Five Colleges, Incorporated is a nonprofit educational corporation established in 1965 to promote the broad educational and cultural objectives of its associated institutions: four private, residential liberal arts colleges and the Amherst campus of the state university. The consortium is an outgrowth of successful collaborations launched in 1914 in educational extension services among nearby colleges and universities and more elaborate collaborations launched in the 1950s among Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in areas of library subscriptions, joint faculty appointments, public radio, history of science and astronomy. It was expanded in 1966 with the addition of Hampshire College.
Five Colleges, Incorporated promotes and administers long-term forms of cooperation that benefit faculty members, staff members and students. These include:
Their proximity to one another in the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts favors Five College collaboration, as does their commitment to the liberal arts and to undergraduate education. Five Colleges, Incorporated is a longstanding member of the Association for Consortium Leadership (ACL) www.national-acl.org, a national organization of consortia and consortium leaders.