The Little Ivies (singularly Little Ivy) are a group of eighteen private liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States. The term has been used in reference to the Little Three athletic league, alluding to the Big Three of the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. The Little Three include Amherst College, Wesleyan University and Williams College. Along with Bowdoin College, they signed an agreement in 1955 that led to the establishment of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in 1971 when these schools were joined by Bates College, Colby College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Tufts University, Trinity College and Union College. The term Little Ivy is generally associated with the colleges of the NESCAC and select schools from the Liberty League, Patriot League and the Centennial Conference because of their small student bodies, traits of academic excellence, associated historical social prestige, and highly competitive admission selectivity comparable to the Ivy League. According to Bloomberg, the Little Ivies are also known for their large and comparably wealthy financial endowments. As is the Ivy League, the Little Ivies are colleges and universities located in the Northeastern United States.
- Amherst College
- Bates College
- Bowdoin College
- Bucknell University
- Colgate University
- Connecticut College
- Colby College
- Hamilton College
- Haverford College
- Lafayette College
- Middlebury College
- Swarthmore College
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- Union College
- Vassar College
- Wesleyan University
- Williams College
Usage of the term
Some of the associated schools are also affiliated with:
- The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) founding members of 1971: Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Union, Wesleyan and Williams.
- The colleges of the "Little Three": Amherst, Wesleyan, and Williams. This athletic league was founded as the "Triangular League" in 1899 in New England The term has also been used to compare the three institutions with the Big Three of the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
- The colleges of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Consortium (CBB), three academically selective colleges in Maine: Bates College, Bowdoin College, and Colby College. These schools are colloquially known as the "Maine Big Three", in imitation of the Big Three of the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
- Quaker Consortium
- Black Ivy League — informal list of colleges that attracted top African American students prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s
- Jesuit Ivy — Use of "Ivy" to characterize Boston College
- Public Ivies — Group of public U.S. universities thought to "provide an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price"
- Seven Sisters — Historically, these were women's colleges each of which had a close tie to an Ivy League (then, men-only) school.
- Southern Ivies — Use of "Ivy" to characterize excellent universities in the U. S. South
- Golden Triangle (English universities) — a group of leading English universities
- "Little Good News for the Little Ivies". Bloomberg.
- "NESCAC: About".
- "Little Ivies".
- Tyre, Peg & William Lee Adams (2005), "Prep Chic," Newsweek, May 4, 2005 "23 percent of Taft graduates attended one of the Ivies or little Ivies (Wesleyan, Williams and Amherst)."
- Union-News (Springfield, MA), December 5, 1988, p. 13 (quotes a Bryn Mawr official: "If the Seven Sisters were now Siblings, she asked, did that mean that Wesleyan, Williams and Amherst colleges, referred to as the 'Little Ivies,' were cousins?")
- "The Little Ivies' Endowments Took a Big Hit This Year". Bloomberg.com. 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- United States Congress, Senate, Committee on Finance (1951): Revenue Act of 1951. p. 1768. Material by Stuart Hedden, president of Wesleyan University Press, inserted into the record: "Popularly known, together with Williams and Amherst, as one of the Little Three colleges of New England, [Wesleyan] has for nearly a century and a quarter served the public welfare by maintaining with traditional integrity the highest academic standards." Published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951.
- Duckworth, Henry. One version of the facts: my life in the ivory tower. University of Manitoba Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-88755-670-1.
- "Bowdoin Football Featured in Sporting News "50 States, 50 Rivalries" - Bowdoin". athletics.bowdoin.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
- "NESCAC football historical scores". www3.amherst.edu. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
Members of the NESCAC, including: Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College
- Calhoun, Charles (1993). A Small College in Maine. Hubbard Hall, Bowdoin College: Bowdoin College. p. 163.: Bowdoin College. pp. 12, 19.
...Of the three top schools in Maine, the CBB drew the most notation to what was informally characterized as a smaller Ivy League, one that provided an Ivy League education with a smaller student body
- Eaton, Mabel (1930). General Catalogue of Bates College and Cobb Divinity School. Coram Library, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine: Bates College. pp. 34, 38, 49.
- Larson, Timothy (2005). Faith by Their Works: The Progressive Tradition at Bates College from 1855 to 1877. Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine: Edmund S. Muskie Archives. pp. 3, 51.
... the group [CBB] seemed to draw power from their comparisons to the Ivy League operating in such a group entitled, 'the Little Ivies."... Bowdoin often drawing the connection to Harvard, Bates to Princeton, and Colby to Yale..
- Clark, Charles E (2005). Bates Through the Years: an Illustrated History. Edmund Muskie Archives: Bates College, Lewiston, Maine: Edmund Muskie Archives. p. 12.
With a progressive notion of academic integrity, Bates along with Bowdoin became the major figure heads of Ivy League caliber faculty..