Survive and Persist: Amherst and Classical College Development during the Age of American University Proliferation

Matthew R Hodgman


Throughout American history, institutions of higher education have faced difficult decisions relative to institutional survival, direction, and long-term relevance within a constantly changing and evolving higher education landscape. History has shown us that successive generations have had a significant and unique impact on the higher education landscape. The survival and flourishing of classical liberal arts colleges during the rise of universities during late 19th century America marks an important moment in the history of higher education. This article will attempt to position the institutional developments of Amherst College within the context of Roger L. Geiger’s “The Ten Generations of American Higher Education” and simultaneously demonstrate the unwavering and remarkably durable institutional spirit that contributed to the survival of Amherst during the progressive rise and development of universities in America. Amherst’s survival and subsequent success is an example of how an educational institution can position itself for enduring success during a monumental change to the larger educational landscape.

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