Little Ivies

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The Little Ivies (singularly Little Ivy) are a group of private liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States.[1] 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.[2][3][4][5] Union withdrew in 1977[6] and was replaced by Connecticut College in 1982. 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.[7] As is the Ivy League, the Little Ivies are colleges and universities located in the Northeastern United States.

Usage of the term[edit]

A 2016 article by Bloomberg Businessweek lists the members of the Little Ivies as:[7][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Little Good News for the Little Ivies". Bloomberg. 
  2. ^ "NESCAC: About". 
  3. ^ "Little Ivies". 
  4. ^ 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)."
  5. ^ a b 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?")
  6. ^, retrieved October 1, 2008. "[I]n March 1977, a letter from the president of Williams College brought to light evidence that, a year earlier, Harkness had violated the NESCAC recruiting rules and then lied about the matter when confronted by President Bonner. Bonner immediately suspended Harkness, and offered his own resignation to the Board of Trustees at its April meeting. The trustees reinstated Harkness, refused to accept the president's resignation—reappointing him for one year—and voted to terminate Union's membership in NESCAC."
  7. ^ a b "The Little Ivies' Endowments Took a Big Hit This Year". 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Duckworth, Henry. One version of the facts: my life in the ivory tower. University of Manitoba Press. p. 94. ISBN 0-88755-670-1. 
  10. ^ "Bowdoin Football Featured in Sporting News "50 States, 50 Rivalries" - Bowdoin". Retrieved 2015-12-25. 
  11. ^ "NESCAC football historical scores". Retrieved 2015-12-25. Members of the NESCAC, including: Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College 
  12. ^ 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 
  13. ^ Eaton, Mabel (1930). General Catalogue of Bates College and Cobb Divinity School. Coram Library, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine: Bates College. pp. 34, 38, 49. 
  14. ^ 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.. 
  15. ^ 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..