private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
Hampshire College is a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was opened in 1970 as an experiment in alternative education, in association with four other colleges in the Pioneer Valley: Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Together they are known as the Five College Consortium. The campus also houses the National Yiddish Book Center and Eric Carle Museum, and hosts the annual Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics.
The college is known for its alternative curriculum, self-directed academic concentrations, progressive politics, focus on portfolios rather than distribution requirements, and its reliance on narrative evaluations instead of grades and GPAs. Sixty-five percent of its alumni have at least one graduate degree and a quarter have founded their own business or organization. Alumni include recipients of the Pulitzer Prize; the National Humanities Medal; Emmy, Academy, Peabody, Tony and Grammy Awards; and MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships. The college is also among the top producers of Fulbright Students and of alumni who go on to earn a doctoral degree.In January 2019, following the announcement that the college would seek a merger with another institution, the college received backlash from students and faculty and announced a re-envisioning project to ensure the college remain independent and sustainable. As a result of the controversy, President Miriam Nelson stepped down; Hampshire hired its tenth president, Edward Wingenbach, beginning an effort to revise the curriculum in order to increase interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and access.
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