Gideon Reich

Gary Hull founding a college?

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If one is to believe this rather hostile article (hat-tip Randex) then Gary Hull is attempting to form a new liberal arts college:

Onto the scene comes Gary Hull, who announces he is ready to turn Point Lookout into a liberal arts college to be called Founders College. All he wants to do is rapidly jump-start the effort, by getting the proposed college licensed by the Maine Department of Education. Hull was quoted in VillageSoup as saying " We're definitely going to open in 2007." He went on to point out that they may open in Virginia, North Carolina or Maine, but said, "We want Maine."

It is somewhat frustrating to find out about this from what is clearly an enemy of the proposal but does anyone know more about it? I've been wondering for some time when a critical mass of Objectivist intellectuals would be available to found such a college.

Perhaps the author of the rant is mistaken and the Gary Hull mentioned in the article just happens to have the same name and is not in fact the director of VEM at Duke.

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If one is to believe this rather hostile article (hat-tip Randex) then Gary Hull is attempting to form a new liberal arts college: ...

Perhaps the author of the rant is mistaken and the Gary Hull mentioned in the article just happens to have the same name and is not in fact the director of VEM at Duke.

This is indeed the same Gary Hull. Gary tells me that it is much too early to comment on this, and when appropriate a public announcement will be made.

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This is indeed the same Gary Hull. Gary tells me that it is much too early to comment on this, and when appropriate a public announcement will be made.

Interesting. I'm looking forward to finding out more at the appropriate time.

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Why Maine? It has an extremely hostile intellectual, political and economic environment.

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I found this article in a google search ["founders college" hull].

A couple noteworthy points:

The Board of Education has appointed a five member committee to review the college's request for degree-granting authority and ...

The committee has tentatively scheduled a site visit at Point Lookout for June 14. Hall said that if everything falls into place, Founders College would open in fall 2007.

Until then Hull notes ...

"There are a lot of ifs, and one of the biggest is the licensing," Hull said by telephone from North Carolina. "Until we get over this licensing hurdle, there's not much to say. ... Right now, there are too many imponderables."

Hull seems to have picked Maine because the property in question is "perfect", but he doesn't address the culture of Maine.

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Here is a shorter, local TV news story about it, apparently from May 13. (It's supposed to have a video, but it didn't work, maybe because it's too old now).

A group that wants to start a new, four year college is looking at one of the most unusual properties in Maine, the Point Lookout Conference Center in Northport.

A group from North Carolina hopes to open Founders College, described as a top-tier liberal arts college, in the fall of 2007.

Point Lookout is a conference center and corporate retreat built by credit card giant MBNA. It's now owned by Bank of America. The real estate ad has the complex listed for sale at 26 million dollars.

The attorney for Founders College says they are very interested in the property and are negotiating with Bank of America.

We're very much at the preliminary stages here. Maine is being considered along with several other states. But they love the state of Maine and we're working hard with them to go through the regulatory and other hoops, that they need to address in order to make this thing is a reality," said attornet Mike Saxl.

Saxl says the Founders College group is working with the governor's office and the Maine Office of Economic Development. It is also ready to apply for college certification with the Maine Department of Education.

Business leaders in the midcoast area say a college would help attract more young people to live in the area, as well as new business and jobs.

So apparently the founders of Founders are interested in Maine as well as this particular site. It is in a financially well-off tourist-oriented scenic section of the coast 30 miles west of Acadia, 75 miles NE of Portland and 175 miles (about 4 hours) NE of Boston.

There is no doubt it's a nice site, with good facilities and in a good location. It includes the top of Ducktrap Mountain (N44 18.739 W69 00.493) 729' above sea level within a mile of the coast, which is a mile or two across the bay to Islesboro, a well known and very expensive island community.

You can see it at Microsoft Earth in the center of the image, above Ducktrap which is just north of Lincolnville. The property is north of the cove just below the first pond.

