The Clark Center for Arts and Sciences (left) and Peter Howard Memorial Library (right) were constructed for use by Mackinac College.
|Motto||To learn how to learn, to live, and to lead.|
|President||Samuel Douglas Cornell, Ph.D. (1965-1970)|
Mackinac Island, Michigan, United States|
|Colors||blue and green|
In 1964, journalist Peter Howard of the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement, proposed the idea of turning the MRA camp at Mackinac Island, which stood unused for a large portion of the year, into a college campus. His proposal was to use a school "to train youth to take on the key places in nations, to get the right young men instead of the wrong ones into places of influence in public affairs." The school was granted a charter in 1965. Optical physicist S. Douglas Cornell resigned from his position as Executive Officer of the National Academy of Sciences to become the school's president. The MRA deeded its headquarters on the island and the Old Mission House, to Mackinac College. The first class was admitted in 1966 and consisted of 113 students.
During its operations, Mackinac College had a liberal arts focus (unlike the MRA's College of the Good Road which focused on teaching ideology of the MRA), and joined in with the "radical critique of traditional higher education" which was happening in the 1960s, although the MRA was generally strongly opposed to most of the ideals of the 1960s counter culture. Students participated in the creation of the curriculum, but were not allowed to date.
The school closed in 1970, four years after opening. The American School Board Journal cited the reasons for the closure as being "familiar": the high costs of setting up the campus and programs, a smaller enrollment than planned and a lack of alumni to fund endowments.
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