A New Idea with Old Principles

Riverwell College is different than other universities, colleges, community colleges, and institutes you will find out there. Why? Riverwell is committed to three guiding principles. These are:

Education is a lifelong pursuit. We have collectively decided as modern Americans that education is something intended for the young: once we begin working, we no longer should seek out new educational opportunities. Why? It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? Riverwell seeks to offer classes intended for adults and youth, parents and children to take together. Because learning is a noble pursuit for the whole family. And because Education has no age limit.

Education is much more than a transfer of information. Without going too deeply into modern university culture, suffice it to say that universities sell you their programs as a data packet: you spend time with them and in the end you will receive the information you need to succeed. This is wrong. Education isn't handing information over from teacher to student (often in terrible ways, such as online classes or over-enrolled lectures): education is about learning from those who have dedicated themselves to understanding something. The student models him- or herself off the teacher. At Riverwell we champion the apprentice model whereby the student grows and develops through the example set by the teacher of an educated individual.

Education is primarily about the student-professor relationship. Universities obscure this by offering luxury services, such as lofty dorm rooms, health and wellness amenities, pools, lounges, cafes and restaurants, tutoring services. These aren't part of the learning process, and they don't help learning. We don't offer these. Instead we focus on providing time and access to the professors the students are there to study with. 

Using these principles, Riverwell is dedicated to a new idea of what a school can be. Come be a part of it with us.

Our Dedication

Riverwell College is dedicated to the Humanities. This means that we focus on the most important questions we ask ourselves: who we are, where we came from, and who we want to be (and how to get there). Humanities is about us: how we believe, how we govern ourselves, how we talk to each other, how we understand the world around us, and most of all how we tell stories that encapsulate all of this. Many schools have lost sight of this, making the liberal arts something irrelevant and meaningless. Riverwell College is dedicated to recovering the liberal arts as the central and guiding principle of all education. 

What the
future holds

Riverwell College is at the heart of the idea of the Institute. Our goal in the future is to grow the college to become a small university, working on an entirely different conception of what a school can be. Located in the cozy town of Lexington, Missouri, our dream is to make the school into a prestigious home for the rhetorical and liberal arts without the pitfalls and problems that a modern university has. If you want to help us along that goal, we encourage you to consider seriously registering for a class, telling your friends and family about us, or possibly donating to the institute. 

Come take a class with us

Riverwell will be building its course offerings for a while: in the meantime, you can find here some of how we are conceptualizing what these classes will look like. You can find a listing of the specific courses here

Language classes

Critical to understanding the world outside our homes is being able to communicate. We will be offering classes on learning foreign languages, both current and historical. Come take a class with us and starting communicating in whole new worlds. Languages currently offered: Spanish, Latin, and Old English

Nerd Camp

This series is about digging deeper into fascinating topics, particularly in a way that is appealing to teenage learners. In these classes we look at topics that are rarely discussed in the high school classroom but are nevertheless immensely interesting and usually relevant to see how we can learn something new about ourselves from it. This series is directed to teenagers who want a more demanding academic experience. 

Family Discussion Hour

Critical to the principles of the college is that parents and their children can learn together in a way that fosters discussion inside the classroom and at home. These are not just adult education classes: these are classes for anyone who wants to dig deeper and understand more of the world we live in. These classes focus on topics that speak to our own society: even if we look far back in history it is to understand the world around us today. 

Understanding Literature (coming soon)

This doesn't just mean books. Literature is about the stories we tell each other: sometimes it is through print, sometimes through museum displays, movies, live theatre, videogames, YouTube videos, vines, and Facebook posts. This series will focus on some aspect of storytelling to teach how we can better learn to read these stories and thus to come to a fuller appreciation of what they show us. A significant part of this series will be looking at mythology and the role it plays for us. 

Composition and Rhetoric (coming soon)

Learning, all learning, is mediated through language, and understanding how to frame an idea or an argument is central to all other projects - whether in school, in business, or in life. These classes teach students how to develop an idea through writing and present it in an effective and persuasive manner. These courses are intended for High School seniors who also prefer to enroll in college credit. 


This class is directed to providing a little extra help in test-taking. While it in theory focuses on the national university admission exams (the ACT and SAT), it can be useful for students who are preparing all types of standardized tests, including the LSAT, GRE, or even state exams. 

Music conservatory

A limited number of piano or guitar private lessons are available per semester. These courses are intended for beginning students (preferably with no experience). These courses are intended to help students capture an appreciation for music on a deeper level, and for those who want to go on to pursue music professionally, we want to give them a solid foundation.