Tag Archives: college

The Size of the Nightmare: Azusa Pacific University

Azusa Pacific University was founded in 1899 as the West Coast’s first bible college. It started offering degrees in 1939.

Today the school, located a half hour East of Los Angeles, still has evangelical ties and all students take religion courses. Azusa has a student body of over 10,000 people making it the second largest evangelical student body in the country (next to Liberty University in VA).IMG_3899

Azusa Pacific also boasts the second best NFL running back to ever be a character in Nintendo’s Super Techmo Bowl (next to Bo Jackson).

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While mingling at a business event I saw a black man standing alone at a table. He wasn’t talking to passers by and those who passed did not appear to notice him. I knew no one there so I walked over to say hello. As I approached I recognized his face, but didn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t believe my eyes because the face I recognized belonged on the body of a giant, and this man was exactly my size. I do not consider myself giant.

IMG_3199I got close enough to read his name tag, we all wore gigantic name tags, and there it was, written in Times New Roman, “Christian Okoye”.

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Christian Okoye came to AzusaPacific directly from Nigeria. He went there on a track scholarship with hopes of making the 1984 Olympic team. When team selections id not go his way he looked around for something else to do and he landed on football. He did not know the game, but he knew how to run and he was a giant. This giant got drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and quickly earned the nickname the “Nigerian Nightmare”. It was disconcerting to meet a giant from your childhood and not only find him incredibly friendly, but also not so much a giant. Maybe he just looked bigger because I was 8 years old at the time.

I think he is the only nightmare to ever be associated with Azusa.IMG_3905

What is associated with the school is community service and teachers. The magazine Diverse Issues in Higher Education recognized APU as one of the nation’s top school’s in awarding degrees to racial minorities, particularly Latinos.

IMG_3904So apparently they aren’t only good at creating Nintendo legends but they do the whole college thing as well.IMG_3887

 

 

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UCLA: its the UC located in LA

California’s system of public higher education can be a bit tough for an outsider to understand. UC vs. CU, vs. IDK. It doesn’t help that there are 23 different CU schools and 10 different UC schools.  Most outside the system don’t even know it’s a system.

But they all know about UCLA.UCLAarches

The University if California at Los Angeles. I had a couple Bruins in my cohort in grad school and they were almost insufferable in their love for their alma mater. I’m a generally jaded guy so this sort of vigor intrigues me. It bears investigation. (did you see what I did there?)

In said investigation a couple things have drawn my attention, the newly formed Lowell Milken Institute and the not so newly formed, but unique nonetheless, Critical Race Studies program, also in the school of law. No, I am not a lawyer… but I have friends who are. I am also obviously not a comedian… nor am I a friends with any.570_UCLA_School_of_Law

The Lowell Milken Institute studies entrepreneurism and law. I have no real desire to work for myself but I love the idea of chasing one’s own dreams. I’m a fan of that. I’m a fan of the idea of lawyers chasing dreams rather than ambulances. I get the impression the folks over at UCLA agree with me on that.

Critical Race Studies (CRT) was birthed in the practice of law but most schools do not have dedicated programs. UCLA claims it has the only one. I like the idea of the program not because this is all I care about, though many may make that argument, but I like that such things are studied in a practical way. Law is at its core practical. You go argue a theoretical idea, that then becomes, or strikes down, a law, and then people’s lives become structured by it.

Things that touch our lives, especially things like race, should absolutely be studied not just pontificated or legislated independent of ideas and research. Which I guess is why the law school isn’t just one blanket program. But I’m only guessing.

But all this being said, most everyone knows as much about the CRT or Lowell Milken centers as they do the California CU/UC system.

That’s okay, just remember, UCLA. (say that part out loud).

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Cal Poly Pomona: don’t eat your Wheaties

Cal Poly Pomona has more than 22,000 students. More than 1,000 are international. I’m not sure how many people from Pomona they have, but I do know they have about 85 purebred Arabian horses.

front doorI’ll get to the horse in a minute.

The school was officially founded in 1938, but the ball had been rolling for some years before that.  The Voorhis school for boys started in 1928. It had some hard times during the depression, almost made it out the other end, but come 1938 the place was broke and gave control over to The California Polytechnic School in San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly Pomona was born.palmtreesandpointythingToday the school offers 94 different bachelor’s degrees, and boasts the largest civil engineering program in the United States. The University is part of the California State University system, claims Forest Whitaker as an alumni, and has a strange connection to breakfast.libraryIn a strange twist regarding Mr. Whitaker, Cal Poly Pomona almost gave Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe’s dictator) an honorary doctorate back in 1998. Students protested and the honor was never awarded. Skip ahead to 2006 and alum Forest Whitaker portrays that same Mugabe in a movie and won the academy award for best actor. Not sure all of that connection is something they boast about over there but “Go Broncos!”

kellogsThe breakfast connection goes back to 1925 when founder of the Kellogg company (the ones who make Cornflakes) started a horse ranch in Pomona. In 1949 Mr. Kellogg donated the ranch, along with its herd of Arabian horses, to the state of California. The State of California gave the ranch to Cal Poly Pomona. The old stables, and the horses are still there. Strangely enough the horses now have new stables and the old ones now house the offices of the student clubs. When I was there I strolled past the open stable door of the Greek Life organization and chuckled at an “Animal House” joke I thankfully never said out loud.

IMG_2461The school, like most California public schools today, is officially “impacted”. This means it is full. No room for any more students. No Mas! But they still accept applicants. You can get accepted but then you have to wait your turn for classes. This is what happens when your yearly tuition is $6,350. So while waiting to get your class, you will have both the time and money to go shopping.usedclothes

 

 

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“Your Mom Goes to College” ~Kip

Last year I visited 105 college campuses.