Here is a real estate description with photos, and a more extensive real estate description (cached by Google) with more large photos. It's an elaborate corporate conference and recreation center, but much of the land is encumbered with ecological "conservation" easements -- legal conditions in the deed granting an unspecified third party the authority to enforce ecological restrictions on use or building to an undisclosed extent:

One of the premier conference and retreat centers in the country, Point Lookout offers the highest standard of quality in its amenities and spectacular scenic beauty in its 387±-acre setting.

Built over the last decade by a major corporation, the mountainside campus includes eight main buildings, 106 year-round log cabins, and an array of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. The property’s crown jewel is a conference center nestled into the side of Ducktrap Mountain with breathtaking 270° views over the islands of Penobscot Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The facilities were built to the finest specifications with state-of-the-art systems and are beautifully furnished and fully equipped.

The campus will accommodate over 1,000 people for meetings and approximately 350 overnight guests. All constructed over the last decade, the buildings includes one, two and three-bedroom year-round log cabins, an 18,600±-square-foot conference center; a 18,450±-square-foot event center with professional kitchens and seating for 720; a grand outdoor pavilion with seating for 600, two propane gas broilers and twelve propane grills; a fitness center with cardio and circuit training equipment, an aerobics studio, virtual golf, and a full gym; an eight-lane bowling alley; a 1300±-square-foot snack bar; a 22,650±-square-foot educational facility; administrative offices and warehouse; a reception building and a caretaker’s house. Outdoor recreation facilities include tennis courts, a professional grade Astroturf soccer field, a softball field, playgrounds, a swimming area, kayaking and canoeing and miles of maintained hiking trails.

The property offers acres of pristine forest, granite ledges, meandering streams, and frontage on Knight’s Pond. The land is valuable habitat for such wildlife as deer, moose, bald eagles, and wild turkeys. Conservation easements on large portions of the property protect its natural beauty and ecological significance. The property has been extensively landscaped with mature trees and shrubbery, large lawns, and stone walls. There are automatic sprinklers and low-voltage lighting throughout the property.

The property is located in the heart of the midcoast region, which comprises several vibrant year-round communities set on beautiful Penobscot Bay. The area offers fine dining and shopping, diverse cultural and educational institutions, a world-class golf course, and first-rate outdoor recreational opportunities. The property is 50 minutes from Bangor International Airport and ten minutes from the Belfast airport.

It was once used by George Bush (the first) as described by a state trooper:

Soon after, we took part in a motorcade to Point Lookout in Northport. Our job was to get the Bushes into the complex, where they were to give a speech to MBNA employees. Once they were inside and all was secure, the Secret Service said it was time to take a break and have lunch. Set up on the enclosed deck was a lunch prepared solely for us. I dined on lobster rolls, fresh salad, desserts fit for a king and my choice of many beverages. This was like being in another world. I could not believe how extravagant everything was.

After we finished lunch and the Bushes had finished their speeches, we participated in a motorcade to the top of the mountain to a private office with a 270-degree view of the ocean.

We were high on the mountain, and the office had a private conference room, a large entranceway and all glass facing the ocean. Some displays included model ships in huge cases — things I had never seen before. Alongside the building was a helicopter pad with a waiting helicopter. We brought the Bushes to the building for a tour, then to the helicopter for departure. It was amazing to see the Bushes get into the machine and see it lift off, put its gear up and fly off the mountain toward the ocean to take them to their plane. I was in utter amazement about the whole day.

The governor has been encouraging the college because he is desperate for anything that improves the economy and the prestige of a state known as much as a third world country as a state. The college would be very good for Maine, but when his advisors and the pressure groups figure out it has something to do with the influence of Ayn Rand (as already indicated in the smear in the moonbeam hit piece) he may change his mind. The hard-core left in Maine is very ideological and ruthless in its power.

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Here is a current report (as of June 5, 2006) on a similar plan for a college in North Carolina.

OXFORD -- Plans for a future institution of higher learning here are beginning to surface in more detail, and a state educational official says she and a team of examiners tentatively are planning a July 26 site meeting with the organizers.

