After three years of closed doors, one Ohio liberal arts college is now open. Antioch College, located in Yellow Springs, closed down after financial troubles led them to file for bankruptcy. Luckily, in 2009, an alumni group purchased all of Antioch’s assets to rebuild the school.
The school will officially be back in business on October 4 with 35 students. These freshman were selected from a pool 145 applicants. This first freshman class will have their full four-year tuition paid for them by the interest earned on Antioch’s $25-million endowment.
“We’re ready for them,” said Hassan Rahmanian, vice president for academic affairs. “We’re excited.”
With only a class of 35 students and a staff of six, there’s concern that Antioch won’t have that typical campus feel.
“We’re starting with, how do we dialogue with each other?” said Louise Smith, dean of community life. “Because we’re so small and we have to do so much so fast, it seemed wise to practice together as we move forward, to have common grounding.”
To get to know each other, students met for the first time on Sept. 24 at convocation. The next day, they participated in a two-and-a-half-day retreat with the purpose of building community.
The college hopes to have at least 110 students by next fall, and 1,200 within the next decade. Tuition, however, will not remain free, as it will cost $35,000 a year for future students.
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As an independent college, Antioch is one of the most liberal of liberal arts colleges. As a school of freethinking, it flourished in social activism. In the 1960’s the college’s students played a large role in the civil rights movement, when large groups of volunteers headed South to help register black voters.
Sports haven’t been one of Antioch’s strong suits. In it’s football team’s 40-years of existence, they’ve only had one winning season.