Purple Mountain Tutorial

Support the most essential element of a Williams education—the fundamental professor-student relationship.

A skilled teacher in the Socratic tradition, Mark Hopkins ‘24 was immortalized by the aphorism attributed to one of his former students, James A. Garfield: “The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.”

When you commit to sponsoring the Purple Mountain Tutorial Program at Williams, you help advance Mark Hopkins on the Log in the 21st century. You support the embodiment of that ideal: students and faculty intellectually engaged in dialogue with one another.

More than half of all Williams students take at least one tutorial during their undergraduate careers. The Williams tutorial is a remarkable academic experience you won’t find at most other colleges. Each week, two students take turns developing independent work – an essay, a report on lab results, a piece of art – and critiquing it. With support and guidance from their professor, they sharpen critical thinking skills, improve their writing, develop ideas, and learn how to defend their positions.

A recent survey of the college’s graduating seniors asked the question; “What is the top indicator of a graduate’s growth in learning during his/her time at Williams?”  

The overwhelming answer was: “Time spent interacting with faculty.”

Your gift to the Alumni Fund already ensures that Williams maintains the lowest student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1 and hires the most brilliant scholars who show the greatest commitment to teaching undergraduates.

Purple Mountain Tutorial offers Alumni Fund leadership donors a living connection to faculty and students engaged in our tutorial program. With your Alumni Fund gift of $25,000, you can sponsor a unique tutorial at Williams.

The core essence of Williams, and what we all love so much, is the symbiotic bond between teacher and student. I couldn’t be more excited to support this tradition so that generations of Ephs (and their professors) can continue to flourish in the Purple Valley.” — Mitch Howell, Class of 1996


To sponsor Purple Mountain Tutorial or learn more about the program, please contact Laura Day ’04.