Philanthropist Mort Mandel first endowed the College Scholars Program (CSP) in 1997 as a means of educating outstanding undergraduate students in leadership skills. The small group of students (about 20) in each cohort, along with close faculty mentoring, would work together in designing their own curriculum, bringing renowned speakers to the university, and working closely with the CWRU and Cleveland communities. Originally designed as a three-year program, the ability of students to interact in a living community played an important role in the program's earlier years. The Scholar's House (the Lockwood-Thompson house, located on top of the hill in the South Residential Village) was also an important asset in welcoming the many distinguished speakers that CSP brought to the university. Between 2005 and 2006, the program lost its house, was restructured from a three-year to a two-year program, and was placed under the newly formed SAGES administrative umbrella.
The speakers program was one of the most recognizable components of the College Scholars Program. In 2005, director Jonathan Sadowsky described the speaker series as "the only series on campus oriented towards undergraduates, and is distinctive in bringing in nationally known public intellectuals whose provocative ideas are of interest to a wide audience."
Speaker events were frequently covered and given high ratings in the school paper, The Observer. For students in CSP, it became a tradition to share a meal or private conversation as a group with each of these speakers. As a result, the College Scholars Program became frequent ambassadors for the university and many speakers have written back to CSP to thank the program for such memorable experiences. Generally these events would occur at the Scholar's House, however, after CSP lost the house, these meetings lost their intimacy and the university lost some ability to appropriately welcome such guests. Unfortunately, during the years of administrative change, the College Scholars Program began to lose funding. The number of CSP-sponsored speakers began to diminish and more co-sponsorships had to be sought.
In addition to the speaker series, alumni continually recognize the Scholar's House as one of their most memorable experiences at CWRU.
The house was not only a place for speakers to be invited, but also the literal home of the program. With students living together, the cohort of students would frequently bring class topics back to the house and continue discussions late into the night. The house also made it much easier to facilitate cooperative work on final projects, and the design of future classes. The Scholar's House had such a profound impact on many of the students that they created a publication by the same name during the Spring of 2005. This publication can be viewed here.
The impact of the College Scholars Program on Case Western cannot be denied. As part of the 2004 annual report, director Jonathan Sadowsky described Kurt Vonnegut's visit as one of three best-attended speaker events of the previous decade, only surpassed by CSP's inaugural speaker, Cornel West and Stephen Hawking's visit earlier in the year. He also stated that "The College Scholars Program helped to pioneer service learning at Case." Alumnus Rachel Pope valued her time in the program so much that after meeting with other program alumni at an AMSA conference, they agreed that "although we're all still heavily in debt from medical school, if we ever give money to Case, it would only be for the scholars program." CSP and its students have also been profiled a number of times by CWRU publications. These can be viewed here:
Observer article on Ralph Nader's visit - April 14, 2000
Explorations article about CSP final projects - Summer 2003
The Scholar's House Publication - Spring 2005
Senior Project Works-in-Progress Brochure - 2006
Case Magazine article on CSP - Spring 2006
News Release about James Carlsons' final project - May 3, 2006
Observer article about CSP - February 16, 2007
The following collection of year-end reports can be viewed in pdf format:
Fall 2009 Highlights
2010 Winter Term