Shimer College

Vision and Legacy in an Alternative Liberal Arts College

We believe in the power of questions and conversation. Action, after all, begins with curiosity. And to be good for the world, we must change it.

Our Legacy

Shimerians of every era have ventured into the world seeking a challenge, and made tremendous contributions to art, science, and education. 

Laurie Spiegel in her NY apartment in the early 1970s, surrounded by musical equipment. Spiegel recently won acclaim for her compositions featured in the sci-fi blockbuster <em>The Hunger Games</em>.Laurie Spiegel in her NY apartment in the early 1970s, surrounded by musical equipment. Spiegel recently won acclaim for her compositions featured in the sci-fi blockbuster <em>The Hunger Games</em>.
Among our visionary alumni:

Our graduates also include numerous professors and authors, civil servants, historians, poets, university presidents, and proud parents who send their own children to Shimer.

Whatever the future holds, we can be certain it will need greater compassion, ardent service, and bold innovation.

We will continue to encourage our students to resist orthodoxy and embrace possibility, in the hopes that they can see not only what is and has been, but what can be.


Our mission:

Shimer College provides and preserves education centered on discussion of enduring questions and issues. Historically influential original sources are studied through Socratic questioning in small seminar classes, following the kind of Great Books curriculum advocated by Robert Maynard Hutchins. The core values informing education at Shimer are free inquiry, dialog, critical open-mindedness, and integration of disciplines. The College offers all members of its community the opportunity to participate meaningfully in deciding the future of the institution. A Shimer education demands much of both the intellect and the character of students, and prepares them for responsible citizenship and the examined life.

- As approved by the Board of Trustees, May 2011