By Monica Chapman
A program designed to cultivate leaders within the Ohio University student body is coming full circle.
Graduates of the prestigious Ohio Fellows Program will be reconvening on the Athens campus Sept. 18-20. The reunion features a daylong leadership symposium on Sept. 19, during which Ohio Fellows will share insights and expertise with the university's current crop of Appalachian, Cutler, Urban and Templeton scholars. The symposium is just one of many events planned to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Alden Library.
"We're all through with our careers and want to go back and put some perspective on it for people who are just starting out. That's what a university is for ... These kinds of programs are what made the Ohio Fellows Program so successful," said Robert Fallon, a former fellow and retired CEO of Korea Exchange Bank.
Fallon is among more than 100 graduates of the Ohio Fellows Program, which ran from 1964 to 1970, during former President Vernon Alden's tenure. Built on the premise that many students with real potential are not able to fully express their capabilities in a normal college setting, the program offered interaction and internship opportunities with recognized leaders in society, resources for individual development, and counseling opportunities with faculty advisers, among other benefits.
Approximately 15 students from a range of disciplines were selected as Ohio Fellows each year during the program's existence. Selection was based upon strong potential for leadership and the ability to make significant contributions within their chosen field. To read more about the program, its mission and history, visit www.ohiofellows.net/.
"It was their diversity and their passion -- that's what characterized the fellows and that's what made it such an interesting experience," said Terry Moore, a former fellow who currently serves as executive director of The Radius Foundation Inc.
"The program was such an amazing possibility and really made the time spent in Athens very, very special,'' Moore said. "It provided opportunities to be with really extraordinary individuals and participate in extraordinary experiences all designed to help participants cope with who they are and who they want to be."
Through the Ohio Fellows Program, participants had opportunities to hold round-table meetings with leaders from all walks of life, from world religions scholar Huston Smith to then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
Director of Development for University Libraries Douglas Partusch said he is hopeful that speakers at the Ohio Fellows Leadership Symposium will inspire "thought-provoking and intergenerational" dialogue between the former and current OHIO scholars.
Ohio University alumni Chuck Underwood, founder and president of Generational Imperative, and Jason Weaver, founder and CEO of Sway Inc. and Shoutlet, will address symposium attendees. The speakers will be followed by group discussions between the current OHIO scholars and the Ohio Fellows.
"The fellows program was all about identifying students with leadership abilities and providing the resources to develop their potential,'' said Scott Seaman, dean of the Ohio Universities Libraries. "It was that thoughtful challenging to achieve and subsequent mentoring that I think the fellows group shares with OHIO's current scholars programs."
"Back in the 1960s, the fellows had the opportunity to meet and talk to a special group of national leaders. Today, the fellows themselves represent those leaders," he continued. "I think that giving the groups the opportunity to interact will provide an experience of intellectual growth that will be beneficial to all involved."
The 2009 Ohio Fellows Reunion will take place Sept. 18-20 at the Vernon R. Alden Library on Ohio University's Athens campus. In addition to the leadership symposium, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a brunch on Sept. 20 with President Roderick J. McDavis. The event also will feature a rededication of the Albatross and a reception for the opening of the Yao Ceremonial Artifacts Collection.
For more information or to register for the reunion, visit www.ohioalumni.org/alden40.