Nestled in a brand-new classroom building designed by a celebrated architect, 17 freshmen were enthusiastically discussing Plato in a seminar called “Ideas that Changed the World.”
It was only the third class of the semester, yet they already knew each other’s names. When class ended, they had just yards to walk back to their new dorm.
The setting was not a small, private ivy-covered liberal arts college with a $60,000 price tag but the University of Massachusetts Amherst — in the $192 million, seven-building complex that opened recently as the new home of the Commonwealth Honors College. The university hopes the new honors complex, nestled within the larger campus, will lure some of the state’s top students to Amherst.