The beginning of Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (CLAC) can be traced back to 1984, when Frederick Starr, then president of Oberlin College, became interested in raising the profile of liberal arts institutions in Washington, DC. In 1985, President Starr engaged presidents from 50 colleges in meetings about collaboration on lobbying and other efforts.
In 1986, a second, pivotal meeting led to the creation of CLAC. The presidents and senior academic officers of the initial member colleges identified two areas of primary concern: The support and development of undergraduate science education, and the enhancement of academic computing facilities, including library automation. In coming months, members of a steering committee met to name the group (spoiler alert: they decided on CLAC). The steering committee also agreed to a modest $100 fee for each member institution.
In 1993, after several years of annual meetings and work together, the CLAC steering committee and governing board voted to establish CLAC as a permanent, incorporated organization and CLAC was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Oregon. Since then, CLAC has progressed nicely to an important wellspring of information, resources, technical knowledge and advocacy.
CLAC now boasts 77 of today’s top liberal arts colleges and has been supporting collaboration, knowledge sharing, professional growth of its IT members, and advocacy for the liberal arts at the national level for more three decades.
The organization will celebrate its 30th Annual Conference in 2018.