History of the Cutler Scholars

About Manasseh Cutler

Manasseh Cutler

The Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D., co-founder of Ohio University, truly can be described as a "Renaissance man." According to Thomas Hoover's The History of Ohio University: "Manasseh Cutler, a man of many talents...was recognized, especially by scientists, as a botanist of note and a writer on various scientific subjects. Born in Killingly, Connecticut,May 13, 1742, Cutler in turn attended Yale, operated a store, practiced law, and became an ordained Congregational minister with a church at Ipswich Hamlet (now Hamilton), Massachusetts. During the Revolution he served as a chaplain. Later he practiced medicine, explored Mt. Washington, 'botanized,' performed research with the microscope, traveled extensively, and conducted a boarding school. He was an active member of the American Philosophical Society, and one of his scientific achievements was a catalog of the flora of Massachusetts, classified according to the Linnean method."


William Konneker

The first awards were made for the 1996-1997 academic year with six students selected as the initial Cutler Scholars. However, the idea for such a program began several years earlier with a discussion between Dr. Wilfred R. Konneker, who was co-chair of the Third Century Campaign, and Jack G. Ellis, then-vice president for development. Dr.Konneker was searching for an idea that would recognize and reward scholarship among students at his high school alma mater and encourage them to attend Ohio University.

Jack Ellis

Mr. Ellis mentioned his personal goal of encouraging the establishment
of privately endowed scholarships in each of Ohio's 88 counties, scholarships that would be among the most prestigious given in the
state and would attract the academically finest students to Ohio University.

Jack Ellis

Through discussions with then-President Charles J.Ping, these ideas evolved into the development of a program that would be the premier scholarship award given at Ohio University and which adopted many of the characteristics of the world-renowned award for graduate students, The Dr. Charles J. Ping-Rhodes Fellowship.

The award and recognition, given at the close of a student's high school career, provides an opportunity to further nurture the student's personally demonstrated characteristics of leadership, ethics, citizenship, and integrity in an environment conducive to personal and intellectual growth.

Each Cutler Scholars award is privately funded by individuals and organizations who share in the ideal of identifying young men and women with uncommon intellect, maturity, and leadership potential.

The Mission

The increasing complexity of our society dictates a need for highly effective leaders. Government, education, and the private sector require leaders with vision and who have expectations for exemplary performance and achievement. These individuals, who can envision an ideal and enable and energize those around them to achieve it, are referred to as "transformational leaders."

Preparation of this new generation of leaders will require a broad-based education that develops:

  • an understanding of natural, political, and economic systems; of technologies and their development; of different cultures and the values of diversity; and of moral judgments and human development.
  • an ability to develop balanced views of the future; to develop alternate scenarios of a world that might be; to recognize opportunities to initiate change, and to take advantage of those opportunities.
  • the enthusiasm and commitment to involve others as well as the capacity to communicate a vision and motivate others to act to achieve it.