AMHERST, Mass. (CelebrityAccess) Filmmaker Ken Burns, the most famous alumni of liberal arts institution Hampshire College, is actively doing what he can to save it.
The college was founded in Western Massachusetts in 1970 as an experiment – there were no grades and students charted their own coursework. Currently, it is facing bankruptcy because, even though it has an annual tuition of $65,000, it has an endowment of about $48.5 million, according to Vice News, which pales in comparison to its neighbor, Amherst College, with a $2.2 billion endowment. Plus, student enrolment is declining.
This year, Hampshire administrators decided to seek a strategic partner while accepting no new enrollments for the fall semester, which prompted current students to stage a 75-day sit-in at the office of President Miriam Nelson, who eventually resigned.
Students and alumni are now trying to raise $100 million over the next five years, an effort led by Burns to save the school.
Burns is asking alumni to donate an amount “that hurts, and then multiply it by 4” because the school is worth saving.
“I am the living proof,” Burns told Vice News. “And there are thousands of other people who are the living proof of the value of a Hampshire education.”