A brief history of FAHE

A group of classroom teachers from Quaker-related colleges met at Quaker Hill, Richmond, Indiana in October 1977 to discuss the organization of a support agency for higher education similar to the Friends Council on Education (which has been supporting Quaker-related elementary and secondary schools for half a century).

Inspired by the words of Helen Hole, who states in her book, Things Civil and Useful (1978), that “perhaps the time has come to form a broad national committee which can provide support and link with tradition in the Quaker educational world, ” they met again at Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1978 and at the University of Notre Dame in 1979 while representing the Religious Society of Friends at the National Congress of Church Related Colleges and Universities.

In June 1980, a nationwide group of Friends educators joined with Friends meeting leaders on the campus of Wilmington College to found the Friends Association for Higher Education.

FAHE conferences have been held annually since 1981 and have been hosted by Bryn Mawr, Earlham, Earlham School of Religion, Guilford, Haverford, Swarthmore, Whittier and Wilmington Colleges; Friends, George Fox, Malone and William Penn Universities, and our two study centers, Pendle Hill and Woodbrooke. 

In the fall of 1999, the FAHE Executive Committee and 20 other weighty Friends of FAHE and Quaker Higher Education met to discuss the future of FAHE. These Friends left this retreat invigorated about the possibilities of Quaker higher education and the contribution of FAHE.