Heaven and Earth
St Anselm College
St. Anselm College was built in 1831 after Catholic missionaries journeyed into the American wilderness to civilize the west. Upon arriving in what would later be eastern Kansas in 1827, they met Jacob Potter and decided to stay. A mission was quickly built then replaced with a college. Over time, St. Anselm grew into a respected institute of higher learning and helped spur the growth of Potter’s Lake.
Situated directly opposite the lake, St. Anselm is equally as important as Southey’s Paper Mill as a town fixture and landmark. Despite local resentment towards the rich college students who come here for the four-year party, St. Anselm is crucial to the town’s economy. St. Anselm brings people into the region. Potter’s Lake has little to offer the outside world besides its paper products. The college, however, lures people in from across North America. Each year, there are new students in town with the arrival of the latest freshman class. The students spend a great deal of money on entertainment and alcohol. While the college has an excellent reputation as a fine academic school with a strong religious background and fundamentals, it is in fact a wholly secular party school. The student body is composed largely of wealthy teenagers who chose St. Anselm because of its reputation as a good school where they can spend four years in a drunken stupor. They major in business or some other innocuous degree that places few demands on their intellectual development and that will supposedly grant them an immediate career upon graduation. The average student does not work very hard. Most of them slide by with a grade-inflated B average before returning home to work for the parents who paid for their expensive tuition in the first place.
All of this is unfortunate because St. Anselm does have a fine academic reputation with a competent and talented faculty that has academic pursuits firmly in mind. Most of the professors bemoan the state of the modern student who has little interest in the knowledge that the faculty has accumulated and tried to pass along. Of particular excellence is, as one can imagine, the Religious Studies Department. There are some fine minds here interested in the pursuit of truth and the dogma of the Catholic Church. Most of these men and women are excellent teachers and truly concerned about the spiritual well being of both the students and the people of Potter’s Lake.
The bottom line is that one can get a fine education from St. Anselm through effort and simple application. The sad fact is that most students do not. Like many college towns, the students have little respect for the locals or the community itself. They come to Potter’s Lake for college but do not necessarily want to live here, especially since it’s a somewhat disturbing slice of rural America. Likewise, the populace has little regard for the students who are rowdy, young, disrespectful, and a pain in the ass by local standards.