History of the Ohio Fellows Program

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Video interview with Dr. Alden

The Ohio Fellows Program: A History
by Abigail Tardiff

There, nestled in the middle of a rather ordinary university, sat the most radical educational program ever conceived: a program based on a single question: How do you identify young people of extraordinary talents, and prevent a four-year traditional college from turning them into conformists who aim low and think small, who never learn to trust their own gifts, who never dare great things, who never take great risks, and who never become all that they could?

                                                                                                Lynn Shostack1


The Ohio Fellows Program, originally known as The Ohio Plan, was a short-lived project at Ohio University, in existence only from 1964 to 1970, but its effects are disproportionately lasting and extensive. The genius of the Program’s designers and directors consisted of both a recognition of what traditional education is lacking, and the creation of a methodology for filling that void. The result was a radically new contribution to our understanding of education. The founders’ insights into the goals and means of fostering leadership in talented students are still vital today.


The Goals of the Ohio Fellows Program


It was John Gardner whose identification of the deep-seated problems in traditional university education inspired the Program’s founders to find non-traditional solutions. Gardner said that contemporary higher education tends to produce not leaders, but experts and professionals2 who are proficient only at “tending the machinery of that part of society to which they belong.”3


Such professionals are lacking in true leadership, because true leadership is action-oriented. The goal of the Ohio Fellows Program was not merely to give students the knowledge or even experience they needed to become leaders; it was to encourage them to take responsibility for “managing the lives and activities of others.” Leadership consists of more than keeping society’s machinery running; it consists of “pursuing a vision of what the total society needs.”4 Leadership means assessing the suitability of the very design of the machinery, and taking on the task of remaking it.


What was missing in traditional university education was, in a word, action. And the prerequisite for action is the assumption of responsibility. “Before I came to Ohio,” says Dr. Vernon Alden, President of Ohio University during the founding of the Program, “my impression was that at many state-assisted universities, students were moving in lock-step through required, often unimaginative curricula.”5 Lynn Shostack, assistant to J. Leslie Rollins and director of the Program during the 1968-69 academic year, explains that traditional four-year college programs are about conforming and getting good grades;  students who are extraordinarily gifted are almost always, by their very giftedness, people who do not fit in with the groups around them—they are “outside the boundaries.”6 If the goal of traditional education is to make such students conform to the systems that are already in place, but what society actually needs is leaders who will not merely “tend the machinery,” but take on the responsibility of redesigning it—then traditional education systematically destroys the very abilities that leaders need.


It is this systematic destruction of ability that Gardner refers to, in his seminal essay, as the “anti-leadership vaccine.”7 Fifteen years later, in his book On Leadership, Gardner summed up the problem:


If, despite all the discouragements, a spark of enthusiasm for leadership is ignited in any of our young people, our educational system may well snuff it out... [T]he education system—not necessarily with conscious intent—persuades the young person that what society needs are experts and professionals, not leaders. Thomas Jefferson envisaged an aristocracy of talent, but most of today’s aristocrats of talent feel no responsibility to lead or to help develop leaders...”8


Gardner’s essential focus is on responsibility; and for this reason, the Program was designed to emphasize not only the passive acquisition of theories and knowledge, but especially a first-hand experience in decision-making and the carrying out of decisions once they are made.


The Program, then, was designed as “a means of nurturing future leaders.”9 A complete statement of the unifying purpose of the Program is found in an early unpublished document dated July 5, 1965: “Questions and Answers about the Ohio Plan”:


The final cause, the hoped-for end of the Program is a generation of responsible socially-concerned people of high ability and promise who will not only achieve positions of leadership in society, but also wherever they serve, be aware of and devote substantial energy to the solving of the basic social and human problems which are so deeply a part of our society as it now is. More than any other, this is the theme which holds the Program together.10


Because the designers of the Program recognized the need for leadership in all areas, and not just in the public forum, the Fellows were chosen from all fields of study. There were, for example, artists and pre-medical students, as well as students who hoped to enter business or politics. The point of the Program was to push the Fellows towards excellence, and, ultimately, leadership in whatever field they chose. The letter of acceptance into the Program explains: "Our major concern from this point forward is to make available to you a series of educational experiences designed to assist you in
developing your own interests and abilities." [emphasis added]11 And because the Fellows were chosen from across the curriculum, the group they formed was all the more diverse, which furthered the Program’s end of increasing their awareness of human problems in all areas.



