Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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50 Reasons for Simon's Rock

In 2016, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Simon’s Rock, alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends named 50 reasons to support the Rock–one for each year of its history to date. 

Why give to The Fund for Simon’s Rock?


Why Give to Simon’s Rock? Because it's still easy to forget, even in my last year as a student here, that Simon's Rock is a real place and not just the stuff of dreams. Several years ago, I never could have imagined sitting in such fascinating classes, reading thought-provoking books alongside brilliant professors and curious fellow students, in a classroom with big windows that overlook the forest. This school has been a gift to the mind and the soul.

-Chloe Hull ’13
Students working on vintage bike

Simon's Rock is an amazing place, for me and so many other people, who simply couldn't learn the way they needed to in high school.

-Caitlin Rust ’14

Giving to Simon's Rock can upgrade science and technology resources to keep up with changing needs, and facilitate STEM research programs, internships, and senior projects.

-Rachel Shi ’15

Read more reasons from students 

…because at this college, you find people who care a great deal. The professors, students and staff bounce off each other's enthusiasm for learning, and create an atmosphere of great passion that students carry with them when they leave Simon's Rock. I think this is exactly what the world needs: people who have a passion for learning and the ability to deeply care about what interests them.

-Mo Constantine ’14

Why should you give to Simon's Rock? Because great minds deserve a great place to learn.

-Felix Foote ’16

You should give to Simon's Rock because it is really a special place. Everyone here is welcomed and it feels like home, and everyone should have the possibility to come home. This can happen with your help!

-Estella Lumer ’16

Young students with ideas are often quieted in educational environments. Simon's Rock gives them the chance to speak up, share those ideas, and inspire others.

-Jess Parrott ’16

Giving to Simon's Rock means supporting a small, close-knit liberal arts early college. Simon's Rock offers the opportunity for students to leave the constraints of high school and actively participate in engaging and interesting courses. I've never actually been in a class where we could speak without raising our hands! It's very refreshing.

-Abby Romm ’16

Because when you give to Simon's Rock, you're giving to the people that will change your world in the future.

-Audrey Russell ’16

Simon’s Rock is a place where curious people can thrive.

-Julian Matthews, Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock ’15

Give others a chance to become who they want to be.

-Nick Kawam, Bard Academy ’16


I give to Simon's Rock of my time and energy so passionately because I know everything I give to our college and community makes a much bigger impact than things I give elsewhere. Simon's Rock alumni are such a rare group of people—there are only something like four or five thousand of us in the world—and we are the ones the school needs the most to further its mission.

-Cordelia Derhammer-Hill ’86

…to help a young person get the break I got.

-Irene Gravina ’69
alumni reunion

I give to Simon's Rock to honor my mother, Eileen Handelman, who began teaching at Simon's Rock shortly after its founding. Because of her job there, I was lucky enough to know about the school at exactly the time I needed saving from my high school experience. She dedicated the second half of her career to her many students and to the school she stumbled upon after semiretiring. I give to keep alive her belief that learning should be exciting and challenging, and so future generations of high school-age students can experience the same sense of endless possibility I did when entering Simon's Rock.

-Audrey (Handelman) Kalman ’77

Because Simon's Rock changes—and even saves—lives by showing young people that there is an alternative to traditional high school.

-Scott Summer ’82

Read more reasons from alumni

I give to Simon's Rock in memory of the miserable adolescent that I was until I got to the Rock, when a community of friends and a path of learning opened up for me. I give in hope of supporting any other young people who need what Simon's Rock provides so beautifully. I give to Simon's Rock in honor of Ñacuñán Sáez, a brilliant teacher, a warm heart, a creative delight, and a loyal friend. I give with a prayer that we see the end of gun violence, especially in schools.

-Anonymous Alumna ’84

When people ask me about Simon’s Rock, I always start by saying it saved my life. Simon’s Rock is a place that makes it possible for people to be thoughtful and to imagine what the world can be and not just to accept the world as it is.

