Richard Rose considering the new elite in higher education


The old elite universities are easily recognized by endowments in the tens of billions, gargantuan research budgets, and faculties boasting multiple Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. Tiny acceptance rates add to their prestige. Stanford University accepted only 4.3% of its applicants in 2020. I have personally had the honor of being rejected by Harvard four times. The institution’s prestige increased in my eyes on each occasion. As Groucho Marx put it “I wouldn’t dream of joining a club that would have the likes of me as a member.”


There is a second type of elite educational institution. It is the college or university that has truly decided who it serves, has carved out a mission, and accomplishes what it has set out to do every day. Consider the highly respected Musical Instrument Repair And Construction program at Minnesota State College Southeast at Red Wing. (Yes, it’s the same town where they make the famous work boots.) Their graduates make a good living doing something they love.


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