The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges & the Renewal of University Life  ‹›


Cornelia Strong College

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Friday, 28 July 1995 | Per aspera ad astra | Newsletter No. 32


Greetings to All Strong College Members, New and Old!

Summer greetings and salutations to all members and friends of Strong College! During school year (“term time” as we say) the Strong College Newsletter is distributed every week to all our members and to an assortment of friends of Strong College. During the Summer we send out one or two issues to keep people up to date on what’s been going on in the College while most people are away.

The admission process was completed last month and we have an outstanding group of new students joining Strong College this coming year, along with our many loyal and dedicated returning members. The year ahead promises to be a magnificent one! Our membership consists of about 260 undergraduates and 25 faculty Fellows, and for the first time this year we will have a small number of resident graduate members as well. The resident members all live in Moore-Strong Hall, and the non-resident members (the Fellows and a small number of students) come to Moore-Strong Hall regularly to participate in College activities and events.

Strong College in a Nutshell (Or, What is a residential college, anyway?)

The idea of a residential college in a large university is unfamiliar to many people. Here’s a bite-sized explanation of what Strong College and places like it are about: There are many advantages to attending a large university. Excellent libraries, a large and diverse faculty, and advanced research opportunities all make for a rich academic experience. But along with all these advantages may come some disadvantages as well. A student in a large institution can sometimes feel lost in the crowd: an anonymous number who doesn’t really have a home or belong to any community. To escape these disadvantages many people choose to attend small liberal arts colleges rather than big universities. In the friendly environment of a liberal arts college they receive excellent support and a strong sense of belonging, but they miss the many advantages that a large institution clearly can offer. It might seem that there is no solution to this dilemma, but in fact there is, and it is a solution that has been adopted at many other institutions, both public and private. That solution is to distribute the student body into smaller collegiate communities, each with an associated group of faculty. These collegiate communities may have their own curricula, as they do at Oxford and Cambridge, but they need not, and indeed collegiate communities like Harvard’s, which have no curricular component at all, are easier to establish and maintain: what holds them together is a social bond and a tradition, developed through regular interaction in a common dining room and library, and at any of a number of regular college functions. Cornelia Strong College is a community of this type, and its new students join in its many traditions.

The Summer Has Already Been Busy

The Strong College Library was established last year through the great generosity of many faculty, students, and friends who donated books, time, and money to its founding. This summer the Library has continued to grow through the continuing generosity of members and friends. We have received many boxes of books in the last two months from Professors Charles Davis and Bill Tucker of the English Department, and from Ms. Terry Weaver of the Elliott University Center. Other donations have been received from Strong College Fellows Ken Caneva and Laura Hill.

Advice to Freshmen

“Leave no stone unturned to insinuate your selves into the favour of the head, and senior-fellows of your respective colleges. Whenever you appear before them, conduct yourselves with all specious humility and demureness; convince them of the great veneration you have for their Persons, by speaking very low, and bowing to the ground at every word; wherever you meet them, jump out of the way with your caps in your hands, and give them the whole street to walk in, be it as broad as it will. Always seem afraid to look them in the face, and make them believe that their presence strikes you with a sort of awe and confusion.” (Nicholas Amhurst’s magazine, Oxford University, ca. 1721)


© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021