Thursday, Apr 19, 2018

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Ohio Fellows Program alumni. 1st Row, l-r, Bill Saviers, Ro Fallon, Vern Alden, Lynne McCalla, Terry Moore, Ralph Haberfeld. 2nd Row, Brian Riordan, Kerry McCalla and Mike Major.

Photo courtesy of: University Advancement

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Ohio welcomes back 60s-era program for students born to lead

Ohio Fellows Program alumni fund enriching opportunity as part of OHIO’s The Promise Lives Campaign

A group of Ohio University alumni with a strong connection to Vernon Alden, the University’s 15th president, have made a gift of $365,000 toward the revitalization of a 1960s-era project called the Ohio Fellows Program (OFP) that Alden helped to develop at Ohio University.

The program selected about a dozen students in each class who were identified as people who had the potential to become significant contributors to their chosen profession, discipline or art. The program provided these students with forums for discussion, encouraged diverse thinking and gave them access to important internship positions and visits with high profile campus visitors.

Ohio Fellow Terry Moore and five other Fellows--Robert (Ro) Fallon, Ralph Haberfeld, Bill Saviers and Kerry and Lynne McCalla-- banded together to discuss how OHIO students today could benefit from a similar program. Seeing a viable climate for a re-launch of the program, they decided to fund and support it as part of the University’s The Promise Lives Campaign.

"There are students at Ohio University today who are going to become important contributors to our culture. We need to find them and help them spread their wings. We need to encourage them to think outside the box and to become leaders in their fields," Moore said. "The 21st century version of the Ohio Fellow Program will create a platform for select students to do just that in a purposeful and influential way."

Moore left after his junior year to attend the graduate business school at Harvard, but returned to finish his bachelor’s in general studies degree in 1991. After a successful career in management consulting, Moore is now the executive director of Radius Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that fosters creative dialogue among different views through publications, conferences, projects, educational media and the Internet.

Vice President for University Advancement and President and CEO of the Ohio University Foundation Bryan Benchoff said the gift exemplifies the influence alumni can have on OHIO students today.

"This gift represents the kind of institution Ohio University is: a place where alumni are so passionate about their experience as OHIO students, they collaborate and give back so today’s students can have the same kind of meaningful experience they did," he said.

The legacy of the Ohio Fellows Program has been kept alive over the years by several Fellows and by the leadership at Alden Library. University Libraries has been the gathering spot for several Fellows’ meetings at OHIO over the years, said Dean of University Libraries Scott Seaman.

"We have organized four weekend seminars with the Fellows since 2002 where we discussed things like generational differences in students and the emergence of social media," said Seaman. "The Fellows are still such active learners, and the library is a natural partner in their intellectual pursuits. It was natural that when there was an interest in re-starting the program that those discussions started here."

University College will work with University Libraries to administer the newly re-vamped Ohio Fellows Program. Dean of University College David Descutner and the new Ohio Fellows Program Director Greg Lester are working to determine the scope and scale of a 21st century OFP, said Descutner. 

"I see the revitalized Ohio Fellows Program as a catalyst for self-discovery and relationship building for our students," said Descutner. "It will give them and their mentors a chance to connect deeply in an academic, co-curricular, and professional way."

The Promise Lives Campaign is Ohio University’s $450 million capital campaign that supports students, faculty, facilities, outreach and the student experience. The University had raised nearly $399 million toward its goal.

To learn more or to make a contribution to The Promise Lives Campaign for Ohio University, visit the website at www.ohio.edu/campaign.