Sunday, August 21, 2005

(Not quite) The Harvard of the Midwest

Newsweek recently named Macalester College, my alma mater, the "Hottest For Liberal Arts." "The 1,900-student campus in the middle of a vibrant metropolis has become a key recipient of the growing number of Harvard, Yale and Princeton applicants who are rejected for no other reason than that those schools don't have space for all the A-plus applicants. Macalester has one faculty member for every 11 students and an emphasis on international affairs, symbolized by one of its most famous alumni, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan."

I used to work and occasionally write for the school newspaper. In an issue from 1965, a student wrote that Macalester is "rushing toward Ivy league-ness." Despite the flattering mention of Macalester in the same breath as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, Macalester hasn't come a long way, baby. The speed at which Macalester has been rushing toward Ivy league-ness has been slow—yet it is holding steady in the national rankings.

I, of course, wish Mac all the luck, and have always thought that the ticket to the upper echelon of higher education lies in great professors and great students brightly skeptical of everything.


PiedPiper said...

After reading this post, I wretched into the trash can next to me. Thanks.

sarah said...

The best thing Mac or any other institution of Higer Education can do is stop trying to emulate the Ivy leauge. One should take another look at De Tocqueville's Democratic Revolution Theory and recall the despotism and homogenizing dangers that can accompnay "equality of conditions." What has made Mac and other institutions unique learning centers rests squarely between the differences and similarities of ivy leauge educations.