Five Colleges, Inc. is a consortium of five campuses, 2,200 faculty members and 30,000 students in western Massachusetts. It was established in 1965 to promote the broad educational and cultural objectives of its member institutions, which include four private, liberal arts colleges and the Amherst campus of the state university. The consortium is an outgrowth of a highly successful collaboration in the 1950s among Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which resulted in the founding of a fifth institution, Hampshire College, in 1970.
Five Colleges, Incorporated promotes and administers long-term forms of cooperation that benefit faculty and staff members and students. These include:
Shared use of educational and cultural resources and facilities, including a joint automated library system, open cross registration, and open theater auditions;
Joint departments and programs;
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), a national organization of consortia.