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ACM History

The member colleges launched the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) in 1958, building on a long-established tradition of athletic competition dating back to the 1920s. The ACM colleges use their association as a vehicle to conduct joint initiatives that would not be possible independently.


Over $11 million in external funding

Within the past five years, the ACM colleges have attracted more than $11 million in external funding for a variety of ACM initiatives. Individuals who take part in ACM programs bring best practices, shared experiences, and collectively-generated initiatives back to their home campuses. The relationships people develop through the consortium expand their personal networks and shape the cumulative experience of each ACM institution.  

ACM member institutions

The 10 founding members of the ACM (Beloit, Lawrence, and Ripon in Wisconsin; Coe, Cornell, and Grinnell in Iowa; Carleton and St. Olaf in Minnesota; Knox and Monmouth in Illinois) are still actively engaged with the consortium, and were strengthened by new members Macalester and Colorado Colleges in 1967, Lake Forest College in 1974, the College of the University of Chicago from 1988 through 2008, and Luther College in 2009. The ACM member colleges have shown remarkable stability and vitality over 50 years of profound change in American higher education.

The founders of ACM, united in a common commitment to excellent liberal arts education, identified three main purposes to support the members through joint action:

  • To advance the interests and to contribute to the educational effectiveness of the member colleges of the organization;
  • To develop and assist the member colleges in improving the efficiency of their operations both administrative and cultural;
  • To assist the member colleges in developing additional sources of revenue.