Most people who have heard of Hampshire College in Amherst know it’s not your typical higher ed institution. For those that don’t know, Hampshire is a liberal arts college where there are no majors, no grades and no tests, and it is renown in that regard.
In my interactions with students from the five colleges (the others: UMass, Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke) in the area, none are more interesting than the Hampshire kids, and I mean that in the best of ways. They are more sociable, curious, and individually creative in how they view their life and educational path.
Just how outside the norm is the school? One look at their speed limit signs as you drive through campus will tell you all you need to know.
Just try driving 17 miles an hour and see how that goes!
It got me thinking, is there a meaning to the 17 mph speed limit or is the school just trying to show how off-kilter it really is? Or is this some kind of inside joke.
The Internet tells all: In 2015, Hampshire changed the 15 mph signs in honor of the retirement of Mathematics Professor David Kelly, who for decades taught the mathematical and social history of the number 17.
Read Hampshire’s story about Kelly and his obsession HERE. Like Hampshire’s students, it is completely fascinating.