-Rodney Christopher ’86

I give to Simon’s Rock because I believe that being able to go to this school has saved the lives of many of its students, in ways both big and small. It certainly saved mine.

-Valerie Ferrier ’94

I give because my Simon’s Rock education still shapes how I think and write and engage the world. I’m still in community with Rockers I met 15 years ago, and still meeting more. I give to Simon’s Rock because Simon’s Rock is still giving to me.

-Michael Lawrence ’98

I decided to make a donation to the educational institutions that have challenged my thoughts, and encouraged me to understand how small actions impact the environment we make for each other every day.

-Jaime Soper ’04

Parents and family members

We spent years trying out different schools, public and private, and nothing clicked–until we found Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock. Our daughter is driven by intense curiosity and a creative mind, and the Academy professors have (finally!) met her on her terms. One month in she was already writing programs with Python and “boffing” with her friends. We are grateful to Simon’s Rock for giving her the opportunity and the generous financial aid to make it possible. That’s more than enough reason to give.

-Fred Baumgarten & Jenny Hansell, parents of Ella ’16
Family Weekend 2015

I give because Simon's Rock is worthwhile, and future generations of students deserve the opportunity. I believe Simon’s Rock adds to people’s lives and I care about other people. Simon’s Rock gave so much to me, I should give back.

-Keith Brierly-Bowers ’80, parent of Perri ’08 and Kori ’12

Read more reasons from family members 

I give to Simon’s Rock to keep the revolutionary spirit of Elizabeth Blodgett Hall alive. She had the vision to imagine and the guts to create the first and still the only residential early college in America, a place where bright, motivated teens could go for a college education on par with the best in the land. When I was 15 and shifted to Simon’s Rock from Hunter College High School in New York City—no slouch of a school! —the difference in the quality of instruction and the quirky genius of my peers was immediate and electrifying. I give to Simon’s Rock to keep that spark alive and glowing for today’s teenagers.

-Jennifer Browdy ‘78, Faculty in Language and Literature, and parent of Nicholas Browdy Hernandez '08

My 20-year-old is in his second year of medical school, and loving it, and my 18-year-old is getting his Masters in Computer Engineering, and loving that, because they both learned how to learn, and how to love learning, from Simon's Rock.

-Jonathan Weiss, parent of Jared ’10 and Aaron ’12

Simon's Rock is a unique institution where round pegs no longer have to try to fit into the square hole of the traditional educational model that most of us grew up with. Supporting Simon's Rock is supporting the quality education of young minds that might otherwise languish in a traditional high school setting.

-Steve Moritz, husband of late faculty member Wendy Shifrin


Give to Simon’s Rock to help our younger generation gain access to the kind of education that opens their minds and hearts to the world and all of the diversity it offers. In order to move forward as a society, we need to continue to learn how to ask the right questions, questions that provoke understanding and empathy. That is the major focus of Visual Art at Simon’s Rock.

-Jacob Fossum, Faculty in the Arts

To ensure that Simon's Rock and its community of students, faculty, and staff is here for others during a formative moment in their lives.

-Katie Boswell, Faculty in Social Studies
Simon's Rock Classroom Photo

If you want a dynamic, compassionate, engaged citizenry; capable of critical analysis of facts and able to appreciate the arts as foundational to a balanced society - give to the Rock!

-Karen Beaumont, Faculty in the Arts

I give to Simon's Rock to honor the life's work of my dear friend and colleague, the late Wendy Shifrin, and her deep devotion to the well-being of our students.

-Joan Del Plato, Faculty in the Arts

Read more reasons from faculty

Because chemistry is cool -- and expensive.

-Patty Dooley, Chemistry Faculty

I give because Simon’s Rock has given so much to me.

-Bill Dunbar, Faculty in Science, Mathematics, and Computing

The community at Simon's Rock strives for inclusion and kindness, and as individuals stepping outside of this community, we do our best to spread this idea of solidarity to those we meet. This attitude can only lead to a more understanding world climate, and that’s a great reason to give to Simon's Rock.

-Kati Garcia-Renart, Faculty in Dance

I give to Simon's Rock to help more students benefit from an inclusive environment in which everyone helps each other.

