FOUND A COLLEGE


St. Cloud, Minnesota, "The Granite City," was founded in 1856. It has 68,000 people living within its 40 square miles. [Cary has 60 square miles and a population of 184,000.]

Pictured above are the combined campuses of the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University in St. Cloud. Each institution has a sustainability department whose head reports directly to its respective college president. The colleges are noted internationally for their commitments to sustainability.

There are fundamental differences between towns and cities with a college or university and those without. We suggest that the Town of Cary has grown sufficiently and is therefore ready to host an institution of higher learning within its boundaries. Were an institution established, the benefits to Town residents would be many.

I was privileged to attend St. John's College in Annapolis [population in 2021: 40,000], a 400-student liberal arts school. The college's presence was of great benefit to the town. Each spring a team from St. John's slaughters the Naval Academy's team in a croquet match. The five-hour event is the highlight of the spring social season. There is a lecture followed by a question-and-answer period each Friday evening when school is in session. Talks are given by visiting scholars, mathematicians, scientists, playwrights, and historians. Townspeople in attendance often outnumber students and faculty. The college's art gallery holds frequent openings. Students present plays [usually Shakespeare's]. Townsfolk attend these and also enjoy the holiday waltz parties in the Great Hall. There are many opportunities for adult education. All in all, the presence of the college in the town is of great mutual benefit.

In the United States since the turn of the century, one or two new colleges or universities have been established each year.

I realize that this would be a long-range project. The specific recommendation I make is that a commission be established to study the question. If nothing comes of it, nothing is lost. If, however, a college can be established in or attracted to the Town, we and those who follow us will be infinitely the better for it – intellectually, artistically, environmentally, and socially.