June 17, 2010
I’ve come to William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa for the annual meeting of the Friends Association of Higher Education (FAHE). Last year we were at Woodbrooke, in England; next year we will be at Bryn Mawr, a college founded by Quakers but without any formal connection today. There will be perhaps a hundred attendees this year, most of them Quakers, perhaps half from Quaker Colleges, perhaps half from non-Quaker Colleges.
The meetings provide an opportunity for those who think that they draw strength for their teaching and scholarship from Quaker understandings to gather together to learn from one another: to encourage, to support, to provoke.
I’ve been coming to FAHE meetings fairly regularly for two decades. I look forward to renewing friendships and to having conversations that I only seem to have at FAHE gatherings.
There are about fourteen Quaker Colleges in the United States counting liberally, that is, counting those with a current formal connection and those that were simply founded by Friends. There are also two Quaker study centers
Most of the fourteen Quaker Colleges will be represented here, but Earlham, with more than a dozen present, has by far the largest delegation. We put effort and resource into nurturing our grounding in Quakerism. Encouraging our faculty and administrators to attend FAHE, and supporting that financially, is one way we do it.