposed a resolution stating "the Trustees of Antioch College cannot, according to the Charter, reject persons on account of color." The resolution passed with nine trustees in favor and four opposed. However, the college remained nearly all white until after World War II, when the school undertook a minority recruitment program.
Antioch College was insolvent the day it opened and faced financial difficulties from its first years. From 1857 to 1859, Antioch ran an annual deficit of US$5,000, out of a total budget of US$13,000. In 1858, Antioch was bankrupt. Mann died in 1859 and the college was reorganized, but deficits continued. Mann's successor, Thomas Hill, took Antioch's presidency on the condition that faculty salaries be paid despite deficits. Despite this stipulation, his salary was often not paid, and he supported his family with loans. Hill and a colleague attempted to raise an endowment, but potential donors were put off by the strong sectarian leanings of some of the college's trustees. Hill resigned in 1862 due to increasing financial troubles, sectarian conflict between Christian Connection and Unitarian trustees, and his election as president of Harvard. In 1862, the college was closed until finances improved and remained closed until after the end of the Civil War.
In 1865, the college reopened, now administered by the Unitarian Church. The financial health of the college seemed improved, as the Unitarians had raised a US$100,000 endowment in the space of two months. The endowment was originally invested in government bonds and later in real estate and timber. The investment income, while performing well, was still insufficient to maintain the college at the high level desired by the trustees. Some of the principal was lost to foreclosures during the Long Depression, which began in 1873. The college closed again from 1881–1882 to allow the endowment to recover.
In 1869, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings began their inaugural season as history's first professional baseball team, they played a preseason game at the site of what is now the Grand Union Terminal in Cincinnati against the Antiochs, who were regarded as one of the finest amateur clubs in Ohio. The game was played on May 15, 1869, and Cincinnati defeated Antioch 41-7. Antioch had been scheduled to host the first game of this professional tour on May 31, 1869, but pouring rain and an unplayable field kept the teams off the diamond. So, while Antioch was not a part of the first professional baseball game, the college does hold claim to hosting the first ever rainout in professional baseball.
The turn of the century saw little improvement in the college's finances. In 1900 faculty made between US$500 and $700 a year, very low for the time, and the president was paid $1,500 a year. In contrast, Horace Mann's annual salary had been $3,000 more than forty years prior. Enrollment did increase significantly under the presidency of Simeon D. Fess, who served from 1906 to 1917. In 1912 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, and served three of his five total terms while also acting as president of Antioch.
World War I had little effect, good or bad, on the college and though some people on campus contracted influenza during the Spanish flu epidemic, there were no deaths. In February 1919, the Young Men's Christian Association attempted a peaceful takeover of the college, offering to raise an endowment of US$500,000 if Antioch would serve as the official national college of the YMCA. The YMCA proposal was received positively by the college's trustees and enacted by a unanimous vote, and Grant Perkins, a YMCA executive, assumed the college's presidency. By May, Perkins had resigned, reporting that he was not prepared to raise the necessary funds.
In June 1919, several candidates were submitted to the trustees, including Arthur Morgan. Morgan was elected to the board without any prior notification of his candidacy. An engineer, he had been involved in planning a college in upstate New York that would have included work-study along with a more traditional curriculum. Morgan also received the right to demand the resignations of faculty and trustees. He presented his plan for "practical industrial education" to the trustees, which accepted the new plan. Antioch closed for a third time while the curriculum was reorganized and the co-op program developed. In 1920, Morgan was unanimously elected president and, in 1921, the college reopened with the cooperative education program.
The early co-op program was not required; students could enter as traditional students or cooperative education students. Despite this, by the 1935 academic year, nearly 80% of the student body had chosen the cooperative program. Students initially studied for eight-week-long terms alternating with eight-week-long work experiences. Male students generally took apprenticeships with craftsmen or jobs in factories; female students often served as nursing or teaching assistants. In 1921, when the program was inaugurated, fewer than 1% of available co-op jobs were located outside of Ohio, but this had grown to about 75% within 15 years.
Morgan constructed a new board of trustees of prominent businessmen, replacing many of the local ministers and adding a new source of income. Charles Kettering alone contributed more than $500,000 to Antioch. These kinds of major donations by board members and their friends totaled more than $2 million for the decade. Kettering and other major patrons hoped to create a model institution that would create potential business administrators with students "trained for proprietorship." The college wisely declined an offer from John Henry Patterson to finance the college completely if Antioch would leave rural Yellow Springs, re-establish itself on NCR grounds in Dayton, and rechristen itself the National Cash Register College.
The college enrolled no black students from 1899–1929 and only two from 1929–1936 (neither graduated), so it is unknown how racial discrimination among employers affected the co-op program. While Antioch itself had no religious quotas (elsewhere common until the 1940s), many employers discriminated against Jews, a fact that limited the number of Jewish students at Antioch. The program suffered for available positions during the Great Depression, prompting the college to employ many students at industrial jobs on campus.
