Singapore spinoff

That’s one reason Yale is pursuing this venture. The faculty’s enthusiasm for reinventing liberal education is another. But many faculty and alumni have wondered aloud just what tangible benefits to Yale make this project worth investing the university’s time, energy, and reputation.

For Linda Lorimer, the answer is a straightforwardly altruistic one. “Right now,” she says, “we take 140 international students in Yale College. Here’s a chance to create the educational experience for a college that will have a thousand students a year, and may well become a model for the many, many liberal arts colleges that will be created in Asia in the next 20 years. We hope we’ve done an incredible job for 300 years educating young people in this country, and here’s an incredible opportunity, without costing us a penny, to get something that will have the potential to be truly excellent for another part of the world.”

Levin and Salovey mention other motives in their letter, including a growing imperative for universities to invest abroad. “We do believe it is inevitable that the world’s leading universities by the middle of this century will have international campuses,” they write. U.S. and European universities have hundreds of partnerships and joint ventures in Asia and the Middle East, and the demand for higher education in both regions is growing tremendously.

Yale’s ambitions have grown steadily over the centuries. In 1701, Yale’s founders thought Connecticut clergymen needed an orthodox Puritan school. In 1828, Yale’s faculty and trustees decided to use liberal education to help equip future American leaders with “the two great points to be gained in intellectual culture, … the discipline and the furniture of the mind.” Now, the university is poised to find out if it can take that mission global—and at what cost.  


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