Rabbi’s Farm School Seeks to Be University with $30 Mil Gift

Interesting story from the NYTimes that highlights the exceptional nature of higher education in America and the central role that philanthropy plays in the system. Delaware Valley College, in suburban Philadelphia, just took in a $30 million gift from a local foundation in order to transform itself from a small college into a university. The gift has more than doubled the endowment and the leaders plan to strategic deploy the new assets. From the article:

Del Val, as it is known, was founded by American Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf at the suggestion of writer Leo Tolstoy, according to college archives. Krauskopf met the author of “War and Peace” on an 1894 trip to Russia, during which Tolstoy said U.S. immigrants would be better off tilling soil than living in cramped industrial cities.

In 1896, Krauskopf bought 118 acres of land about 25 miles north of Philadelphia. The National Farm School, open to all faiths, began the following year with 10 students.

The school has since broadened its offerings to include subjects like biology, business and criminal justice. Today, more than half its 1,700 undergraduates are non-farming students — but the agrarian image persists.

“People think it’s just for ag. We’re trying to definitely move away from that,” said Del Val senior Dariyen Carter, 21, of Baltimore. “We really need to have a well-rounded institution.”

Brosnan’s strategic plan includes reorganizing the college’s 27 majors into three undergraduate schools; he also wants to add a doctoral and three more master’s programs to enable Del Val to seek university status from state and regional accreditation agencies.

So, as I often tell my entrepreneurship students, there are always opportunities for growth. Even when the economy is tanking and our policy makers are out of touch, there are opportunities. In a higher education marketplace full of moaning and groaning, Delaware Valley College has entered growth mode.

via With $30M Gift, Pa. College Seeks to Be University – NYTimes.com.

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