Feature News

North Central College successfully acquires Shimer Great Books program

Jun 02, 2017

North Central College has successfully acquired the Shimer Great Books program of Shimer College and will integrate the program into North Central’s campus in Naperville, Ill.

“This unique opportunity adds a distinctive and differentiating academic offering to the North Central campus and provides a location where the Shimer model of education can flourish,” said Dr. Troy D. Hammond, president of North Central College.

The acquisition allows North Central College to create a “Shimer Great Books School” within the College’s academic structure, which will attract students who are voracious readers of original texts, not textbooks. Classes in the Shimer Great Books School will follow the Socratic Method, where professors ask questions that challenge students to articulate and support their ideas.

This new academic program includes three areas of concentration within the Great Books major—humanities, social science and natural science. The College expects to have about 50 students in the program at the start of the 2017-2018 fall academic term.

“I'm excited for Shimer to join a liberal arts institution,” said Hannah Trewitt, a third-year student who will be part of the Shimer Great Books School in the fall. “I think our community will have room to branch out and embrace our new context, while still preserving some Shimer traditions,” they said.

North Central College also welcomes nearly 4,000 Shimer College alumni to its community. “Shimer College’s alumni have been ardent supporters of the institution since its founding in 1853,” said Hammond. “They will be a wonderful addition to the North Central College community and important to helping preserve the Shimer Great Books program for future generations,” he said.

In spring 2016, North Central College and Shimer established a Memorandum of Understanding to initiate conversations of an acquisition or integration of Shimer into North Central. With the approval of the Higher Learning Commission, both institutions have worked collaboratively to complete the acquisition and establish a new academic program on North Central’s campus.

“North Central College has been so welcoming to Shimer students, faculty and staff,” said Stuart Patterson, who will serve as chair of the Shimer Great Books School. “Shimer’s faculty are eager to continue their teaching in a discussion-based pedagogy. That is how we keep alive the pursuit of a great education.”

“The acquisition allows the Shimer name to continue now as part of North Central College,” said Hammond. “I appreciate the collaboration with Shimer President Susan Henking. Her initiative and leadership were important in bringing our institutions together to complete the acquisition.”

Information regarding North Central College’s Shimer Great Book School is available at northcentralcollege.edu/shimer-programs.

North Central College was founded in 1861. The College is an independent, comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences that offers more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in five areas. Just 30 minutes from Chicago's Loop, North Central's campus is located in the Historic District of Naperville, Illinois-rated by Money magazine as among the nation's "Best Places to Live" and by Chicagoans as the most desirable town in which to live. With more than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students, North Central College is committed to academic excellence; a climate that emphasizes leadership, ethics, values and service; a curriculum that balances job-related knowledge with a liberal arts foundation; and a caring environment with small classes. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to learn more.