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Having reviewed the data I may have a bit of a geographical gap in my area of expertise.

I need to fix that.

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UC Irvine: the Anteaters lose an imaginary game, why not.

Orange County has long prided itself as one of the birthplaces of “cool”. Irvine is in Orange County. The “OC”.anteaterdoors

You have to be comfortable with yourself and your position in the world to call yourself the Anteaters. UC Irvine are the Anteaters.pennant

The name doesn’t draw from some storied past, the school was only founded in 1965, but rather from a student body vote in which the runner -up was “none of the above”. But California is known for being new and bucking convention.bridgepath

Walking around campus I never saw the school’s three Nobel prize winners, they were likely busy in labs somewhere, but I did see lots of students. They milled about on lawns, on paths, and brutalist styled libraries and commons. It is easy to notice students at UC Irvine, there are almost 30,000 of them.library

But on this fall day what made these students stand out was what they were doing.

I have never read a single Harry Potter book. I am OK with this.quiddich

After watching what was obviously a game of Quidditch (there was no announcer or stadium to help me realize this) and understanding that I am of a different generation than these students, I rushed home to share my experience with someone who is more in tune with today’s college kids; my 9 year old daughter.

I came in the door, pulled the picture up on my phone and said, “Hey 9 year old daughter, look what I saw today!”

“What is that?”

“What do you mean what is this? It’s kids playing quidditch!”

Without a smile or even a nod of appreciation she stated as fact, “That is not how you play quidditch.”

“Come on, I know they have to pretend a little, but this is real life. Look they figured out how to play it in real life. You don’t think that’s cool?”

Her reply came immediately and at a rapid fire pace:

“No. For quidditch in real life you need a stage. The brooms are connected to a series of ropes and pullies that allow them to move both up and down as well as slide across to the other side of the stage. Bludgers are hung from ropes in different places so they can swing around hitting people or getting hit by players with clubs….” She kept going for a minute or so more without breathing and in an indignant tone. I had no idea what she was talking about but it was obvious she had thought this through in detail.

I have learned that when in conversation with someone who knows a lot more about a subject than you do, it is best to just shake your head and listen.

Hey anteaters, get ready to shake your heads and listen because someone in your neighborhood has a bone to pick.statues

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Pomona: yes. just yes.

If you are going to build a campus in Southern California you should do it like Pomona.

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In 1887 a group of graduates from schools like Dartmouth, Yale, and Colby wanted to found a college in the New England style… but without the snow. They built Pomona.

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They must have done something right because in 2013 Forbes.com ranked Pomona the #2 college in the country. Stanford got #1.
Pause for a minute. #2 over all. This means it beat Harvard, Yale, Princeton, M.I.T., Duke, Cal, and pretty much everyone else.

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You may not have heard of Pomona before. Don’t feel bad. A lot of people are just like you and just like you, most people don’t really know what a liberal arts college is. Pomona is a liberal arts college. When I was 17 I thought a liberal arts college was a place for democrats. I was not too bright; one of the reasons I didn’t go to Pomona.

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A liberal arts college is normally small, which is why most of us haven’t heard of most of them. These schools focus a bit more on critical thinking ability than a specific marketable skill. If education was stretched out into a line, one end would be poetry and the other would be engineering; business perhaps. A large research University normally lets a student choose one point on this spectrum and focus on it. Upon graduation the student should be proficient, and employable, in whatever they studied ie chemistry, marketing, or even -gulp- English.

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A liberal arts education aims to give a student experience and knowledge on as many points on that spectrum as possible. Then, upon graduation, the student should have the ability to look at problems, tasks, or anything, and draw on a wealth of knowledge to generate answers, ideas, or whatever is needed at that moment.

What this does not always generate is a job; or so many think. Many people are wrong.

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Now lets not us get this wrong. A job on Wall St. is not and should not, be the sole purpose of college. That being said, about 20% of Pomona grads work in finance. But it is not a pipeline, that would be Wharton. Now if you want to go to grad school, or get a Fulbright (the class of 2007 alone won 24 Fulbright scholarships), or be a lawyer, or simply want to learn in a rigorous and supportive environment, consider the liberal arts route.

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There are plenty of such schools around, but at places like Pomona it is kinda hard to get in. 23% of those admitted were their high school’s valedictorian. Most were in the nation’s top percentile on the SAT. They accept less than 1,000 students year to year. That is small.

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Don’t worry about the money. When it comes to the top American schools, never worry about the money, worry about getting in. Pomona promises that if you get in, they will make sure you find the money. They also promise that money won’t come from a loan.
But ya gotta get in first.

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Scripps: not a sister but it should be.

By 1926 all seven women’s colleges that made up the prestigious “seven sisters”, had been established, along with the ivy league schools with which they were affiliated.

Sometimes when affiliations are being established, the affiliaters miss out on things.

In this case the sisters missed out on Scripps.

scrippsThe school was founded as an all girls school joining the newly formed Claremont University Consortium. The consortium at that time consisted of Pomona College, the Claremont Graduate University, and then Scripps.

 

They weren’t trying to be the sisters, or even the ivies, they were modelling themselves after Oxford.

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This modelling was referring to the academics of course, as the architecture is much more Mexico than England. When you go there today it is much more California than it is New England.

scripps mission arches

Too often the little sister, the one who didn’t get picked to join the sorority, the one who wasn’t first, is thought to be a little less. In this case that would be a mistake.

Scripps is the #24 best liberal arts college in the country and the third best all-women’s school. This means it outranks Bryn Mawr, Barnard, and Mt. Holyoke.

And at Scripps, it never snows.scripps stairs

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