Center of activism
Beginning in the 1940s, Antioch was considered an early bastion of student activism, anti-racism, and progressive thought. During World War II, Antioch, among other eastern colleges, with the help of Victor Goertzel, participated in a program which arranged for students of Japanese origin interned in Relocation camps to enroll in college. In 1943 the college Race Relations Committee began offering scholarships to non-white students to help diversify the campus, which had been mostly white since its founding. The first scholarship recipient was Edythe Scott, elder sister of Coretta Scott King. Coretta Scott received the scholarship and attended Antioch two years after her sister. Antioch was one of the first historically white colleges to actively recruit black students. Antioch was also the first historically white college to appoint a black person to be chair of an academic department, when Walter Anderson was appointed chair of the music department.
In the 1950s Antioch faced pressure from the powerful House Un-American Activities Committee and faced criticism from many area newspapers because it did not expel students and faculty accused of having Communist leanings. College officials stood firm, insisting that freedom begins not in suppressing unpopular ideas but in holding all ideas up to the light. The school, including professors and administration, was also involved in the early stages of the American Civil Rights Movement and was a supporter of free speech.
In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the commencement speech.
Antioch became increasingly progressive and financially healthy during the 1960s and early 1970s under the Presidency of Dr. James P. Dixon. The student body topped out at around 2,400 students, the college owned property all over Yellow Springs and beyond, and the college grew throughout the decade. It began to appear in literary works and other media as an icon of youth culture, serving, for example, as the setting for a portion of Philip Roth's novel, Portnoy's Complaint, and an S.J. Perelman satire, "To Yearn Is Subhuman, To Forestall Devine." At this time, Antioch became one of the primary sources of student radicalism, the New Left, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the Black Power movement in the region. The town of Yellow Springs became an island of liberal and progressive activism in southern Ohio.
In many instances, the environment of the school spurred its students to activism. Eleanor Holmes Norton, future congressional delegate for Washington, D.C., recalled her time at Antioch as one "when the first real action that could be called movement action was ignited", according to an interview now available in the National Security Archives.
Development of university system
The 1970s saw the college continue to develop its reputation as a source of activism and progressive political thought. Several graduate satellite schools around the country, under the Antioch University name (with the college as a base), were established as well, including the McGregor School (now known as Antioch University McGregor located on a new campus in Yellow Springs that opened September 2007). Antioch University New England was the first graduate school offshoot in 1964.
After consideration of 337 candidates, William Birenbaum was named as president of Antioch College in April 1976. The chairman of the search committee called him a "courageous and charismatic personality" who is an "experienced chief executive with a strong track record in crisis-type settings." By 1979, The New York Times described tensions on campus due to the school's dire financial crisis and that Birenbaum's "pugnacious and often abrasive style had offended many Antiochians", with enrollment at the Yellow Springs, Ohio campus dropping from 2,000 to 1,000 during the 1970s. Birenbaum implemented cost-cutting measures including a reduction in the number of satellite campus programs nationwide from 30 down to under 10 and changed its name to Antioch University as a parent for its multiple campuses. By November 1980, The New York Times was able to report in a headline of an article about the college that "A Streamlined Antioch Appears on the Way to Survival". Birenbaum announced in June 1984 that he would be retiring and Alan E. Guskin of the University of Wisconsin–Parkside was named to succeed him as of September 1, 1985.
Late 20th century
The college was led in the mid-1980s through the 1990s by Antioch Presidents Alan Guskin and Bob Devine. Antioch's enrollment figures never surpassed 1,000 students but the campus underwent renovations and buildings that had been boarded up were repaired and reopened, including South Hall, one of the college's three original buildings.
The 21st century
In 2000, Antioch College was again subject to media attention after inviting political activist and former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and transgender rights advocate and Abu-Jamal supporter Leslie Feinberg to be commencement speakers. Graduating students had chosen Abu-Jamal and Feinberg to highlight their concerns with capital punishment and the American criminal justice system. Many conservative commentators criticized the Antioch administration for allowing students to choose such controversial commencement speakers and the college administration received death threats. Antioch President Bob Devine chose not to overturn the students' choice of speakers, citing the ideals of free speech and free exchange of ideas, and likened the media reaction to the coverage of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1965 commencement address.
In the early 2000s enrollment declined to just over 600 students. This combined with a declining economy caused Antioch University to institute a "Renewal Plan" in 2003. The controversial plan called for restructuring Antioch's first-year program into learning communities and upgrading campus facilities. Many students and faculty stated that they were shut out of planning. Antioch University's Board of Trustees committed to five years of funding for the renewal plan but discontinued this commitment to the college three years into the plan.
