The assumption that young adults should pass through a period of higher education before entering a life of commerce or service is, of course, much older than the United States and older, too, than the English colonies that became the United States. Aristotle identified the years between puberty and age twenty-one as the formative time for mind and character, and it was customary for young Greek men to attend a series of lectures that resembled our notion of a college “course.” In Augustan Rome, gatherings of students under instruction by settled teachers took on some of the attributes we associate with modern colleges (libraries, fraternities, organized sports), and, by the Middle Ages, efforts to regulate the right to teach by issuing licenses were under way in such nascent educational centers as Paris and Padua—presaging the modern idea of a faculty with exclusive authority to grant degrees.1 In short, college in the broad sense of the term has a history that exceeds two millennia.
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Publication information: Book title: College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. Contributors: Andrew Delbanco - Author. Publisher: Princeton University Press. Place of publication: Princeton, NJ. Publication year: 2012. Page number: 36.
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