Artichoke Hearts or Lima Beans?

In late 1967, with New College having serious fiscal problems, a decision was apparently made to recruit lower-achieving students for the next incoming class (1968), with the implicit assumption that such students would not be as generously supported as most of us in the early classes.

Brud Arthur, in his history of New College, writes about the early efforts to recruit the charter classes:

At [Dean of Admissions] Norwine’s insistence, [President] Baughman told the trustees that New College must have a liberal scholarship program. He emphasized that the college “must go out and buy students,” a term Norwine himself disavowed. Certainly, liberal scholarships would be needed to attract good students, the high school valedictorians and salutatorians who would add luster to the charter class.

New College: The First Three Decades

Early budgeting had mistakenly assumed that student tuition fees would make a significant contribution to college finances. This mistake was not the only reason for the school’s financial problems (overoptimism about fundraising was probably the biggest one), but these were desperate times, and tuition fees could help.

In late 1967, a brochure was created to encourage lower-performing high-school students (and their guidance counselors) to apply for the next incoming class. Copies of the brochure were leaked before it was mailed; you can read it for yourself:

Arthur describes the result:

One could never be certain what would arouse students. … Another time, offended by the tone of a brochure being sent out by the admissions office, students confiscated the mailing. Norwine capitulated and had the piece destroyed.

It’s doubtful that the tuition income would have made a significant dent in the funding shortfall. In the event, we went from financial crisis to crisis until finally being absorbed into USF in 1975, only narrowly averting bankruptcy.

One thought on “Artichoke Hearts or Lima Beans?”

  1. The statute of limitations having run out, I confess I had a hand in disappearing the Lima bean brochure. This is in addition to my previous confessions about the propellors.

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