From its founding in 1824, Kenyon College has brought students and faculty together to address enduring and emerging questions, rooted in a belief that the transformative power of a liberal arts education combined with the close relationships developed in an intentional community cultivates the creativity and leadership needed to meet the challenges of the current moment and the future. The commitments to both the enduring and the emerging, and to both tradition and the future, have driven the College to evolve and adapt over its nearly 200-year history, and at each stage of its evolution become a stronger and more resilient institution.
As Kenyon prepares to celebrate its bicentennial, its graduates must be prepared to meet the global challenges presented by climate change; to develop and apply technology not only effectively but also ethically; to build equitable, just, diverse and inclusive communities in an increasingly polarized environment; and to solve complex, dynamic problems in uncertain contexts. And, Kenyon must do this while addressing unprecedented challenges facing American higher education, including the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic (which disrupted operations and strained finances), continued shifts in student demographics, and the barriers created by the combination of higher tuition costs and stagnant family income.
"Foundations for Kenyon’s Third Century" lays out priorities and strategies to meet these challenges. This path ahead maintains the enduring elements of a Kenyon education: the importance of residentiality; building intentional community and close connections among faculty, staff and students; and a rigorous approach to the traditional liberal arts as the central core of the curriculum. But, the plan also proposes initiatives to position Kenyon to meet the demands of the time as well as strengthen the College’s finances.
Not only by strengthening Kenyon’s commitment to a student body and faculty and staff that are reflective of the demographics of the nation and representative of the world, but also by fostering a community characterized by a shared sense of belonging, the College will prepare all of its students for building equitable and inclusive communities. By committing to integrating environmental stewardship into the curriculum, campus operations and campus culture, Kenyon will position all of its students to construct more sustainable communities and futures. By adding a computational studies program in its curriculum, and embedding it within a rich liberal arts context, Kenyon will not only unleash students’ creativity in the design and use of new technologies but also ground their approach to technology in values and ethics. By increasing opportunities for students to deepen their learning outside of the classroom, through both international experiences and research and internship opportunities, Kenyon will introduce students to problem-solving in dynamic, complex contexts.
To make these needed adaptations and strengthen the College’s financial foundations, Kenyon will embark on a set of strategic changes: to increase the student body by 200-250 students, to change the calendar to incorporate a winter term devoted to high-impact practices, and to enrich the set of institutional partnerships of the College.