Founders College has submitted an application projecting a fall 2007 start and an enrollment of 500, said Michelle Howard-Vital, associate vice president of academic affairs for UNC General Administration.

Eric Daniels of Durham filed the request, Howard-Vital said. She identified Daniels as a faculty member at Duke University. The Duke faculty directory lists him as a visiting professor in the sociology department.

[...]

As proposed, Founders College would offer an associate of arts degree and a bachelor of arts in liberal arts.

According to Howard-Vital, the institution would be maintained and operated by The College of Rational Education, which is a North Carolina non-profit corporation.

The College of Rational Education, in papers filed with the state secretary of state, identifies its agent as Gary Hull of Durham. Hull's name also appears on similar documents identifying what is called Founders College Education Inc.

[...]

The College of Rational Education, in papers filed with the secretary of state's office, said its purpose includes applying the philosophy of the late Ayn Rand.

This is all looking more and more interesting.

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http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/06/09/founders

Inside Higher Ed News

June 9

Plan for New College Draws Scrutiny

New private liberal arts colleges aren’t established every day, so pending proposals in Maine and North Carolina to create institutions from scratch have officials in those states intrigued. But the proposals, which have been cloaked in mystery, are raising some eyebrows — partly because of their sponsors’ ties to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism philosophy, and partly because of suggestions that Maine officials expedited their usual process for approving new colleges because the college’s backers are reportedly looking to buy a vacant $26 million piece of land. (Maine officials deny those accusations.)

Applications to create Founders College, as the new institution would be called, were submitted nearly a year ago in North Carolina and just last month in Maine. The main people behind both applications are Gary Hull and Eric Daniels, who are a senior lecturing fellow and visiting assistant professor, respectively, at Duke University’s Program on Values and Ethics in the Marketplace, one of multiple such programs at colleges in North Carolina that are supported financially by BB&T Bank.

Hull and Daniels are also officers of two recently established nonprofit groups in North Carolina, Founders College Education, Inc., and the College of Rational Education, Inc., the latter of which, in its North Carolina articles of incorporation, describes its mission as providing “a reality-based, rationally grounded education, by applying Objectivism, the philosophy of Rand, to all of the Corporation’s activities and undertakings.” Both men are also affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute.

Others listed as officers of Founders College Education, Inc., include Tedd Potts, president of a Chevrolet dealership in Kansas City, Mo., and an active member of the Kansas City Objectivists group, and Tamara K. Fuller, of Columbia, Md., a management consultant.

Hull, when reached via e-mail, said it was “premature” to talk about the plans for Founders College, and otherwise declined comment. Daniels did not respond to a request for comment.

At this point, it is not clear whether the team behind the proposals envision starting colleges in both states, or only one. (The Founders College founders have also discussed Virginia as a possible destination.) What little information is available about the plans for the college(s) is contained in the applications the sponsors submitted to state officials.

In North Carolina, the application submitted to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina system, which licenses degree granting institutions in its state, proposed creating a nonprofit college that would offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts beginning in fall 2007, according to Michelle Howard-Vital, who oversees licensure as assistant vice president for academic affairs for the North Carolina system.

Because the proposed college “does not have a track record,” its sponsors have applied for an “interim permit” to operate — an institution must have been operating for at least two years to qualify for permanent recognition, Howard-Vital said. Hull and Daniels submitted the “bare bones” application for licensure last year, but Howard-Vital said that her office had delayed its review of how well Founders met the state’s 15 licensure standards, on such things as curriculum, library holdings and finances, because “there was nothing for us to investigate.”

“I’ve been waiting until there’s enough in terms of content to be able to say to the Board of Governors, either way, that this is or is not recommended for licensure,” she said. Those behind Founders submitted a budget only recently, and Howard-Vital said that North Carolina officials now feel that they have enough information to schedule a review by a team of officials from the state and from other colleges. The review, which will be led by the Richard Neel, former chairman of the business school at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and include a liberal arts dean as well as a library expert, could occur within the next four to six weeks, Howard-Vital said.

