“contrast between Hampshire’s reputation as a bastion of progressivism and Ripon’s conservative history is stark”
How fascinating. A left wing school facing closure turns to someone with a conservative background. It says a lot, doesn’t it?
Struggling Hampshire College Hires A New President From A Conservative Bastion
Hampshire College, founded in 1970 as an experiment in higher education, announced today that it would appoint Edward Wingenbach, 49, as its eighth president. A political science professor-turned-college administrator, he is leaving a six-month post as acting president of Ripon College, a liberal arts school in Wisconsin with fewer than 800 students where he had previously served as a poli sci and government professor. Founded in 1854, Ripon is regarded as one of the most conservative colleges in the Midwest. It is the birthplace of the Republican party. Ripon ranks at No. 536 on Forbes’ list of America’s 650 top colleges. Hampshire ranks at No. 276.
Wingenbach was traveling with his family from Wisconsin to Hampshire’s campus in Massachusetts today and couldn’t be reached for comment. “I actually don’t know” whether Wingenbach is himself a conservative, says Hampshire spokesman John Courtmanche. But the contrast between Hampshire’s reputation as a bastion of progressivism and Ripon’s conservative history is stark.
The appointment of a new president marks a step forward for Hampshire, where enrollment has shrunk from 1,400 to 600. Less than seven months ago it looked like it might go under. The newest of the five colleges in a consortium that includes Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, it has struggled financially. In January, then-president Miriam E. Nelson said the school was seeking a long-term partner. In early April, Nelson quit amid differences with Hampshire’s board, which voted to start a fundraising campaign.
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