Shutting three years ago for “financial exigency,” an independent Antioch College reopens to its first class this fall. Students arrive Sept. 24 for first-year orientation. Classes begin Oct. 4.
An undergraduate liberal arts college, Antioch College pioneered the innovative cooperative education program that requires its students to complete full-time periods of paid work as part of their education. The College was also one of the first fully coeducational and racially integrated college in the U.S. The College’s closure, in 2008, received national media attention.
The College received unwanted national attention in 1993 for its “Sexual Offense Prevention Policy” which required students to consent verbally to “every new level of sexual behavior” in an attempt to curtail sexual assault. The policy was widely criticized and even parodied on Saturday Night Live. In 2000, the College’s choice of Mumia Abu-Jamal as commencement speaker, along with declining enrollment and fiscal uncertainty, raised questions about Antioch’s future and commitment to higher education. The college was shut down in 2008.
In the fall of 2009, an alumni-led group purchased the campus and other college assets, including its Glen Helen Nature Preserve, and began the work of rebuilding the college. Mark Roosevelt, the former superintendent of Pittsburgh Schools and a former Massachusetts legislator, became the college’s new president.
“Antioch College has always been about innovation, even in its earliest days when Horace Mann, the father of American public education, was its president,” Roosevelt said. “We don’t intend to do things differently. Our reopening pushes the envelope and goes against current trends in higher education. What we propose is to provide students with the broad knowledge, skills and critical capacity to address some of the most critical issues facing mankind today.”
Antioch’s education—the college offers the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees—requires students to complete a broad array of Foundation courses, Global Seminars on critical issues surrounding sustainability, and design individualized majors with faculty. All students complete six terms of full-time work, with the final job assignment abroad or in a multi-cultural setting that requires them to use the skills gained in a language minor.
Admission to Antioch College this year carried with it the Horace Mann Fellowship award, which covers full tuition for all four years. Additionally, fellows have the opportunity to be mentored by stellar alumni and friends of the College. This opportunity appealed to many top-achieving students from throughout the country.
The class of 2015 class enters with an average unweighted high school grade point average of 3.56. Most completed rigorous post-secondary education curricula, including International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and Honors courses. One student was a National Merit Scholar Finalist and two others were Semifinalists for the award.
Sixteen students completed some college coursework prior to applying to Antioch College, and ten have spent some time studying or traveling abroad. Eighteen speak at least one foreign language: ten speak Spanish, one speaks Japanese, four speak French, and one student is fluent in Hindi, Hazaragi and Dari.
Nine students are Ohio residents, four are from Texas, three are from New York, three from Pennsylvania, and three from California. Other students are from Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A tremendous number of students have done work in sustainability. Their biographies include stints farming in developing countries, working in agriculture and biodiversity, village construction and environmental conservation in Central America and South America, and organic farming in South America.
Their academic interests are also wide ranging: ecological or sustainable architecture, sustainability and rural development, animation, African American studies, creative writing, philosophy, literature, and more.