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Carlisle is tops in rate of college graduates

By Katrina Ballard
Globe Correspondent / December 15, 2010

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CARLISLE — At Gleason Public Library in Carlisle, the town with the highest percentage of college graduates in Massachusetts, dozens of children were running between the shelves or working at computers yesterday afternoon.

“People utilize the library, and that’s generally a reflection of a community,’’ said Angela Mollet, the library director. “People are fully involved in the library and school system, and I think that’s a celebration of knowledge.’’

According to the American Community Survey, released yesterday, about 87 percent of Carlisle residents over 25 years of age have an undergraduate degree or higher, while more than 50 percent over 25 have a graduate degree or higher. The national average for a bachelor’s degree is about 27 percent, and the statewide average was 38 percent.

Leslie Thomas, 52, said she moved to this town northwest of Boston because of Carlisle’s rural quality and because she thinks the residents are more educated.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on education in Carlisle, and the parents are very involved,’’ said Thomas, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeastern University. “People are more open to different things.’’

Mark Quinn, 58, said census statistics showing Carlisle with the highest percentage of college graduates “just makes sense.’’ He remembers his two daughters, now working for the government and studying pharmacy at the University of Connecticut, were always studying or working on group projects while they were in school at Carlisle.

“My daughters had high-achieving friends; practically everybody did,’’ said Quinn, who has a master’s from Lesley University. “My youngest daughters’ friends were really into the sciences.’’

Quinn was at the library yesterday picking up five books he had on hold. He says he always reserves novels and history titles online and sometimes has up to 10 books waiting for him at the front desk.