April 10, 2012
The First Stop on Jeremy's Spring College Tour
Earlham College is 660 miles from just outside the Holland Tunnel, on the Jersey side, where we gassed up on our way out west. Although the trip took nearly one whole day (11 hours) of driving and two tanks of gas, the school is definitely worth the trip!
Earlham is a small college in Richmond, Indiana, minutes from Dayton, Ohio. The school was founded by Quakers in 1847, and, like Guilford, has a philosophy strongly rooted in Quaker beliefs and values. The school sits on 800 acres, some wooded, and is made up of Georgian style red brick buildings. The overall architectural theme is one of simplicity, and although the campus is not the most beautiful we have seen, it has an extremely pleasing look and is peppered with lots of old, tall trees, many smaller, colorful flowering trees and lush green lawns in between. The buildings are clustered around a quad affectionately called “The Heart,” making the walk from one to the next relatively short.
A prospective student visiting Earlham is given a schedule created by the admissions office. Celeste just signed up for a tour, but Jeremy attended a class at 9am, (computer science-artificial intelligence,) went on a tour at 10am, and was interviewed at 11.
At 12 there was a lunch tour and all of the visitors and their parents who were visiting that day walked to the dining hall and we all ate together at two big tables! It was so welcoming and, well, fun! We made many new friends and chatted with people visiting Earlham form all over. Celeste and I actually toured twice, once with Emma and once again with Mallory. Interestingly, there is no info-session. It is up to us to speak to people and gather facts and information about the school ourselves. So we chatted with almost everyone we met. It makes for a warm and very personable experience.
What makes Earlham so special, in my opinion, is that it is a little oasis in the middle of no-where. It’s a beautiful college in the middle of a lesser known little town in an area of the state that is open and flat, and lacks the beauty of mountains or rolling hills. And, Earlham is full of friendly, sophisticated, liberal, like-minded folks who seemed to have gathered in this out-of-the-way place to make a great school that does wonderful and important things. Earlham is, hands down, the most racially diverse school I have ever seen, and it has the most diverse soccer team of all. We were told that only a small percentage of students hail from the immediate area. The bulk, like 80%, come from other places, and many, maybe 18% are international students. It seems Earlahm attracts a certain caliber of student and facluty to gather in this magical place. This makes for a rich and diverse student body, and an interesting place to be.
I must mention the beauty of the buildings, both inside and out. The student center, for example, is open, bright, clean and wonderfully appealing-something that stood out especially after our next tour. There is a student art gallery inside! The living and learning areas are pleasing and comfortable-I saw no cinder blocks! I wish I had photographed the large, bright dining hall that everyone calls SAGA. There is just one, and everyone eats together at big round or rectangular tables at specific times. Students who miss a meal can use their card at a coffee shop. I've always believed that schools with one dining hall help build community that way.
Jeremy had a lovely meeting with the men’s soccer coach, who met him at lunch with other players. Afterwards, he took us around to his office and then down to the soccer fields. He spoke at length and with pride about his school and his team’s accomplishments. He has been at Earlham for 31 years, and plans to continue on for at least a while longer. He invited Jeremy to return in the fall for an overnight and to see a game.
Next time, Jeremy will be flying…