Mission and Vision
The mission of Antioch College is to provide a rigorous liberal arts education on the belief that scholarship and life experience are strengthened when linked, that diversity in all its manifestations is a fundamental component of excellence in education, and that authentic social and community engagement is vital for those who strive to win victories for humanity.
Antioch College is a New Kind of College—a College of Action—where better ways of living are discovered as a result of meaningful engagement with the world through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential education.
Statement on Diversity
As our mission indicates, the College embraces diversity as a core value, and considers it fundamental to excellence in education. With this plan, we honor Mann’s charge and our continuing commitment to diversity by laying forth goals, objectives, and strategies to create an environment where students, faculty, and staff can not only thrive, but they can encourage and prepare each other to “win victories for humanity.”
Own Your Education
Antioch College is for students who want real agency in the design and pursuit of an education that readies them to claim full lives as human beings and world citizens.
Antioch College is dedicated to intellectually demanding experiential education. Students come to Antioch College not to retreat from the world but to engage in the world.
Act for Justice
Antioch College is known through the efforts of its students and graduates, for offering education that prepares and inspires people to embrace and lead socially responsible acts of change.
Horace Mann, first president of Antioch College, was an abolitionist and educational visionary. He was father of Antioch College and of the American public school. We celebrate his role in leading the College and for providing generations of Antiochians with the ethical direction to win victories for humanity.
In the spirit of Horace Mann, Antioch College believes a healthy democratic society requires institutions that act as catalysts for change and laboratories for invention. This is a role that Antioch College has played throughout its history; the effort to restore it is among the most significant and compelling opportunities in higher education today.
Antioch College has been a pioneering and values-driven secular institution since it was founded in 1850. The College was among the first nonsectarian educational institutions in the United States. It was the first coeducational college in the nation to offer the same educational opportunities to both men and women and it was the first to appoint a woman to its faculty and to its Board of Trustees. It was also among the first to offer African-Americans equal educational opportunities. Throughout the generations, Antioch College faculty, students, staff, and alumni have committed themselves to important causes. Consistent with its curriculum of study and work, Antioch College has always given equal weight to understanding theory, to engaging in practice and to taking action.
In the 20th century, Antioch College redefined liberal arts education by initiating an entrepreneurial and experiential curriculum through the development of its hallmark cooperative work program, the first undergraduate program of its kind. Many of the now-common elements of today’s liberal arts education—self-designed majors, study abroad, interdisciplinary study, and portfolio evaluation—had an early start at Antioch College. The College was also among the first to make a commitment to community governance and the authentic participation of students in institutional decision-making.
Alumni of Antioch College from all walks of life who have made enormous impacts in their communities and in the world are a testament to the impact to the unique capacity of its educational model. The late Loren Pope, former education editor of The New York Times and author of Colleges That Change Lives, wrote, “Antioch is in a class by itself. There is no college or university in the country that makes a more profound difference in a young person’s life, or that creates more effective adults. None of the Ivies, big or small, can match Antioch’s ability to produce outstanding thinkers and doers.”
Some of the College’s notable alumni include: A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. ’49 (civil rights advocate, author, and Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit), Rod Serling ’50 (creator of The Twilight Zone TV series), Coretta Scott King ’51 (author, activist, civil rights leader, and founder of The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change), Eleanor Holmes Norton ’60 (Congressional Delegate for Washington, DC), Mario Capecchi ’61 (co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), Jorma Kaukonen ’62 (guitarist/vocalist, Jefferson Airplane), Julia Reichert ’70 (Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker, director, producer), Mia Zapata ’89 (lead singer of The Gits), Marc Anthony Richardson ’95 (novelist and artist, American Book Award winner), Leilah Weinraub ’03 (filmmaker, conceptual artist, and CEO of Hood By Air), Perri Freeman ’15 (activist, member Burlington City Council), and many others.
The College also ranks highly in the number of alumni who are recipients of MacArthur Fellowships (known as “Genius Grants” for “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction”) is remarkable given the small size of the College. Antioch College MacArthur Fellows are: Tim Barrett ’73 (internationally recognized master hand-papermaking craftsman and historian), Lisa Delpit ’74 (education reform leader, specialist in teaching and learning in multicultural settings), Wendy Ewald ’74 (photographer), Stephen Jay Gould ’63 (influential paleontologist and evolutionary biologist), Virginia Hamilton’ 57 (writer of children’s literature), Sylvia A. Law ’64 (human rights lawyer), Deborah Meier ’54 (teacher, writer, and advocate for educational reform), and Mark Strand ’57 (poet, writer, art critic, US Poet Laureate).
Throughout history—and probably before the days of recorded history—humans have expressed ideas and ideals in symbols. Frequently these symbols took the shape of objects in nature: a lion, a ﬁsh. But as humans became more sophisticated, the symbols became more abstract. Into its symbol—created in 1950—Antioch College has designed several meanings. Composed of symmetrical geometrical ﬁgures—and inspired by Leonardo daVinci’s “Vitruvian Man”—this “circle, square, triangle” symbol suggests the ideal of symmetry and balance in education.
In the ’50s, Antioch conceived of the symbol to represent the three academic elements of a liberal arts education—the humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences—as well as the elements of an Antioch education we call our “Three C’s”—Classroom (study), Co-op (work), Community. In the days of Antioch’s ﬁrst president, the great educator Horace Mann, it could have symbolized equally well his ideal of the education of the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. The same design may also represent the broader elements of an Antioch education today expressed in our Landmarks: Own Your Education, Learn Experientially, Act for Justice. But however considered, the ideograph symbolizes a determined attempt to advance education in many dimensions.