BHC writes in:

OK, I would like to offer the following issue for possible Eph consideration: how do we feel about the home page of Green Mountain College?

Now I have nothing against Green Mountain College, which is apparently “Vermont’s Environmental Liberal Arts College.” But I was taken slightly aback by the prominently featured quotation from Henry David Thoreau:

It were as well to be educated in the shadow of a mountain as in more classic shade. Some will remember, no doubt, not only that they went to college, but that they went to the mountain.

This is a legitimate Thoreau quotation, from “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.” But it did not originally refer to Green Mountain College. The full quotation follows Thoreau’s description of a “rude observatory” on the summit of “Saddle-back Mountain,” now known as Mount Greylock:

This observatory was a building of considerable size, erected by the students of Williamstown College, whose buildings might be seen by daylight gleaming far down in the valley. It would be no small advantage if every college were thus located at the base of a mountain, as good at least as one well-endowed professorship. It were as well to be educated in the shadow of a mountain as in more classical shades. Some will remember, no doubt, not only that they went to the college, but that they went to the mountain. Every visit to its summit would, as it were, generalize the particular information gained below, and subject it to more catholic tests.

Is it appropriate for another college to market itself using a literary quotation that was actually inspired by Williams?

The Thoreau text can be downloaded at here. Incidentally, it also records a young woman’s description of students from Williamstown as “a pretty wild set of fellows.”

Doesn’t bother me. The quote has now been added to our Quote Wall.

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