Press Releases

ECLA European College of Liberal Arts Becomes a Satellite Institution of Bard College

Fiona Schnüttgen
The ownership of ECLA European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany has been transferred to Bard College by the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation as part of a larger gift that includes financial support for the transition. The new satellite institution of Bard is to be called ECLA of Bard, a Liberal Arts University.

Bard College is a residential college in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York with the undergraduate student population of 1,900 students. The College has a 150-year long tradition of progressive education and civic engagement, and takes pride in its model of liberal arts education, which consists of the core academic offerings surrounded by affiliated institutes and programs. Among the renowned Bard Institutes are the Center for Curatorial Studies, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, and Hannah Arendt Center. In addition, Bard has long been a leader in bringing the liberal arts model to new locations throughout the world. Bard’s global initiatives include dual degree programs offered with St. Petersburg State University (Russia), American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), Al-Quds University (Israel/Palestine), and the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa, dual credit).

Under Bard, academic programs at ECLA will be expanded and graduates will receive a dual degree accredited in Germany and the United States. A new semester- and year-long study abroad program will be introduced in 2012, which will rely on Berlin’s rich resources in the areas of arts and culture; politics, economics, and society; and history and literature. In the future, several Master of Arts degree programs are planned.

ECLA received state recognition from the Berlin Senate for Education, Science and Research in February 2011. It currently enrolls 60 students and offers a multidisciplinary B.A. degree in value studies, which brings together, under the umbrella of their relationship to values, such topics as art and aesthetics, ethics and political theory, and literature and rhetoric. The language of instruction is English. The student body is international and includes citizens of more than 30 countries. The university also offers yearlong study programs.

Board leadership as well as the financial needs of ECLA have been provided by the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation since the Foundation established the college in August 2002 as a German not-forprofit corporation. The guidance and support by the Foundation enabled ECLA to make the transition from a summer university to a four-year liberal-arts B.A. program. In addition to ECLA itself and the 15 buildings that make up its campus, Endeavor Foundation’s gift to Bard includes a $12 million grant to support the program during the transition phase. 

“This merger recognizes our achievement in the field of liberal arts education, and opens up broad prospects for further development and internationalization,” said Managing Director and Co-Dean of ECLA Peter Hajnal. “We are very grateful for the generous support of Julie J. Kidd and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, and President Botstein’s commitment on behalf of Bard College. We look forward to enriching ECLA’s profile in the new institutional setting,” added Managing Director and CoDean of ECLA Thomas Norgaard.

Bard College President Leon Botstein said: “We are honored and excited to have this opportunity to make ECLA thrive as part of Bard. The ideals of ECLA’s program reflect the finest of the liberal arts tradition, as well as an important step in the extension of the liberal arts to European students. At the same time, we look forward to creating a new set of programs compatible with ECLA’s existing mission. We're grateful to have been presented with the opportunity to continue the visionary work of Julie Johnson Kidd and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, and look forward to strengthening and expanding the programs of this pioneering institution.”

President Julie J. Kidd of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation said, “The establishment of ECLA European College of Liberal Arts and its B.A. program in value studies have been of enormous importance to the mission of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and have absorbed a great deal of our efforts and resources over most of the last decade. It is time now that we transfer the leadership and responsibility for ECLA to the most innovative, dynamic, and suitable partner to take on the further development of ECLA’s special mission. We are honored and grateful that Bard has agreed to be ECLA's new owner and champion. Bard has been a helpful partner since ECLA was created, and I look forward to continuing, with Bard, to build on what has already been accomplished.”


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This event was last updated on 08-21-2018

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