You wouldn’t find women going to school on the Deep Springs College campus this time last year.
About one hundred years ago, founder of Deep Springs College, L.L. Nunn was building power plants when he stopped, bought a ranch in the California desert and filled it with young men eager to learn the trade along with an education.
According to NPR, “His idea was that labor, education and self-governance should exist in the same place — and that that place should groom the country's next leaders.”
Nunn also made the college one where a boy could become a man, “The desert has a deep personality; it has a voice. Great leaders in all ages have sought the desert and heard its voice. You can hear it if you listen, but you cannot hear it while in the midst of uproar and strife for material things. 'Gentlemen, for what came ye into the wilderness?' Not for conventional scholastic training; not for ranch life; not to become proficient in commercial or professional pursuits for personal gain. You came to prepare for a life of service, with the understanding that superior ability and generous purpose would be expected of you." (Nunn 1923)
Now Deep Springs is not only a ranch where men can learn to grow alfalfa and herd cattle, but it is also a Liberal arts school where students can work toward their associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution.
Although Nunn’s idea was to educate men on the subject matter, that was 100 years ago. Now, in the 21st century, changes are coming.
For years now women have been allowed to teach at the college, but not attend. In 2013 that all changed. The college started taking female applications, although coeducation has been a hot topic on campus since the 1960’s.
Some disagree with the meshing of men and women on this historic campus and are fighting the decision to allow female students, while others are pushing the envelope for gender equality.
Source: NPR.org, Southern California Public Radio