MISSION AND PURPOSES
Williams seeks to provide the finest possible liberal arts education by nurturing in students the academic and civic virtues, and their related
traits of character. Academic virtues include the capacities to explore widely and deeply, think critically, reason empirically, express clearly, and
connect ideas creatively. Civic virtues include commitment to engage both the broad public realm and community life, and the skills to do so
effectively. These virtues, in turn, have associated traits of character. For example, free inquiry requires open-mindedness, and commitment to
community draws on concern for others.
We are committed to our central endeavor of academic excellence in a community of learning that comprises students, faculty, and staff, and
draws on the engagement of alumni and parents. We recruit students from among the most able in the country and abroad and select them for the
academic and personal attributes they can contribute to the educational enterprise, inside and outside the classroom. Our faculty is a highly
talented group of teachers, scholars, and artists committed deeply to the education of our students and to involving them in their efforts to expand
human knowledge and understanding through original research, thought, and artistic expression. Dedicated staff enable this teaching and learn-
ing to take place at the highest possible level, as do the involvement and support of our extraordinarily loyal parents and alumni.
No one can pretend to more than guess at what students now entering college will be called upon to comprehend in the decades ahead. No
training in fixed techniques, no finite knowledge now at hand, no rigid formula can solve problems whose shape we cannot yet define. The most
versatile, the most durable, in an ultimate sense, the most practical knowledge and intellectual resources that we can offer students are the open-
ness, creativity, flexibility, and power of education in the liberal arts.
Toward that end we extend a curriculum that offers wide opportunities for learning, ensures close attention of faculty to students but also
encourages students to learn independently, and reflects the complexity and diversity of the world. We seek to do this in an atmosphere that
nurtures the simple joy of learning as a lifelong habit and commitment.