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Bard College

From Academic Kids

Bard College, founded in 1860, is a four-year, small liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, on a 600 acre (2.4 km²) campus overlooking the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. The college's Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts was designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, and was completed in the spring of 2003. Leon Botstein has been the President of the college since 1975, and is generally credited with reviving its academic and cultural prestige. It has developed several innovative graduate programs and research institutes, including the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, the Jerome Levy Economics Institute, the Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture, and the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Bard College also owns Simon's Rock College of Bard, the nation's oldest and most prestigious early college program, and Smolny College, Russia's first liberal arts college.

Professors include such luminaries as Joan Retallack, Joanne Akalaitis, John Ashbery, Chinua Achebe, Caleb Carr, Joan Tower, Luc Sante, Robert Kelly, Adolfas Mekas, and Stephen Shore. Others who have taught at Bard include philosophers Heinrich Blücher and Alfred Jules Ayer, writers Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Albert Jay Nock, and Andre Aciman, artists Roy Lichtenstein and Judy Pfaff, filmmaker Arthur Penn, and political science historian James Chace. Blücher and his wife Hannah Arendt are buried in the Bard Cemetery, and a portion of Arendt's personal library resides in Bard's Stevenson Library.

Notable alumni include filmmaker Todd Haynes (MFA program), poet Anthony Hecht, novelist and NPR commentator Daniel Pinkwater, photographer Herb Ritts, film-critic Jonathan Rosenbaum (http://www.chicagoreader.com/movies/rosenbaum.html), and comedian Chevy Chase. Adam Yauch, a.k.a. MCA of the Beastie Boys, also attended Bard; he never graduated, but is quoted as having fond memories of "a lot of LSD, a lot of hairy women." Larry Wachowski, who co-directed The Matrix, also dropped out of Bard. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan met while students at Bard, and later wrote "My Old School" as a tribute to their alma mater. More recent alumni include Adrian Grenier (star of HBO's Entourage), Project Greenlight's Erica Beeny, and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Actors Christopher Guest, Larry Hagman, and Blythe Danner are also alumni. X-Men writer Chris Claremont graduated from Bard, and named the character Jean Grey after a grave in the campus cemetery. In the comic, Jean Grey's father is mentioned as being a professor of history at Bard.

Since Annandale-on-Hudson consists solely of the college and has no downtown center, neighboring Red Hook and Tivoli serve as "college towns." Shuttles run between the college and the two towns.

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