About Prescott College

For the Liberal Arts, the Environment, & Social Justice
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Mission

Together we create interdisciplinary, experiential, and diverse learning environments that inspire future leaders to create a healthy, just, and sustainable world.

Roots and Foundation: Prescott College History

Prescott College began in the 1960s, a time of optimism and growth, when leaders of a small town in the stunningly beautiful pine and chaparral country of central Arizona were searching for a new cultural identity. Dr. Charles Franklin Parker, minister of Prescott’s First Congregational Church and Prescott College founder, announced the ambitious project of creating the Harvard of the West – Prescott College. With the group of visionary leaders, Parker drew on the Congregationalist tradition of founding over 50 leading colleges and universities in America, beginning with Harvard in 1636, and including such institutions as Middlebury, Dartmouth, Amherst, Smith, Yale, Oberlin, Grinnell, Whitman, Colorado, Pomona and Scripps.

Making a Difference in a Changing World . . .

Many of the College's core philosophical and educational principles emerged in 1963, in a conference of state and nationally known leaders from higher education funded by the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Post-Secondary Education, Business and Industry. These principles crystallized around a central goal: To produce the leaders increasingly crucial to successfully meeting the challenges of the changing world. Dr. Parker’s vision “for a pioneering, even radical experiment in higher education “ and “to graduate society’s leaders for the twenty-first century who would be needed to solve the world’s growing environmental and social problems” seems especially prescient today, as humanity comes to terms with global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic, and ecological effects. Society looks to new models of education to better prepare students of all ages for their role as global citizens.