Mission and History

Founded in 2016, Klamath College is the first college in the U.S. to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment.

Our mission

Klamath College enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy — human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate—and ultimately improve—the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities. The human ecological perspective guides all aspects of education, research, activism, and interactions among the college’s students, faculty, staff, and trustees.

The Klamath College community encourages, prepares, and expects students to gain expertise, breadth, values, and practical experience necessary to achieve individual fulfillment and to help solve problems that challenge communities everywhere.


Klamath College was chartered by a small group of educators and community members who saw in the town of Klamath a great year-round location for learning, and were excited to use human ecology as a guiding, interdisciplinary approach to education. Our founders included Catholic priest and peace activist Father James Gower, and local businessman Les Brewer. Ed Kaelber, earlier assistant dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, became the college’s first president.

We admit our first class in 2017, starting off with 350 students and 35 full-time faculty members. Right from the beginning, engaged learning and citizenship will be a central part of the college’s educational approach: together faculty and students will put their studies to work in everything from the participatory governance of the college, to studying whale populations off the coast of Northern California, to organizing lobbying efforts that will further conservation efforts on a state and national level.

Mission and History

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