Our vision for the future begins with a thoughtful look at the past. Take a look at this quick preview of what the University of Somerset has in store, then read on to learn more about our founding and our philosophy:
Why here? Why now? While the University of Somerset seems like a novel concept, we are building on a foundation that reaches back to the late 1800’s. Seeking to rebuild from the ravages of the Civil War, and to provide a springboard for the future of the local economy, early leaders took it upon themselves to establish a private college to support the education of the region’s youth.
Local leaders soon pooled their resources together to construct the magnificent three-story Gothic building that would become the home to the Somerset Masonic College. The College’s location provided the namesake for College Street in Somerset and now plays host to the campus of Somerset High School.
Destroyed by fire in the late 1880s, the college ceased operation, and the property was sold to the newly-formed Somerset Independent School District for $3,500.
Fast forward to 2019…
Myriad universities offer educational opportunities at all levels, yet rarely do these universities provide an educational environment that reflects genuine balance, intellectual openness, the free expression of ideas, and deliberative reflection that are requisite in the continual quest for truth and enlightenment. Overwhelmingly, contemporary college campuses have become ideological echo chambers, and students whose beliefs and values don’t conform find it difficult to fit in.
Universities today are seen as increasingly incapable of delivering a level playing field where ideas can be adequately parsed without fear of bias, reprisal, or rebuke. What hope is there of preserving the ideals of the founders who brought forth this new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality if students are not granted the academic freedom to fully explore the bounds of their intellectual curiosity? Where will they hear and openly deliberate emergent questions that shape our democracy? Where will students be adequately prepared to navigate a truly cosmopolitan society? Who will prepare the leaders of tomorrow?
Once again, civic minded community leaders in Somerset have risen to the occasion to mend a substantive tear in our social fabric. In late 2019, the University of Somerset was incorporated, and initial steps were taken to establish the campus in downtown Somerset. We’re building a campus where students will feel free to share, inquire, and deliberate in search of truth, understanding, and the common good. The University of Somerset believes it is our civic duty to provide such an environment, and to couple it with an elite educational experience with a curriculum built on the great books tradition of the liberal arts. Research, knowledge, and science are best pursued in an environment where intellectual honesty, openness, and freedom are cultivated and esteemed.
No political ideology should now–or ever–overshadow the importance of novel thought, inquiry, discovery, and innovation. Ideology may color our perspective, but it should not limit the scope of one’s potential to the boundaries of a party platform. Innovation drives economic development, and universities drive innovation. We will create a platform where the merit of all ideas can be deliberated, and new ideas inspired. Leading experts will make new discoveries that will advance their disciplines and generate the products and processes of tomorrow. Students will be prepared to become thought leaders in their chosen industries.
The University of Somerset is pleased to stand independently on a set of core principles. We believe that a university should educate, not indoctrinate. We believe that a truly successful university is one where students learn how to think, not what to think. We value civility in approach, we rely on discourse to understand and resolve conflict, and we depend on objective analysis through scientific inquiry to advance knowledge through discovery. Finally, we believe the advancement of knowledge must be entrusted to those individuals who have the character, virtue, and moral fabric to responsibly steward the ever-broadening horizons of human knowledge, potential, and capability.
The University of Somerset is empowering the future cadre of spirited leaders and thinkers.
Are you ready to join the movement?
The University of Somerset: Established 1865, Re-Established 2019.