Hampshire College Celebrates 50th Anniversary; Marks Major Contributions to the Innovation of Higher Education

Tours of campus, open houses for programs, lectures and screenings, and class- and interest-specific gatherings took place throughout the weekend. Alums and faculty members offered a series of educational talks. The Art Gallery held an opening by visiting graffiti artist Mow 504, from Senegal. Other activities were a talent share, trivia night, campfire s’mores, a twilight swim in the RCC pool, a reception with the first class members of the College, a get-together of former faculty and staff, and more.

The celebration was the culmination of two years of exceptional collective work. Following the 2019 decision to not admit a class, the Hampshire community rallied to ensure that the College would remain a thriving, independent operation. Since fall 2019, Hampshire has:

  • Created a bold new approach to college education, centered on globally relevant challenges in urgent need of solutions;
  • Innovated its curriculum and academic structures to create an environment free from the bounds of a typical college, enabling an open exchange of ideas and pursuits;
  • Built project requirements for students that instill the skills necessary for them to explore their passions and take action to make change;
  • Launched a successful fundraising campaign that just passed the $26 million mark and continues to attract significant support from our community;
  • Invested in our brand and marketing program, resulting in new admissions materials, a refreshed website, exciting narrative video, and a retooled digital advertising campaign;
  • And rebuilt our admissions operations, resulting in a 68 percent increase in enrollment this year over fall 2020 and a 100 percent increase in first-year enrollments over 2020.

The weekend was a celebration not only of Hampshire’s rich history, but of these recent accomplishments as well.

On Saturday night, before a community farm-to-table dinner, President Ed Wingenbach delivered a State of the College Address under a packed tent. “After the challenges of 2016, after the decision of 2019, after a year and a half of the COVID pandemic, we’re still here,” he said. “And we’re here because you all insisted we be here.” The crowd then rose in a thundering standing ovation. When the cheers subsided, President Wingenbach leaned into the microphone and smiled: “That felt good, didn’t it?”

>> See photos from the event.

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