Simultaneously with the announcement of the renewal plan, the University's Board of Trustees announced mandated staff cuts at the college, including the elimination of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Student anger over the mandated renewal plan and program cuts led to a student-initiated protest entitled "People of Color Takeover", which garnered negative media attention. Partially in response to this, Antioch College created the Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom in 2006.
With the implementation of the controversial renewal plan, enrollment dropped from 650 students to 370 in two years, a decline that many feel was a result of the curriculum change mandated by the Board of Trustees. At an Antioch University Board of Trustees meeting in June 2007 the Board stated that while the college was only in its third year of implementation of the plan they had not raised the funds needed, and that the college would be indefinitely closed at the end of the 2007–08 academic year.
Alumni action to save the college
Many Antioch alumni and faculty, upset at the prospect of the loss of the college's legacy, began organizing and raising funds in an effort to save the college, keep it open without interruption, and gain greater transparency in its governance. In August 2007, the college faculty filed suit against the Board of Trustees, charging that the Board was violating various contractual obligations.
Following a meeting between university and alumni representatives in August 2007, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution giving the Alumni Board until the October 2007 trustees' meeting to demonstrate the viability of an Alumni Board proposal to maintain the operations of the College. Despite initially stating he would remain until December, Antioch president Steve Lawry abruptly stepped down as president on September 1, 2007. The role of president was turned over to a three-person group, comprising the Dean of Faculty, Director of Student Services, and Director of Communications. While no reason for Lawry's immediate departure was given, it has been reported that he was forcibly ousted by the Board of Trustees. In response to this reported ousting, the faculty gave Antioch University Chancellor Toni Murdock a vote of no confidence.
A story about Antioch's closing in The Chronicle of Higher Education detailed the uncertain future of some faculty and staff members, along with the town of Yellow Springs, following suspended operations at the college. One professor, who received tenure just 28 hours before the college announced its closing, had turned down other jobs in academia to work at Antioch. The story includes a slideshow showing outdated and crumbling buildings on campus.
On November 3, 2007, the University Board of Trustees agreed to lift the suspension of the college, which would have seen the college operate continuously rather than closing. The Alumni Board embarked on a $100 million fundraising drive to build the college's endowment, raising more than $18 million in gifts and pledges by November 2007. However, major donors balked out of concern that the deal did not make the college sufficiently autonomous from the university, and a group began meeting directly with the university, incorporating as the Antioch College Continuation Corporation (ACCC). On February 22, 2008, the university issued a press release reinstating the suspension, despite ongoing negotiations with the group. On March 28, 2008, university trustees rejected a $12.2 million offer from the ACCC, which then offered $10 million for 10 seats on the 19-member board. On May 8, 2008, university trustees rejected the ACCC's "best and final" offer – $9.5 million for the college and another $6 million for the graduate campuses in exchange for eight board seats, with an additional four new trustees to be jointly agreed upon by the ACCC and current trustees.
Temporary closure after separation from university
To the sorrow of alumni, the college closed as promised on June 30, 2008. The suspension of operations of the College led to a collaboration between the University and its College alumni association to explore a means to separate the College from the University in a manner which preserved the viability of both. The closure of Antioch College also spurred the creation of the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute. Led by former faculty, staff, and students, and with the support of Yellow Springs residents, Nonstop aimed to keep the values and mission of the College alive in the midst of its suspension.  Recognizing that any reopening of the College required the cooperation and substantial financial support of alumni, the Board of Governors of Antioch University adopted a resolution on June 8, 2008, requesting that the Alumni Association prepare a plan to bring the College back to vigor and vitality. Thereafter, the Antioch University Board of Governors and the Board of Directors of the Antioch College Alumni Association publicly announced on July 17, 2008, the creation of a new task force composed of University and Alumni representatives to develop a plan to create an independent Antioch College. The Alumni Association then delegated its role in the discussions to a limited group of alumni who had incorporated as Antioch College Continuation Corporation ("ACCC"), an Ohio non-profit corporation. The task force discussions were facilitated in part by the Great Lakes College Association. As the result of those discussions, ACCC and Antioch University agreed to an asset purchase agreement on June 30, 2009. That agreement called for the transfer of the College campus and the College endowment to ACCC which would operate the College as an independent corporation with its own fiduciary board of trustees. As part of the transaction, Antioch University licensed to ACCC an exclusive right to use the name "Antioch College". The parties closed on the transfer of assets on September 4, 2009. Matthew A. Derr was hired as interim President to recruit an entering class for the Fall of 2011.
