Horace Mann, first president of Antioch College, was an abolitionist and educational visionary. He was father of Antioch College and of the American public school. We celebrate his role in leading the College and for providing generations of Antiochians with the ethical direction to win victories for humanity.
In the spirit of Horace Mann, Antioch College believes a healthy democratic society requires institutions that act as catalysts for change and laboratories for invention. This is a role that Antioch College has played throughout its history; the effort to restore it is among the most significant and compelling opportunities in higher education today.
Antioch College has been a pioneering and values-driven secular institution since it was founded in 1850. The College was among the first nonsectarian educational institutions in the United States. It was the first co-educational college in the nation to offer the same educational opportunities to both men and women and it was the first to appoint a woman to its faculty and to its Board of Trustees. It was also among the first to offer African-Americans equal educational opportunities. Throughout the generations, Antioch College faculty, students, staff, and alumni have committed themselves to important causes. Consistent with its curriculum of study and work, Antioch College has always given equal weight to understanding theory, engaging in the practice, and taking action.
In the 20th century, Antioch College redefined liberal arts education by initiating an entrepreneurial and experiential curriculum through the development of its hallmark cooperative work program. Many of the now-common elements of today’s liberal arts education – self-designed majors, study abroad, interdisciplinary study, and portfolio evaluation – had an early start at Antioch College. The College was also among the first to make a commitment to community governance and the authentic participation of students in institutional decision-making.