-Harold Hastings, Faculty in Science, Mathematics, and Computing

Because our students, through their scholarship and leadership, are creating a more inclusive and thoughtful world. And that's a world we need right now.

-Kenneth S. Knox, Faculty in Mathematics

…to support what contributed to your educations, and to help continue to build this great community, and to welcome other students through scholarships.

-Ben Krupka, Faculty in the Arts

To develop resources for the science labs—wouldn't you like to support students by building up the natural history—or ecology—or robotics collection?

-Donald McClellan, Environmental Science Faculty

This is our legacy. We inspire learning and shape the future of education. Giving to Simon’s Rock can open up more possibilities for our talented students.

-John Myers, Faculty in the Arts

…to give students opportunities for summer internships at Simon's Rock. Hands-on research experiences with professors make students more competitive when applying to jobs and graduate schools.

-Sarah Snyder, Biology Faculty

In the course of an academic year, Simon’s Rock presents to the campus and local community a rich series of cultural and educational events: lectures, reading, concerts, plays, dance performances—by distinguished and sometimes world-renowned figures, people who represent the cutting edge of the arts and intellectual activity in today’s world. Most of these are offered to the public free of charge, but at significant cost to the College. These events not only enrich the lives of students, faculty, staff, and members our local community, they help keep Simon’s Rock connected to the global intellectual and cultural community.

-Larry Wallach, Faculty in the Arts


Simon's Rock, the nation's first early college, is now at the center of a growing early college movement. The impact of a Simon's Rock education in the lives of individual students is matched in the impact of the Simon's Rock idea in redefining higher education to be more inclusive in its boundaries, more inventive in its substance, and more enduring in its results.

-Ian Bickford ’95, Provost

Because this place needs to exist forever.

-Valerie Fanarjian, Director of Student Activities
Mark Marisol

Most of Simon’s Rock students depend on scholarships and financial aid. Many of the students who really belong here are able to attend only through donors’ generosity. Every dollar donated to scholarship support goes directly to relieving students’ tuition costs.

-Chandra Joos deKoven, Director of Admission

…because so many people tell me that Simon's Rock saved their lives.

-Rich Montone, Director of Institutional Advancement

Read more reasons from staff 

The beautiful Simon’s Rock campus requires ongoing maintenance, occasional updates, and planned improvements. Your gifts to the Fund for Simon’s Rock make it happen.

-Gerard Nesel, Director of the Physical Plant

Simon’s Rock students, ready and eager to learn, begin an educational journey preparing them for a future of their own design.

-Anita Ytuarte, Associate Director of The Fund for Simon’s Rock

Simon's Rock enriches the broader community, presenting nearly 100 free cultural events per year: visiting artist and author talks, screenings, readings, concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions and more.

-Sandy Cleary, Director of the Daniel Arts Center

I choose to support the mission because I believe in it, and because I have been totally impressed with the young students I have met since I arrived in 2010.

-Coleen Cox, Admission Operations Manager

…because I have seen, firsthand, the impact Simon's Rock has on its students. Because I value education. Because I completely support Ian Bickford's vision of what Simon's Rock could be. Because I believe in my students.

-Mark Mirasol, Associate Dean of Campus Life

Abide with us—225 Acres and a vision for an enduring community

-Susan Mower, Academic Services Coordinator

You know how people want smaller class sizes and teachers who care about people learning? We do that. You know how the world needs people to ask questions and challenge the status quo? Those are our students. The people I want in charge of this planet in the future are Simon’s Rockers. That’s why I work here, that’s why I give, because this place makes a difference.

-Monk Schane-Lydon, Senior Instructional Technologist

…because Simon's Rock provides a completely unique opportunity for students! It’s a place where students can be themselves and find their way in a nurturing and challenging environment.

-Dan Karp, Photo Lab Technician

The Rock spews out bright little pebbles that may inspire the world.

-Leila Miller, Campus Safety Officer


Give because llamas need love, too!

-The Simon’s Rock Llama

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