History Lesson--Beacon College

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

History Lesson--Beacon College

Postby Rich Douglas » Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:51 am

Welcome to the first of (I hope) many thread-starters regarding classic DL schools of yore. Hopefully, we'll stimulate a little discussion, learn a few lessons from the past, and give some folks new to this field a sense of what has gone on before.

Our first entry is Beacon College.

Now gone, Beacon College began in the 1970's as Campus-Free College, originally with offices in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. (Established in Boston, the Washington location became its home.)

A highly flexible program along the lines of Vermont College and the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities (now both part of Union Institute and University), it offered students opportunities to earn bachelor's and masters degrees in almost any area via learning contract. According to Bear, "Beacon probably has the most flexible, most non-traditional Master's degree ever to achieve full accreditation...." (BG 7, 1981) Accreditation was granted by the Middle States. The tuition was pretty low. Perhaps too low, as we'll see next.

There was some controversy at the school regarding administration and finances. Beacon owed about $100K to the faculty, The board of directors, fearing personal liability, started pulling the plug. Then the licensing folks for the District of Columbia pulled Beacon's license. This led the Middle States to pull its accreditation, and Beacon was gone soon afterwards. (1983 or 84)

According to one alumna, the records ended up in San Diego and, from these ashes, later rose what would become William Lyon University. (It, too, is now gone.)

Famous alumnus: Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Corporation and designer of Lotus 1-2-3. Kapor took a master's in counseling psychology.

Lesson: It takes more than a good idea or good intentions to create and sustain a nontraditional school. It also takes capital.
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more Beacons

Postby uncle janko » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:15 am

The deceased Beacon should be distinguished from

Beacon University in Columbus GA (TRACS accredited; DL offered)
http://www.beacon.edu/

and also from

Beacon College in Leesburg FL (SACS accredited; for learning-disability students AA and BA)
http://www.beaconcollege.edu/about.htm

both of which are alive and well--and currently conducting capital campaigns.
Doing good, doing well, raising hope and raising hell. Janko Shave.
"Airplane music? Just like music for big bees, only louder."--Arnold Schoenberg
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