Our Mission

The Rural Life Center at Kenyon College promotes education, scholarship, and public projects about Knox County, Ohio. In active partnership with the surrounding community, we seek to ensure the vitality of rural life in a changing society.

Our Background

Established in 1998, the Rural Life Center is an award-winning model of college-community engagement. By design, RLC activities advance Kenyon’s educational mission while addressing community needs and interests.

Our Work

Our work aims to sustain rural character, promote dialogue, and provide models for educators and organizations nationwide. The RLC is a pioneer in mainstreaming academic study of rural life throughout the curriculum. Coursework, independent studies, summer internships, and extracurricular activities share local knowledge and address regional issues by means of public projects. In all our efforts, the RLC educates students into the community.


RLC work addresses a broad array of topics by means of public projects, events, and scholarship. Our exhibits, radio series, films, print publications, and public conversations consider such topics as agricultural practices, rural diversity, public spaces, and foodways. Scholarly research and creative work reflect the diversity of student and faculty interests – auctions, sustainable agriculture, gravestone symbolism, water quality, old-time fiddling, and land-use patterns, to name only a few. Taken together, these activities address three general themes: family farming, local history and culture, and rural issues.


Browse the Rural Life Center Collections:

Family Farming

Local History and Culture

Publications and Exhibits

Rural Issues