Ralston College

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Ralston College
Motto Sermo Liber Vita Ipsa
Established 2010
Type Private, liberal arts college
President Stephen J. Blackwood
Location Savannah, Georgia, United States
Campus Urban
Website www.ralston.ac

Ralston College is a planned liberal arts college in Savannah, Georgia, United States. Its goal is the "reinvention of the classical liberal arts college in a form appropriate to our time".[1]

Ralston College was founded on February 1, 2010.[2] As of October 2013, it is not yet accepting applications for admission.[1] Its president, Stephen J. Blackwood, has been raising funds for the college's operation and has obtained a pledge of buildings for its campus,[3] and the college has announced that it intends to launch a capital campaign with a view to raising $7 million in 2014. St. John's Episcopal Church in Savannah and its parishioners have been significant supporters; the name "Ralston" honors Father William Ralston, who was the church's rector from 1974 to 1999.[4] The college has however declared that its name is provisional (they regard the permanent name as a significant naming opportunity) and that it plans to remain "without political, ideological, or religious affiliations".[5]

Ralston proposes to be an atypical college. The proposed curriculum includes a program of common readings, wherein each year all students are required to read a common set of “supremely difficult” texts. The college describes itself as "at once both traditional and innovative" and explains that it "regards the standpoint from which it understands contemporary culture as radically discontinuous with the worldview that at this point in history informs most institutions of higher education". It also declares that its "collegiate culture and student experience will be unlike anything ever seen before, and precisely in order to accomplish this it intends to make judicious if occasional use in a suitably adapted form of many of the distinctive customs that have characterized college life over the centuries".[1][3][6]

The patrons of Ralston College are Harold Bloom, Hilary Putnam, and Salman Rushdie.[1] The members of the Board of Visitors are Mark Bauerlein, Guyanne Booth, Rhea Bright, Timothy Burgess, Anthony Burton, Mary Clark, Kenneth Cribb, Robert Dodaro, Donald Drakeman, Stanley Fish, Reginald Foster, Frederic Fransen, Geoffrey Harpham, Mark Henrie, Douglas Hofstadter, Roger Kimball, Joseph Koerner, Alan Charles Kors, John Leo, Harry Lewis, Wilfred McClay, Michael Munger, David Novak, James Otteson, Jay Parini, William Craig Rice, Jane Shaw, James Tooley, Donald Verene, Elie Wiesel, and Todd Zywicki.[1]

On March 17, 2011 MindingTheCampus.com, a web magazine that appears under the auspices of the Center for the American University at the Manhattan Institute, published an essay by Harvey Silverglate, a Co-Founder and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, in which he suggests that the advent of Ralston College is reflective of a certain degree of dissatisfaction with what Silverglate sees as the totalitarian and corporatized character of many colleges and universities in the United States.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Home page, Ralston College, retrieved October 8, 2013 
  2. ^ "Corporation record for Ralston College, Inc.". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Fish, Stanley Eugene (November 8, 2010), The Woe-Is-Us-Books, New York Times, retrieved March 6, 2013 
  4. ^ "Highbrow hopes for higher ed in Savannah; Group makes plans for a traditional liberal arts college in Savannah". Savannah Morning News. February 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ About, Ralston College, retrieved April 5, 2013 
  6. ^ Kimball, Roger (February 22, 2013). "How to Choose a College: A Primer". Arma Virumque. The New Criterion. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Silverglate, Harvey A. (March 17, 2011). "What Characterizes the Modern Totalitarian, Corporatized University?". Minding the Campus. The Center for the American University at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 

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