Marlboro College

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For the English school, see Marlborough College.

Coordinates: 42°50′20″N 72°43′54″W / 42.838842°N 72.731681°W / 42.838842; -72.731681

Marlboro College
Marlboro Logo.gif
Established 1946
Type Private
Endowment $40 million (approx. as of 12/2014)
President Kevin Quigley
Administrative staff
41 full-time faculty
Students 200
Location Marlboro, VT, USA
Campus Rural: 360 acres (1.5 km2)

Marlboro College is an intentionally small, coeducational, academically rigorous liberal-arts college located in Marlboro, Vermont, USA with 235 students. Students at Marlboro create an individualized course of study in collaboration with faculty members and participate in a self-governing community. Students pursue a self-designed, often inter-disciplinary, Plan of Concentration based on their academic interests that culminates in a major body of scholarship.


Marlboro College was founded in 1946 by Walter Hendricks on Potash Hill in Marlboro, Vermont, and many of the first students were returning World War II veterans. The school's operation was initially financed using money received from the GI Bill, as well as loans from Brattleboro Savings and Loan. The campus incorporates the buildings of two old farms that once operated on the college site. Marlboro has grown slowly but steadily since its inception, and about 200 students currently attend, with an average enrollment of 250 students.

In 1997 Marlboro College founded the Marlboro College Graduate School in nearby Brattleboro, Vermont to apply the same educational principles of Marlboro College to advance the careers of working professionals.

The Marlboro College campus has also been the summer home for more than 50 years to the Marlboro Music Festival.



The Marlboro College campus is located on South Road in the small town of Marlboro, Vermont, in the wooded Green Mountains. Marlboro is just off Route 9, which runs east-west across southern Vermont, ten miles from Brattleboro to the east with Wilmington and Bennington further to the west. Boston is two and a half hours to the east, Burlington is three and a half hours to the north, and New York City is four hours to the south.

The closest major town is Brattleboro, and students frequently make the 25-minute downhill drive along Route 9 to hang out there at night and on weekends. Brattleboro, like Marlboro College, is liberal in its social life and politics. The town features a well preserved historic main street with a strong gallery scene, boutiques, ethnic and health food, and a historic arthouse movie theater. The similar but much larger AmherstNorthampton area of western Massachusetts is also a favorite hangout but is almost an hour away down Interstate 91.


The dining hall and Mather building at Marlboro College

Marlboro's facilities are relatively small because of its size. Many of the buildings including the main classroom building, the dining hall, the admissions building and the administration building are converted farm buildings that predate the college. The campus' historic buildings require a lot of maintenance.[1] Through grants from federal, state and private entities, the college has been able to improve the energy-efficiency of the Dining Hall, Dalrymple, Mather, and the Admissions building since 2008, as well as student residences. In the summer of 2011, the half-circle driveway at the campus entrance was converted to green space and walking paths.

In the last several years the school has added a new performing arts center with an 125-seat auditorium, an electronic music lab, practice rooms with baby grand pianos and a 5,000 square foot dance studio, as well as a new dormitory called Out-of-the-Way. The college also expanded the library, the sculpture studio, and added a new total health center (or THC) and exercise facility to the campus center. These additions made room for the world studies program in the old music building, a new student residence in the old health center, an expansion of the outdoor program into the old exercise room, and athletic space in the old dance studio.

The school recently completed an addition to the Outdoor Programs Building, to centralize the equipment that the OP takes care of and loans out, as well as a new Greenhouse designed by a recent graduate and built by the community on the school farm (Marlboro Victory Garden). Marlboro is currently building a new, 14,000-square-foot visual arts center that will house studios, classrooms, and gallery spaces.


The Clear Writing Requirement[edit]

Freshman students usually take one or more classes designed to boost their writing skills to an acceptable undergraduate level. All freshmen must submit 20 pages (4,000 words) of nonfiction writing to the English Committee by the end of their second semester. If the committee decides that a student's writing skills need more work, they recommend a class to help, and the student must prepare another portfolio, at least 10 pages of which must be new, at the end of the next semester for re-evaluation. In the event that a student fails the writing requirement for three consecutive semesters, the school will ask the student to leave with the caveat that he or she can return after receiving high marks from an English class at another school. However, almost all students pass the writing requirement within two semesters.[2]

The Plan of Concentration[edit]

Juniors and seniors focus on developing an individualized Plan of Concentration rather than on heavy coursework. "Plan" is a large, self-designed project often involving a combination of disciplines. Juniors and seniors focus on independent work and increasingly take tutorial classes (one or two students and an instructor). For most students Plan culminates in a written thesis, although art and science students may pursue other projects. However all Plans must include a written portion constituting at least 20 percent of the total plan work. In addition, all Plans must include an independent project prepared without direct faculty input, also constituting at least 20 percent of the total plan. Plans that consist entirely of academic writing usually range from one hundred to two hundred pages, double-spaced.

The results of this work are defended in an oral examination before two Marlboro professors, and one outside evaluator who has expertise in the student's field of study but is not connected with the college. The presence of the outside evaluator is meant to ensure that the grading process is fair and objective. The final plan is then put on permanent file as a reference work in the college library.[3]

Academic honors[edit]

Loren Pope, original author of the Colleges that Change Lives college guide and former education editor for The New York Times, writes about Marlboro, saying, "You will find the Marlboro adventure far more intense and intellectually demanding than Harvard, any other Ivy, or Ivy clone. There simply is no comparison."[4]


Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

  • Author Ethan Gilsdorf worked in the marketing department in the late 1990s

Student life[edit]

Because of its isolation, Marlboro's social life is largely self-contained and centers primarily on small student-organized events or parties. Open mic nights at the Campus Center happen several times a semester, in addition to events like President's Ball, Gender Bender, Queer Homecoming and other events.

The school was founded on and continues to encourage a tradition of community participation and values. A bi-monthly "town meeting" allows all community members to gather and vote to change the college bylaws. An elected community court dispenses justice when necessary. Different elected committees, consisting of students, faculty and staff, help to hire faculty (or even college presidents) and steer the curriculum, among many other responsibilities.

The school maintains minimal security measures in order to promote attitudes of trust and responsibility on campus. The library is also open all night and uses a self-checkout honor system to keep track of borrowed materials.

Athletics are also shaped by Marlboro's location, and by Vermont's long winters – the coldest weather coincides with the academic year. Though few organized sports teams exist, the school's "Outdoor Program" promotes activities such as rock climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, white-water kayaking, caving, canoeing, hiking, and the annual February broomball tournament. In addition, the college is located in close proximity to Mount Snow ski resort.


The administration of the school publishes a biannual magazine, Potash Hill. A student newspaper, The Marlboro Citizen, is published biweekly on campus. A student literary magazine is published once per semester.


  • An average of 67% of the school's applicant pool is accepted. The middle 50% range of SAT I scores (for 2005) was 1040–1310 out of 1600 possible points.
  • 75% of Marlboro College alumni attend graduate school. The three most frequently attended institutions are Antioch University (New England), Harvard University, and Boston University.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matt Ollis. Marlboro College STARS Snapshot - Sierra Club p. 50.
  2. ^ Marlboro College. "Clear Writing Program". Marlboro College. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Marlboro College. "PLAN OF CONCENTRATION". Marlboro College. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Pope, Loren. Colleges That Change Lives, 3rd edition, 2006, p. 10.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Institutional Data | Marlboro College". Retrieved 2015-09-17. 

External links[edit]