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Elizabeth Blodgett Hall, 1909-2005

Elizabeth Blodgett Hall, 95, founder of Simon’s Rock College, died July 18 at Geer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Canaan, Conn.

In 1964, with 200 acres of her family’s land and a grant of $3 million from the Margaret Kendrick Blodgett Foundation — a charitable educational trust established by her mother — she founded America’s first “early college.”

The idea for Simon’s Rock grew out of her conviction that the American secondary school was failing to adapt to the changing nature of adolescents, who were maturing earlier and who were anxious to accept academic and personal challenges and responsibilities that their high schools did not provide.

She believed that many bright young people can do college work before the normal age of high school graduation, and she defined the mission of her college as providing such students with the opportunity to begin college after the 10th or 11th grade. The college was chartered by the state in 1964.

(From the Berkshire Eagle obituary. In closely related news, Saturday’s New York Times had a story, “Students Say High Schools Let Them Down.”)