Identifying leadership talent


As one reads early statements of the Ohio Plan’s purpose and also later reflections on how the Program was carried out, one notices a consistent emphasis on two principles that might easily threaten to occlude each other: first, that leadership is an innate talent that must be identified; but that at the same time, there is a methodology to teaching leadership. There is no contradiction between these two principles, but it is to the founders’ credit that they were able to insist on the simultaneous preservation of both. A talent for leadership may be inborn, but if it is not nurtured—provided with the proper “high powered plant food,” in the words of one Fellow12—it will be inoculated into dormancy. Leadership ability is both inborn and teachable. The feeding and developing of talent is not to be left to chance; a very specific methodology is to be put into action.


The designers of the Program grasped the magnitude of the first half of their project, the identification of those students who were especially gifted with leadership ability. This job of seeking out students with leadership potential is always emphasized in descriptions of the Program—one always finds the two goals, identification of talent and nurturing of talent, stated together. The Program was “...designed to identify young leaders and provide them with experiences in business, problem-solving, art, urban life, and responsibility”;13 its point was “...to identify those unusual individuals who...will make a difference in the world and to provide them with the right kind of high-powered plant food to seize the imagination”;14 its “major goal...is to seek out and help to educate young people who are willing and able to assume major responsibility in public affairs.”15 [all emphases added]


“If there is a young Albert Einstein or Robert Frost on campus and we can’t find them and help them, then we will have failed,” proclaims the original description of the Ohio Plan.16 J. Leslie Rollins, a retired assistant dean of Harvard Business School, was recruited by President Vernon Alden to help select the first class of Fellows. His great genius, says Terry Moore, who himself participated in the Program as both a student and a director, was to recognize that students who were right for the Ohio Plan would not necessarily identify themselves, for the Ohio Fellows Program was not an academic honors program, designed for students who distinguish themselves by their good grades. The founders were looking precisely for those students who could excel outside of the boundaries of academics. What they were looking for, says Moore, was passion.17


This kind of passion and talent is difficult to measure by the sort of quantifiable qualities that can be identified by, for example, scores on standardized tests. Terry Moore recalls that J. Leslie Rollins, who helped select the first class of Fellows, liked to talk in football analogies: What if you had a team, he would say, in which every player must weigh at least 250 pounds? That might be a way to guarantee a successful team—but it would exclude some great talent.18 What Rollins and his colleagues were trying to avoid was the adoption of narrow quantifiable criteria that may have succeeded in identifying students with abilities, but which would have disqualified some extraordinarily talented students. Rudolph Rousseau, class of 1968, says that the Program was especially looking for students from backgrounds which had not allowed them a wide variety of experiences that would help launch them into meaningful careers19—another group in danger of falling through the cracks in the traditional methods of identifying gifted students.


How does one go about identifying passion in university students? The initial application was submitted on paper, and consisted of essay and résumé questions. From these, 100 were chosen and sent to the steering committee, which chose 30. These 30 students were given a series of interviews, which formed the criteria for the final selection of the 15 students, out of an entering class of about 4500, to whom the opportunity to participate in the Program would be offered.