Moving Fast in Maine

If the approval process for Founders College has been in the slow lane in North Carolina, it has very much been on the fast track in Maine. According to documents gathered by and published in the Village Soup, an online and print publisher that has community newspapers in two counties north of Portland, Me., state higher education officials first learned about the possible creation of Founders College there because the college’s backers were in discussions with state economic development officials about buying a $26.4 million mountainside retreat.

An article in the newspaper suggested that the state’s Department of Education had subverted its normal procedures for considering the creation of new colleges by establishing a panel to review the institution before Founders officials had formally submitted an application to the state and provided a range of supporting materials.

Through a state open records request, the newspaper also got hold of e-mail messages in which economic development officials asked leaders in the Education Department to keep financial information about the real estate deal quiet. “It appears some state officials were willing to abide by these requests, and put Founders on some fast track before knowing the full extent of the proposed college’s board of directors, educational mission and curriculum,” the Village Soup Times said in an editorial.

In an interview Wednesday, the state’s education commissioner, Susan A. Gendron, said state officials had received the required “letter of intent” from Founders officials before the Board of Education voted to form the review panel on May 8. Gendron acknowledged that the education department “formed the review team before we had the [budget and other supporting] materials.”

That was done in large part, she said, to accommodate the desire of Founders officials to begin operating in fall 2007, which would require approval during the state legislative session that begins in January. “Our role is to expedite folks to be able to achieve and have access to our processes,” she said. “We’re a resource to entities who wish to come to Maine. But we have protocols and we have to follow the statute,” she said. “We were not trying to circumvent or in any way advance this college – we’re just making sure they had access to the steps.”

But the steps are undoubtedly happening speedily. The review panel, which includes the presidents or other administrators from Bates, Husson and Unity Colleges, Central Maine Community College, and the University of Maine at Augusta, will meet next week to conduct a “thorough review” of the Founders proposal, including the financial backing and the content of the curriculum, Gendron said.

As in North Carolina, the college seeks approval to offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in the liberal arts. But unlike in North Carolina, according to the Village Soup Times, the college is seeking to operate as a for-profit entity, with backing from “corporate supporters” as well as tuition of $28,853 a year.

The review panel will make a recommendation to Gendron, who will then make her own recommendation to the Board of Education. Final approval would require an act of the Legislature.

— Doug Lederman

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That article makes Objectivism, ARI and the backers supporting the proposed college sound like possibly sinister aliens. This process will be interesting to watch, but I don't envy Mr. Hull the hoops he faces.

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That article makes Objectivism, ARI and the backers supporting the proposed college sound like possibly sinister aliens.

I actually don't get that from the article. The "Village Soup" looks like a local Maine lefty/environmentalist rag, but that's not much of a surprise. I think there's a sense of surprise at the very fact of founding a new private college (or two) and the accelerated timeframe for doing so, and indeed both are unusual. If the hostility level isn't any higher than this, I would be very optimistic about the prospects. In fact, if this is done right, this is the start of the most exciting project I've heard about in a long time, and incalculably important for the future of this country. An Objectivist oriented private college, even starting small, would almost instantly show how fantastically corrupt and worthless most liberal arts colleges are today. I predict that the repercussions are going to be immense and far beyond the size of the schools. I also predict that the student demand will soon far outstrip the number of available slots, which will accelerate growth of additional colleges. I suspect that the main problem is going to be the supply of qualified instructors.

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I actually don't get that from the article.
The article is clearly trying to portray some kind of "scandal" where there isn't one, but they don't know know what to say to document that and mostly grasp at straws, right down to the real estate purchase, betraying a resentment that something new is being done independently without the knowledge or approval of the educational establishment. It's the educational establishment that is the danger here because they effectively control the required state certification -- the unjustified control by state government over "permission" to create an educational institution.
The "Village Soup" looks like a local Maine lefty/environmentalist rag, but that's not much of a surprise.
It was a leftist columnist in a run of the mill liberal (by northeast standards) news media.
I suspect that the main problem is going to be the supply of qualified instructors.
-- and without draining Objectivist scholars from other prominent universities.

