On March 25, 1968, in Seattle, registration begins for the first classes of the Experimental College. The Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) sponsors the college.
The College was promoted by Mike Mandeville, a dynamic student leader with an entrepreneurial bent, who had founded Lecture Notes in 1966. These printed reports of major lectures were sold to students too busy to attend class and initially faced stiff antipathy from professors.
The Free U (a separate alternative educational institute founded in 1966) had recently lost its "campus" above the Coffee Corral (an establishment located on University Way and 42nd Street) and was spinning apart. Seattle's counterculture viewed Mandeville's new "college" as a lifeboat, not a pirate raid on the Free U.
In 2004 the Experimental College, still affiliated with ASUW, offers more than 200 courses on and off campus. It is the largest nonprofit, student run organization of its kind. Classes are quite varied, ranging from yoga to computer skills to Afro-Brazilian dance to writing poetry.
Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 109, 254; Experimental College Website accessed on August 28, 2004 (http://depts.washington.edu/asuwxpcl).
Note: This essay was updated on August 28, 2004.
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