Revival and reopening
On May 5, 2011, The Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents gave approval for Antioch College to offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Antioch reopened as an independent four-year college in the Autumn of 2011 with 35 students. In January 2012, Antioch announced it would offer free tuition to its students for the following three years, pledging to charge them only room, board, and fees. As a result, Antioch College received more than 2,500 applications for fall 2012 admission. About five percent of applicants received acceptance letters, making Antioch one of the more selective colleges in the U.S. Seventy-five new students arrived for orientation in October 2012. Reportedly some of the new students had declined admission offers from elite colleges so that they could help to rebuild Antioch.
Antioch's campus is in the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, approximately 20 miles from Dayton, Ohio, and 65 miles from Cincinnati, Ohio. Antioch Hall, North and South Halls are the three original buildings on the campus. The 1943 Birch Hall dormitory, designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen, housed the first class of post-closure students in 2011-2012. The historic 1930s Science Building began a $3.5 million partial renovation in 2012.
An 1852 dormitory, North Hall, has been extensively renovated, making it the oldest building in the United States to meet LEED Gold Standard for sustainable construction. North Hall's energy self-sufficiency includes solar panels on its roof, and geothermal energy for heating and cooling. About 25 geothermal wells were sunk 600 feet deep on the lawn near North Hall to supply water pumped through the building to maintain livable temperatures.
Profiles and recognition
Antioch has been regularly included in the guidebook Colleges That Change Lives which declares that "there is no college or university in the country that makes a more profound difference in a young person's life or that creates more effective adults."
During her remarks to the college in 2004, alumna Coretta Scott King stated that "Antioch students learn that it’s not enough to have a great career, material wealth and a fulfilling family life. We are also called to serve, to share, to give and to do what we can to lift up the lives of others. No other college emphasizes this challenge so strongly. That’s what makes Antioch so special."
The Twilight Zone TV series, created by 1950 Antioch alumnus Rod Serling, includes an episode titled "The Changing of the Guard" that is considered to be "the Antioch episode" for its references to Antioch that include mention of Horace Mann and the school motto.
Sexual Offense Prevention Policy Controversy
In 1993 Antioch became the focus of national attention with its "Sexual Offense Prevention Policy." Under this policy, consent for sexual behavior must be "(a) verbal, (b) mutual, and (c) reiterated for every new level of sexual behavior." This policy was initiated after two date rapes reportedly occurred on the Antioch College campus during the 1990–91 academic year. A group of students formed under the name "Womyn of Antioch" to address their concern that sexual offenses in general were not being taken seriously enough by the administration or some in the campus community. Advocates of the policy explain that the original "Sexual Offense Policy," as it was then called, was created during a couple of late-night meetings in the campus Womyn's Center, and that "this original policy was questionable. It was not legally binding, no rights were given to the accused, and it called for immediate expulsion of the accused with no formal process." The policy, both as it then stood and as revised, uniquely viewed any sexual offense as not simply a violation of the victim's rights, but as an offense against the entire campus community. It was revised to focus more on education and less on punishment and clarified in a series of community meetings during the 1991–92 academic year. Once revised, it was endorsed by the entire campus and the Board of Trustees, and thus became the official policy of the college that year.
This revised policy attracted renewed national publicity two years later, during the fall semester of the 1993–94 academic year, allegedly when a student doing a co-op on the west coast mentioned the policy to a California campus newspaper reporter. An Associated Press reporter picked up the story in the early days of the term, and a media frenzy ensued, one that arguably garnered more attention to Antioch than anything since the student strike of 1973. The policy was often ridiculed by the mainstream American news media that fall, even becoming the butt of a Saturday Night Live sketch, entitled "Is It Date Rape?" Some media outlets voiced support for the policy. For example, syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman asserted that most "sexual policy makers write like lawyers in love," and that, likewise, "at Antioch the authors could use some poetry, and passion." But she was ultimately sympathetic to their goals of leveling the sexual playing field and making students think about what consent means, saying that the Antioch campus "has the plot line just about right."
Antioch College offers ten majors leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree, and three majors leading to the Bachelor of Science.
All Antioch students participate in the college's co-op program as part of their academic requirements for graduation. Under the program, students spend a total of four 12-week terms, distributed throughout their undergraduate years, working as paid, full-time employees in local, national, or international settings.
Antioch College is not currently accredited but is undergoing a multi-year, multi-phase process seeking to gain accreditation.
Every student admitted to the graduating classes of 2015 through 2018 receives the Horace Mann Fellowship, which covers the full cost of tuition for four years.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Antioch College|
Websites affiliated with Antioch:
- AntiochCollege.org, the current website for Antioch College
- The Antioch Record, the College's Newspaper
- Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute—a project of former Antioch College Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni
- Yellow Springs News
- The Antioch Papers
- Save Antioch
- Antioch College Faculty Legal Fund
- The Blaze—An alternative campus publication
- Antioch College Action Network (ACAN)—An independent collective of students, faculty, staff, alumni, villagers and friends of the college
- Listen Up Antioch, a collection of audio and video recordings related to Antioch.