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up A History of ArsDigita University

Conception | Admissions | Operations | Press | Reflections

Agency

The program was the "brainchild" of Philip Greenspun, an MIT professor and internet entrepreneur. Greenspun had previously flirted with the idea of free education when he "refunded" his students' tuition, the motivation of which he explains in his article Tution-free MIT. While meeting a different need, ADU was in the same spirit. That the idea came to fruition is a credit to Philip's magnetism and the strength of his ideas, as experienced by his collegues (several of whom ended up teaching for the program). It was also made possible by his position within ArsDigita Corporation (as Co-Founder and Chairman), a position he lost during the year the program ran.
"I'll be happy to teach you, and I'll do my best. But I'm not going to take your money." - Philip Greenspun

Financing

ADU was funded by ArsDigita Foundation, which was supported by ArsDigita Corporation, a once successful developer of open source, community-oriented software (bought by Red Hat in 2002). This is to say, particular people within the company, and their friends, foot the bill (in some cases for a parking spot at work).
"We are rich. You guys aren't getting it. The $1 million/year that it will cost is like a rounding error in our business (enterprise software)." - Philip Greenspun

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Site last updated: May 14, 2013
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