Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: Shimer College year in review

This year has had its twist and its turns, but finally it deposits us here -- with just enough time for a quick backward glance.

Here are a few of the top forms of Shimer-related awesomeness that come to mind from the past year (not a comprehensive list):

- Awesome new Shimer College video, now over 4,000 views:

- Awesome new Shimer Colege viewbook:

- Awesome new Shimer College president. (Some representative forms of awesomeness: 1, 2, 3, 4.)

- Awesome new/old Director of Admissions!

 - Lots of awesome articles about Laurie Spiegel ('67), prompted first by her music's appearance in the Hunger Games movie and then by the expanded reissue of her Expanding Universe album. Rounding up all this coverage needs a separate blog post (hopefully forthcoming), but here a three pieces picked more or less at random: Slate, Pitchfork, New Yorker

- An astounding amount of historical material from Shimer's first decades has been made available online, (mostly) courtesy of NIU, for example:

- Most photos in the Shimer College Flickr stream are now licensed CC-BY, allowing them to be freely reused (e.g. on Wikipedia) as long as Shimer is credited. (If you haven't tangled with copyright issues in the digital age, it's easy to miss how much awesome is wrapped up in that development.)

Of course, the most awesome thing of all is that Shimer's extremely high baseline level of awesomeness has made it through yet another year intact.

So, then.... if, like me, you approve of the above developments (or any fraction thereof), I hope you'll join me in making a year-end donation to Shimer College.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Donation Time!

If you receive emails from Shimer, you'll already have received the year-end donation pitch, so consider this a friendly reminder. (If you don't, consider this a friendly reminder to get right with the Lord.)

Here's the link. Use it in good health. Preferably before midnight on New Year's Eve.

I'm putting in what I can. 

If you're one of those folks who likes to say that you appreciate the various things I do for/in the community (inadequate though my actions invariably are), this is an excellent opportunity to show it.

Happy New Year!

PS. There has been some carping about the year-end appeal not catering sufficiently to alums' elevated moral sensibilities, or something.  In the spirit of the season, I'll refrain from saying what I think of people who decide not to donate to Shimer because a given pitch didn't appeal to their personal tastes.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Shimer College presidential blog: "Evocations"

Shimer College president Susan Henking has notched up yet another first, becoming Shimer's very first president with a blog:

Evocations: Reflections and questions from Shimer's College President

(From the title of the most recent post, however, it seems that the good Dr. Henking could just as well have stuck with the (original?) name embedded in the blog URL, "Provocations".)

In any case, judging from the initial posts on the blog, it's shaping up to be a damned interesting one. So if you're subscribed to this blog, you'll definitely want to subscribe to that one.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Montaigne Scholarship competition info: first deadline January 15

It's that time of the year again.  Make sure any potential Shimerians know. From




7th Annual
Michel de Montaigne
Scholars Competition

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Michel de Montaigne Scholarship will be awarded to first-time applicants to Shimer on the basis of merit in writing and discussion—the activities that Shimer students undertake in the classroom (and beyond!) every day.

The scholarship honors Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance author and essayist. Participants read an essay by Montaigne, discuss it in a classroom setting, and write an essay. A committee of faculty members evaluates each participant's performance and selects the scholarship winners. Results will be announced in March.

Participants will be sent a copy of the selected Montaigne text for the competition once they submit the scholarship registration (see below).

Full and partial tuition scholarships for four academic years

Saturday, February 16
9:30am - 4:00pm

Shimer College
3424 S. State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60616


1.  Submit a complete Application for Admission by January 15, 2013. You can apply online or download an application and return it my mail.

If you are applying online, please email pdf copies of your writing samples and letter(s) of recommendation to Please mail the application fee to the street address above.

If you are mailing your application, please send all material to the street address above. Please leave ample time for your application to arrive by mail by the January 15, 2013 deadline.

A complete Application for Admission comprises:
  • Completed and signed application form. Please note: you may apply as a Weekday/Weekend or Early Entrant student. Special Status students are not eligible for the Montaigne Scholarship. Please select appropriate application form.
  • Writing samples as requested
  • Letter(s) of recommendation as requested
  • High school transcripts
  • $25 application fee payable to Shimer College
2.  Register for the Montaigne Scholarship by February 1, 2012.

3.  To be eligible for a Montaigne Scholarship, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The form can be completed anytime after January 1 and must be completed before a scholarship can be awarded.  Note: Students who are awarded federal or state grants may have their scholarship adjusted if the combined amount of all aid exceeds the cost of tuition.

Apply and reserve your space! Space is limited.

Important Montaigne Scholarship Dates:

After January 1 Submit completed FAFSA form online

January 15 Deadline to submit completed Application for Admission online or as a hardcopy
February 1
Deadline to register online for Montaigne Scholarship competition
February 16 Competition takes place at Shimer College

Contact us with any questions at 312.235.3543 or

The scholarship competition is of course open to all prospective Shimer students, including those applying to the weekend college or early entrance programs.

For more information on the Montaigne experience, see this post by Alex Rosenberg, or of course this video by Michael Doherty: