At a Tiny College, an Epic Battle Over Academic Authority

"To serve rather than be served" is the motto of Shimer College, a fiercely independent liberal-arts institution where professors and their students use dialogical tools to dismantle arguments like kids pulling the innards out of old alarm clocks.

So it probably came as a surprise four years ago when a deep-pocketed philanthropist offered to serve Shimer in a big way, by making a large donation that would partially offset the cost of moving the financially beleaguered college from