About Bard College
Bard College has distinguished itself as a leader in the field of liberal arts and sciences for more than 150 years by providing a first-rate undergraduate education for its students. The College is known for its pioneering ideas in education, its passionate commitment to the highest standards of artistic inquiry and practice, and for its vigorous advocacy of liberty, citizenship, individual dignity, and tolerance of differences.
About the Area
Bard College sits in the northwest corner of historic Dutchess County in the beautiful mid–Hudson Valley. Today the region's many communities, with their galleries, restaurants, shops, and cultural events; its exciting outdoor activities, including paragliding, kayaking, and mountain biking; and its numerous historical sights make it a vibrant place to live.
Once home to various Algonquian-speaking tribes of the Mahican confederacy, the area was settled by Europeans at the start of the 17th century, after Henry Hudson traveled the river that now bears his name. The area that would come to be Dutchess County was ruled by the Dutch and then the English before the Revolutionary War.
By the start of the 18th century this fertile region was home to self-sufficient farms, and the Hudson River provided opportunities for commerce, industry, and transportation. During the Revolutionary War, its farms supplied the Continental armies with great quantities of food. The booming agricultural industry continued after the war, as Dutchess County farmers began to supply the New York City market. Brickmaking, whaling, and iron mining joined agriculture in contributing to the prosperity of the region, and soon numerous great estates were built along the Hudson.
The extraordinary beauty of the valley also drew artists to the area. Painters Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, and other members of the Hudson River School were attracted by the majestic Catskills on the west side of the river, the region's numerous waterways, and the rolling hills on the river's east bank. Writers Washington Irving and Edith Wharton set many of their stories in the Hudson Valley. The area also nurtured great historical figures; national leaders such as Robert Livingston and Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt called the Hudson Valley home.