Education: Heaven at Hampshire

The U.S. has a rich tradition of experimental colleges that start with high ideals but soon drift into dogmatism, anarchy or extinction. Massachusetts' seven-month-old Hampshire College hopes to be different. Created by the academic establishment, which vows to make it work, the school is thriving as a model of well-planned radicalism.

Founded by its well-known neighbors (Amherst. Smith, Mount Holyoke, the University of Massachusetts), Hampshire is their testing ground and showcase for lively ideas. To revamp admission standards, the college does not require high school diplomas. Of this year's first 268 students, 42...

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