Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Shimer College was founded in 1853 in Mount Carroll, Illinois by Francis Wood Shimer as a non-denominational co-educational seminary. Shimer became formally affiliated with the University of Chicago in 1895 and adopted the Chicago "Hutchins Plan" in 1950. Despite the very traditional Hutchins curriculum, Shimer developed a reputation as a counterculture mecca in the 1960s and 1970s. Mounting debts forced the college to leave its Mount Carroll campus and move to the Chicago suburb of Waukegan, Illinois.
Shimer continues to use the Hutchins Plan, which relies on close readings of original sources and disdains textbooks, as the basis for its curriculum. It is one of a very small number of "Great Books" colleges--most notable among them St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, although the emphasis on "Great Books" has lessened somewhat in recent curriculum changes. Shimer College is also notable for its extremely small size--with fewer than 150 students, Shimer is one of the smallest liberal arts colleges in the United States. Shimer also has the unusual practice of having a weekend college separate from the normal weekday enrollment, which is tailored to people who want to balance a college education with a fulltime job.
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