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Using data from several periods of English history and building on the literature on culture and institutions, we analyze the co-evolution of education and attitudes toward women's and minority rights. First, we establish a strong association between the size of twenty-first-century educational institutions in a given location and the attitudes prevalent there: the proximity of a large college or university is associated with individual support for women's and minority rights, regardless of whether the individual has been to university. Second, we present evidence for high inter-temporal persistence in the geographical variation in the density of educational institutions over several centuries. Third, we show that the geographical distribution of later educational institutions depends not only on the distribution of medieval institutions, but also on correlates of medieval exposure to ethnic and religious diversity that are likely to have influenced attitudes. Institutions and culture co-evolve, and the inter-temporal persistence of the density of educational institutions is one mechanism (though probably not the only one) that explains the association between medieval exposure to diversity and twenty-first-century attitudes.