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Messages from the President | Antioch Activate

10-14-22 Antioch Activate

Dear Alumni, Supporters, and Friends of Antioch College,

All structures rely on their foundations for stability. Without a stable foundation lifting up and bearing the load, whatever good works that have been done, or are to be done, inside of the structure, cease.

I would like to talk with you today about the foundation of Antioch College in terms of history, of changemaking mission, of financial requirements, and of community engagement.

Antioch College exists to do good work. It stands – through over 170 years of existence and with persistence, dedication, vision, and hope for countless more years – with an articulated mission throughout its history inspiring, empowering, stewarding, and shaping individual contributions and collective actions that can bring into reality more justice, vibrancy, and equity.

Our shared collective history provides the stories of people of great societal impact. Names we all recognize: Coretta Scott King, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Stephen Jay Gould. The notable people that have been educated and influenced by Antioch, and in turn educate and influence the world, is something we are all very proud of.

While influential, our history serves as a piece, but not the whole of our foundation.

Our more recent history – a history made possible by passionate commitments and financial support stating unequivocally that Antioch College must exist in this world – contains the names of those you might not know but who are already winning victories for humanity. 

Meridian Howes ’17, Epidemiologist at Jefferson County Public Health
Gabe Iglesia ’16, Foreign Service Specialist, U.S. Department of State
Richard Hauck ’17, Director of Sustainability, Tiger Mountain Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona
Sean Allen ’17, LGBTQIA Grassroots Organizer in Nantucket. Massachusetts

Antioch as a college that changes lives is another part of our foundation, yet again, it is only one piece.

Our history of perseverance and accomplishment is incredible. It is especially incredible given another recurring theme of Antioch and something that plays a critical role in the discussion around foundation, and that is a cycle of insufficient funding.

This cycle of insufficient funding deprives the College of stability, an essential component of foundation – an essential component that provides the ability to thrive and serve our students in the way they deserve. A lack of stability creates disorder for staff and faculty making their task of student-focus much more difficult. A cycle of insufficient funding makes all of the visionary, forward-looking programming and mission fulfilling work seem merely aspirational because the moment we find ourselves in feels too heavy and urgent to look ahead beyond our immediate needs.

We need a higher degree of stability. We need deliberation and action around our financial position and business model. We need activation. We are in need of the call: Antioch Activate!

Antioch Activate!
Together, we are a community in action

Merriam-Webster defines these words as follows:
activate – transitive verb, (ˈak-tə-ˌvāt) : to make active or more active
active – adjective, (ˈak-tiv) : characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation
action –  noun, (ˈak-shən) : a thing done

In the realm of education we are asked to contemplate. We are asked to speculate, to hypothesize, to theorize. Yet, it is the putting of those contemplations and speculations into action – into the state of activation – that they are tested, proven, given credence.

Antiochians have always been known by their actions. Their lives are anchored in individual and collective works and their meaningful contributions to society. It is a transitive verb – maybe a transient mode – embracing existence, reliant on action. The College takes ideas from our classes, labs, and offices into the community and into the world where they are tested, challenged, and strengthened through experience and collaboration.

Illustrated in the Antioch tradition of Community Governance, community is not merely observational. Community is participatory. A community is formed, bonded, and strengthened by collective action. It is the many hands, engaged in meaningful work together, lifting a load and lessening the burden that a few may carry, distributing it across many – forming a stable foundation.

To activate Antioch is to make active, or more active, the members of this incredibly powerful and unique community. You may find yourself in consideration and reflection of what will become of the world. Who will steward the changemakers engaged in the vital work of justice, sustainability, and equity our broad communities require? 

Our response to you: be characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation. You are a member of the Antioch community. Let us act – and activate – together! Join our fundraising campaign to raise $2.5 million by December 31, 2022.

Now is the time to bolster the foundation of Antioch College. The need for stability is here. It is real and present in this moment. Antioch needs you to be activated to ensure there is a solid foundation, that there is organizational stability, so that we can continue to be and foster changemaking forces in the world.

Please visit to join us!

Jane Fernandes
Pronouns: she/her or inclusive they/them
South Hall, 4th Floor