There would be initial reluctance for top students to go to a brand new college with no reputation, but once underway the contrast would be devasting to what has become the accepted "norm" for a university education. I wonder what kind of threat there could be from the unions to try to control it.

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-- and without draining Objectivist scholars from other prominent universities.

Hopefully, there's going to be a snowballing effect: Objectivist professors ought to be identifying and cultivating rational students, and there should be a steady stream of them. Some of those should become professors themselves, and with the new colleges, it should be much easier to find work rather than trying to get in to the Establishment.

Also, there are surely existing Objectivists who might take up a teaching job if it were a rational environment, and if there weren't stupid restrictions against teaching based on irrelevant qualifications. And there are surely many more semi-rational, very intelligent people who could be outstanding professors even if they were not fully Objectivists, but who, because of their reality oriented focus, don't "fit in" to the current insanity. Let the Brain Drain begin.

Another point is that there's got to be room for a non-liberal-arts college along the same line - engineers and scientists need explicit rationality too!

I wonder what kind of threat there could be from the unions to try to control it.

Offhand I doubt that's a big deal, because these are private schools. Public schools taking government money have to put up with all kinds of crap, but a private company, even today, has far more leeway. As far as I know, Wal-Mart has explicitly managed to stay union-free, even shutting down stores in very rare cases where local governments mandated that they accept unions.

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It's the educational establishment that is the danger here because they effectively control the required state certification -- the unjustified control by state government over "permission" to create an educational institution. [...]

I wonder what kind of threat there could be from the unions to try to control it.

I am not familiar with educational laws or teachers' unions. How would the situation be any different for a college founded by Objectivists than it has been for those schools founded on other nonestablishment worldviews?

An example is Patrick Henry College.

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I am not familiar with educational laws or teachers' unions. How would the situation be any different for a college founded by Objectivists than it has been for those schools founded on other nonestablishment worldviews?

An example is Patrick Henry College.

I'm sure the powers-that-be in Maine would apply any remotely applicable laws with extreme stringency once they found out what the guiding philosophy of the college was going to be. But I also feel sure that the institution wouldn't be trying to qualify for federal funding for its students.

Now that the idea of a university has been advanced, how about thinking further - an Objectivist law school would have a lot to offer besides coaching its students to pass the bar exam.

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I am not familiar with educational laws or teachers' unions. How would the situation be any different for a college founded by Objectivists than it has been for those schools founded on other nonestablishment worldviews?

An example is Patrick Henry College.

In a "progressive" liberal Democrat state the leftist/statist educational establishment has enormous political clout, and a new college in Maine requires the approval of the state legislature as well as bureaucratic "processing". It is dangerous anytime anything in the realm of ideas is controlled by government through required political procedures and approvals; it is particularly bad in Maine right now with a politically and economically failing governor and legislative leadership that is desperately and irrationally lashing out to sustain its power in accordance with its own ideology. The governor was evidently trying to expedite the college approval because he is desperate for any sign of prestige and influx of money into the state; if he thinks he won't get that or if the far left progressives he has surrounded himself with are frightened by something they perceive as "out of [to the right of] the educational mainstream" or not "serious" because of some influence by Ayn Rand, then they could drop their effort or drag or it out and stall until Founders winds up in North Carolina or somewhere else.

I didn't see at their website when the Patrick Henry religious college in Virginia was founded or how long it took them for political approval. All kinds of religious colleges sprung up over the last century or so, when it wasn't deemed by liberals as "politically incorrect" and opposition to "religion" itself would be seen as controversial. The political situation in Maine is so bad right now that all kinds of rights subject to the whims of a ruthless, desperate government are in jeopardy. Neither the outspoken Maine religious social conservatives nor the liberals and progressive new leftists in power would be likely to come to the aid of anything associated with Ayn Rand if the college were to become controversial or seriously opposed, even though there would be some sympathy from elements of the political right who have no power to do anything about it.

