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Rivendell College

July 6, 2009
Rivendell College

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic work, The Fellowship of the Ring, Rivendell is a sanctuary. A safe haven. A place of healing and renewal. A realm of beauty and peace. Here ancient lore has been preserved, and crafts of learning thrive. Here races set aside differences and unite for their common good. Here leaders forge a daring and surprising strategy to conquer the dark forces that threaten the land, with virtue and valor the centerpiece of their heroic plan. We are inspired by this powerful, mythic vision as we live out our own story and take up the quest that has been set before us.”

Rivendell College was named after the fictional place created by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Elven outpost established and ruled by Elrond in the Second Age of Middle-earth. “Riven” means split apart like a rift or narrow gorge; and “dell” means a small wooded valley, usually secluded. The Elvish realm of Rivendell is located at the edge of a narrow gorge by the river Bruinen, but well hidden in the foothills of the Misty Mountains. The climate there is temperate with moderate precipitation.

The location of a school says much about what kind of school it is. So it seems fitting that the setting of Rivendell College at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado is similar in many ways to the literary Rivendell. The mountains, temperate climate, and majority of sunny or partly sunny days each year make it an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and rock climbing are a way of life for many Boulderites. The annual Shakespeare Festival, Pearl Street Mall, and the Bolder Boulder, a 10k race that draws 50,000 participants each year, all speak to the rich diversity of this unique place. IBM, Ball Aerospace and Technologies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research are all located in Boulder, too.

Rivendell has chosen to weave their presence and programs into the fabric of the larger university community. This gives students access to the benefits of both: a small private liberal arts college in the Christian tradition, as well as a major research university – the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus – right across the street. Rivendell is a relatively new college. It was in 1983 when a Christian study center called Dayspring first opened its doors within the shadow of the University of Colorado. The purpose was to bring Christian thought and perspective to the richly diverse academic square of the secular university campus. In 2005 Dayspring changed its name to Centers for Christian Study International (CCSI). In 2006 CCSI launched Rivendell College and formally began the process of seeking its own accreditation at the state and regional level as Rivendell College.

At Rivendell, a Certificate in Undergraduate Studies is granted upon successful completion of 30 credits, and a Diploma in Undergraduate Studies requires the successful completion of 60 credits. While Certificate and Diploma Program students may apply for a degree program at Rivendell College, many students go on to complete their degree elsewhere. Rivendell classes are recognized and approved for transfer to schools such as the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado. Academic advisors are available to help students craft a course of study with their interests and needs in mind. Rivendell College also offers two-year Master of Arts degrees featuring required core courses along with selected areas of inquiry, designed to help students acquire a greater understanding of the Christian tradition, gain a graduate-level mastery of an academic discipline and its methods of scholarship, and prepare for further graduate work, vocation, and a lifetime of effective leadership.

If you are seeking the right fit for your faith and finances, look no further! Rivendell College is a quality Christian campus that supports the values of homeschooling families and is surprisingly affordable. The College is committed to helping students and their families meet the financial cost of earning a certificate, diploma, or degree from Rivendell. In recognition of the challenges the U.S. economy has created for students and families, Rivendell College is taking every step possible to keep the cost of enrollment for 2009-2010 as low as possible.  Tuition has been lowered to $12,000 for full-time undergraduate students, and $6,000 for full-time graduate students.

Homeschool scholars will be especially interested in the Great Books honors program. Great Books at Rivendell College is a complete general education track that meets most core curriculum requirements for a bachelor’s degree. This program of study is centered around great literary and artistic works that have influenced generations and shaped western civilization in significant ways. The learning experience focuses on rigorous personal and group engagement with primary texts and works of art, supplemented with historical context lectures and other lectures that provide scholarly input from Rivendell faculty, based on the core values and educational philosophy of the College. Students go through the program in small learning cohorts, led by Rivendell Fellows who serve as mentors and tutors. Students are required to write, present and defend essays as an essential part of their coursework. In addition to the Great Books curriculum, students complete a major of their choice and must meet all other graduation requirements. The Great Books program is designed for highly motivated students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and potential for leadership during their high school years.

Since its beginnings, the Rivendell community has been committed to the advancement of Christian scholarship and constructive engagement with the larger academic community and the ideas that influence our society. In this tradition, Rivendell students are encouraged to take some of their coursework at the University of Colorado, and to interact with university campus life by participating in Christian campus ministries, using facilities such as Norlin Library and the University Memorial Center, attending public lectures and conferences, and enjoying university athletic, music, and theater events. In turn, students, faculty and staff of the University of Colorado are invited to enroll in Rivendell College courses through one of its Guest Student Programs, and to participate in Rivendell College events.

The Academic Dean at Rivendell College is Gary Stanley, formerly with Campus Crusade for Christ, and a contributing writer for “Christian Ethics and Morality: A Foundation for Society.” He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Southern California. He is also one of the founding faculty of the International School of Theology in Southern California where he taught for twenty years.

“At Rivendell College we embrace the classical vision of the university as a Christian institution. As heirs of that legacy, we believe that all truth is God’s truth, and that every good gift is from God. This foundational conviction inspires us to engage in rigorous and thoughtful interaction with the brightest and best minds within and outside the Christian tradition. We earnestly seek to learn from ancient wisdom and contemporary thought. And we are passionately convinced that pursuing these things – in community – with the highest standards of personal excellence will produce a generation of leaders who will shape cultures and change the world!”

In previous years, Rivendell College has hosted a Homeschool Visit Day in February. Contact them at 877-444-1199 (toll-free) if you’re interested in touring the campus on a future date, or visit www.rivendellcollege.org for more information.

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  1. […] Rivendell College « Homeschooling Teen MagazineJul 6, 2009 … Rivendell College was named after the fictional place created by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Elven outpost established and ruled by Elrond in the … […]



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