A Visit to Bard College

On Monday (July 2, 2018) we visited Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. There's a stereotype of the rural/small town small liberal arts college: insular, conservative, etc. Bard breaks all of these stereotypes. At first it looks like most other small colleges: Rural with a pretty campus and engaged students. But Bard does everything differently. The first thing is the campus, which is large, about 1,000 acres. Other colleges that have a lot of property tend to have a big chunk of it in an eco-preserve or something similar (see: Vassar, Grinnell). But Bard's key buildings and resources are scattered across the entirety of the 1,000 acres. As a student, it can happen that you need to do a twenty minute walk to get from the economics building to other parts of the campus (fortunately, the students' advisors steer the students away from unfortunate schedules that would put classes in such places too close together in time). Bard also has been growing aggressively now for some 40 years owing to the leadership of Leon Botstein, who took over as President when he was about 30. Since then, he has overseen the establishment of the Bard Conservatory of Music, the Levy Economics Institute, and many other major enterprises. There are also Bard outposts in St. Petersburg, Berlin, Palestine . . . It's really amazing (I was reminded a bit of the growth of Ohio's Antioch College, but it would seem that Bard is doing something quite different, with deep integrations to local academic/civic...

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