I suspect that the Founders founders are well aware of the process, the context and what is involved, and are doing the best they can to proceed in a reasonable and professional fashion. It may come out ok if it doesn't become controversial within the government, but if the activist ideologues go after it they could do a lot of damage to derail it with the kind of power and hatred for individualism they have.

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The political situation in Maine is so bad right now that all kinds of rights subject to the whims of a ruthless, desperate government are in jeopardy.

Could you please outline a few of the circumstances in Maine for which rights are in particular jeopardy. In other threads you certainly got across the evil of eminent domain actions, but I am interested in knowing what other ways Maine in particular represents a threat to individual rights.

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I didn't see at their website when the Patrick Henry religious college in Virginia was founded or how long it took them for political approval. All kinds of religious colleges sprung up over the last century or so, when it wasn't deemed by liberals as "politically incorrect" and opposition to "religion" itself would be seen as controversial.

In an initial effort, I haven't found any official description of the founding process, but the founding was quite recent (in historical terms). This BBC article ("Educating America's Christian Right") says Patrick Henry College was founded in 2000.

Nothing I have seen indicates the founders of PHC had any trouble starting it. Their main problem -- if it really is a problem -- is getting accreditation. (Wikipedia offers "information" on this, if it is reliable.) But, if a movement is out to supplant an establishment, why should they even care about accreditation? Perhaps they would only if they expect to place graduates in teaching positions in accredited universities?

Apparently the Christians at PHC don't much care, perhaps because they are focused on political placement of their graduates or because their graduates can move on to other Christian schools, including law schools. I don't know.

One of the millions of things I don't know about is accreditation. Apparently many accreditating institutions exist, each serving different subcultures. If Objectivist students want to teach at mainstream universities, what kind of accreditation must their schools have?

Comments?

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In the past several days there have been a lot of reports in the press, both in print and online, about the intended college, but all just repeats of the same information. Today, MaineToday.com (apparently run by the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram) carried this story, which actually contains new information. Previous reports indicated that Gary Hull was not available for comment, but this story contains some new quotes from Gary.

Hull, a scholar of the writer Ayn Rand, said contrary to some published reports, the college would not be based on her philosophy and politics. Rand believed in an extreme version of individualism and was opposed to the collectivism movements of the mid-20th century, such as socialism and communism.

"There is no particular ideology to the college. We are not propagandizing," said Hull.

[...]

Hull, who first learned about the Northport property in a real estate advertisement, said it is ideally suited to a college. By year five, the college would employ about 200 faculty and staff and have an enrollment of 500 to 750. Tuition would be about $20,000 a year and room and board about $7,000.

"It will be marketed to a very, very selective group of students around the world, students who are worldly, like nice things, with a fair amount of disposable income to spend," he said.

[...]

Hull said the goal is to open for business by 2007. Hull said the negotiations with Bank of America could be complete in the next week or two. The project must also win the recommendation of a Department of Education review committee, which includes presidents and top officials from about a half-dozen Maine private and public colleges.

The review was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed until late July or early August at the request of Hull. He said the delay would allow him to keep financial information private until negotiations with the Bank of America are complete. He said financing would come from a variety of sources, but declined to specify.

[...]

Hull said plans for the college are otherwise fairly complete and compared them to preparations for a dinner party.

"We have to pour some cocktails and light some candles but we have finished the rest," he said.

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Thank you for the new information. It answers some questions raised over at Noodlefood. Some folks seemed to think that, since there weren't enough Objectivist scholars, or enough students of Objectivism, it would be best to hold off on opening a college. I think that is a ridiculous critieria, myself, and I couldn't imagine that the college was to be Objectivist per se. I happy to see I was right.

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Gary was quoted in the earlier articles saying it would be like other liberal arts colleges. Noodles need to pay better attention.

