Evergreen's 50th Anniversary

Fifty years and counting… 
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Red Square in the Fall
Red Square, The Evergreen State College

When the first Evergreen class entered in 1971, the college was seen by many as a grand experiment. The creation of a four-year public college without grades or majors (among other things) signaled that the people were ready to explore new possibilities with their institutions—to see what would happen if we gave people more freedom to formally pursue what they were most passionate about.

The results were more spectacular than anyone predicted. Evergreen’s design put students and faculty in close collaboration with each other, and the college quickly became a place bursting with creativity and innovation. Ever-evolving to meet the needs of students, Evergreen continues to carry that spirit for learning as we celebrate 50 years. 

Over the decades, Greeners have done amazing things. They’ve contributed to groundbreaking research, become industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs, and made countless imprints on both underground and mainstream culture. We’d like to believe that Evergreen—the way it teaches people to work together—has played a big role in their success.

But the college isn’t just about collaboration and collective problem solving. From the beginning, we’ve sought to bolster access to our dynamic learning model especially for populations who have historically been excluded from higher education. We welcome those who seek an affordable education that will launch them into the future they envision for themselves and we do everything in our power to help them get there.

Whether it’s an advisor showing a first-generation student how to navigate their career opportunities, a faculty member empowering someone to overcome their fear of math, or a tutor encouraging a fellow student to dig deeper into their ideas, Evergreen has always been about giving people the support they need so they can have the freedom they want.

If the past 50 years have taught us anything, it’s that the world needs more places like this. More places dedicated to empowerment, collaboration, creative problem solving, and making unlikely connections that change the way we see the world. More places that are flexible enough to adapt to society’s challenges and prepare people to meet their futures with confidence. 

We are still beset by conditions created by COVID-19, but that won’t stop us from commemorating our half-century anniversary. This year, we will honor the past, celebrate the present, and project our strengths as an institution looking toward the next 50 years.

We hope you’ll join us.

How has Evergreen Helped You Evolve?

We invite you to share your reflections in 100-150 words on how Evergreen has helped you evolve. Your submission may be selected for display on the Evergreen 50th Anniversary celebration web page or in a print publication.