How many of the scientists who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.
Clifford Wall was a gifted scientist who was devoted to teaching and mentoring future scientists as well as to research and publishing. After attending a small liberal arts school in Naperville, Illinois, he went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Illinois before returning to his alma mater, North Central College, to teach physics for 12 years, nurturing a generation of future scientists, including at least nine who went on to obtain doctorates in physics, and one who became a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. He then moved on from North Central to become an equally influential mentor of great scientists at the University of Minnesota.