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Facing dwindling enrollment and financial problems, in the past year three private colleges in New England have merged out of existence.

A new report suggests that even more colleges across the country should merge before they get in financial trouble. But there are some things schools can do to stay afloat.

Facing dwindling enrollment, Wheelock College has agreed to merge with Boston University. The two schools will become one beginning June of next year.

Boston is one of four US cities – along with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. – vying to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.  Business and civic leaders planning the effort tout the benefits and rosy forecasts – increased global stature for Boston, economic boom in jobs and revenue for local business before, during and after the games, and improved infrastructure and facilities, etc.  The price tag? Recent analysis by The Boston Globe pegs it at approximately $15 billion. 

But here’s another idea altogether: to spur similar investment and excitement in Boston and other cities for education by borrowing this same blueprint. 

What does the newly-elected President of Afghanistan and President Obama’s mother have in common?  Answer: anthropology.  Both Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Ann Dunham earned PhDs in Anthropology—she from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1992, he a decade earlier at Columbia University.  And while this factoid might seem like the lead-in for the opening monologue on late-night television, it actually suggests something rather important for the future of global leadership.

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