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Assuming that the quotes of Dr. Hull are accurate,

It will be marketed to a very, very selective group of students around the world, students who are worldly, like nice things, with a fair amount of disposable income to spend

I wish some other, more ennobling, words were used to describe the college's target audience, but otherwise I'm really happy with Dr. Hull's this and other quotes here. Thank you, Stephen.

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Here is the longest and most detailed report on the proposed schools that I have seen in the media to date. A lot more background information than previously provided, and a lot more detail. There is also a fairly long description of Objectivism and ARI near the bottom of the report. I found the following section to be one of the most interesting:

Last week Harry Osgood, a higher education specialist with the Maine Department of Education, compared the hypothetical curriculum of Founders College to a rigorous, traditional program much like that of England's Oxford University. His said the curriculum would be classic liberal arts with an emphasis on writing and communication and that the faculty had, when combined, more than 200 years of experience teaching at schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Duke.

Osgood said the draw of Founders College would be global, and an airstrip on Islesboro could be used for bringing students and faculty close to Northport. He added the proposed faculty of Founders College had undergraduate teaching experience, and through that experience, many of the as-yet-unnamed faculty of the proposed school believed university students are ill-prepared when it comes to critical thinking and reasoning.

Based on discussions with Founders College representatives, Osgood said the curriculum would seek to instill critical thinking and writing skills in its undergraduate students.

When reached for initial comment last week, Hull refused to discuss curriculum, but agreed that Osgood's comparisons and depictions were accurate. He would not elaborate further.

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My goodness, but the government educationists certainly have a death-grip on "the process". Then again, they must make sure that the curriculum is "standardized". I admit that I had a laugh at that bit. Would that they would standardize their curriculum to Dr. Hull's standards!

Aside from the information about Founders, I was interested in the very last bit about how New York is freezing any further accredidation for new for-profit propositions. The part I found interesting is that there are so many new for-profit start-ups. This suggests to me that people have just about had it with government schools, and government subsidized schools. If this is so, I think we can expect a major blow-up before it is all over. The teacher schools and unions are not going to go quietly into that good night.

It is wonderful to see the beginning.

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Not knowing much about the subject, I wonder: is it the case in most, or many, states that one needs permission from some state educational bureaucracy in order to start a private college? In other words, is the process of getting permission in Maine something that's particular to that state, or is that the way it is in most of the US?

I have to admit I'm surprised that one would have to get such permission, because it always seems like there are many small educational institutions that call themselves "colleges". So I would have thought that anybody could legally do that.

I understand getting accredited, such that the degrees you grant would actually mean something and have value - and students would be willing to sign up and pay money - is surely a lot harder than just starting a college. But even in the matter of accreditation, I would have thought that it was a private matter.

(I know that if one starts a private school for high-school age and before, that requires meeting some government standards - though it shouldn't - but that seems to have something to do with the fact that the government compels the younger people to go to school.)

Anyway, the prospect of a new college run by Objectivists is quite exciting.

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Here is the longest and most detailed report on the proposed schools that I have seen in the media to date...I found the following section to be one of the most interesting:

Last week Harry Osgood, a higher education specialist with the Maine Department of Education, compared the hypothetical curriculum of Founders College to a rigorous, traditional program much like that of England's Oxford University. His said the curriculum would be classic liberal arts with an emphasis on writing and communication and that the faculty had, when combined, more than 200 years of experience teaching at schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Duke.

Interesting indeed!

From this report it looks like the purpose of the Founders College is to produce the finest liberal arts education available. This is an excellent and practical very practical idea -- much more so than the idea of forming an Objectivist college (which already effectively exists at ARI -- OGC has been one of ARI's most important accomplishments).

For a group of Objectivists to own a liberal arts college that teaches the classics is an opportunity for our intellectual brothers to demonstrate the intellectual competence of Objectivism. Earning an (objectively-observed) reputation for producing a superb liberal arts education would be another major cultural accomplishment for Objectivism.

I have no information as to the specific motive of the Founders founders. I suspect, however, that this is it.

Whether their project gets off the ground or not, it has already been exciting to see the size of the footprint their proposal has made in the State of Maine.

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