Since true leadership is about the making and implementation of decisions, the interview process used imaginary scenarios that required the student to make choices in difficult situations. Karen Buckley recalls that much of the selection process involved putting the candidates together in groups to see who stood out—who placed himself naturally in the role of leader.20 Dr. Rollins also used Harvard Business School interview techniques, says Lynn Shostack, who directed the Program during the 1968-69 academic year: one technique was the “stress interview,” in which the candidate would be ushered into an office, and left there while the interviewer went about his work, completely ignoring the candidate. Then the interviewer would simply “wait to see what you would do.”21 Facing this kind of challenge requires much more than the ability to achieve good grades by successfully absorbing and processing information; it requires the ability to take control of a situation instead of merely reacting to it. It is a test that shows whether a student is merely able to tend the existing machinery, or whether he is able to put new plans into action.


Because the method of the Program was to train leaders by giving them practical experience in leadership, the Ohio Fellows were always involved in the running of the Program. In the later years, it was the current Fellows who were given the responsibility for identifying the next year’s incoming Fellows. The original system of paper applications followed by interviews was not always followed—the directors of the program apparently felt free to by-pass the process when they had identified a student with leadership talent, and, perhaps, the necessary passion. Rudolph Rousseau remembers being called mysteriously, during the spring of his freshman year, for an interview with Dr. Chandler, the Program’s director at the time, after which he was simply informed that he had been accepted into the Program. Other Fellows were brought into the Program at the recommendation of current Fellows; and still others were never officially part of the Program, but benefited from the same mentorship and opportunities as the Fellows did.22


Mixing “learning and theory with responsibility and experience”23


Once the students with the ability and passion for leadership were identified, the project was to cultivate these talents by adding new dimensions to their education. When Dr. Vernon Alden became the president of Ohio University in 1961, one of his main goals was to “provide special opportunities for unusually gifted students.”24 These “special opportunities” were experiences that transcended the traditional classroom lecture: one of the founding principles was that “the non-academic experience of the students participating in the Ohio Plan is at least equal in importance to the academic experience.”25 These non-academic educational experiences, explains John Chandler in a letter inviting students to enter the Program, are designed with a view to preparing the students especially for “service in the area of public affairs.”26


An undated and unattributed description of the Ohio Fellows Program gives an overview of the Program’s methodology:


The Ohio Fellows Program is in a sense a super-catalyst. Its components are (1) people who have potential for becoming extraordinary human beings (2) the advantages of an intensified educational experience centering on exposure to people and ideas, exploration of the self, and opportunities to use one’s knowledge in an actual way. When these factors mesh, the whole result is vastly greater than the sum of the parts.27


Throughout all the plans and descriptions for the Program’s methods for training leaders, we see an emphasis on these two components: the exposure of the Fellows to new ideas, and the opportunity to put these ideas into practice immediately—not just in some future career. The unifying principle of the Program is that the students are to be given “concrete opportunities to mix learning and theory with responsibility and experience.” The point is not merely to help the students understand the problems of leadership; it is always to help them experience these problems. The Program was built on the conviction that “...one learns to lead by leading.” For this reason, Fellows are “...encouraged to take responsibility now for actions and programs of significance to the University community and to the community at large.”28 We will see later how some of the Fellows took this challenge to heart.


One of the problems the Ohio Fellows Program was designed to rectify, though not mentioned explicitly in any of the official O.F.P. documents, was the simple fact that Ohio University was a large school. The entering freshman class at the time of the founding of the Program consisted of 4,500 students. If the students who were identified as having special talents and passion for leadership were to have access not only to ideas, but also to people and experiences that would cultivate their potential, they needed to be a part of a smaller world within such a large institution. Dr. Alden refers to the Ohio Fellows Program as “a small microcosm within the traditional larger university.”29 And so it was.


Access to great minds


The key to creating such a microcosm was giving the Fellows access to great thinkers and leaders. This was done in two ways: the students were given mentors among the faculty and administrators of the university; and special well-known speakers from many fields were brought to campus to meet privately with the Fellows. Students on a traditional college campus may have access to many great minds among their professors, but all of these great minds are the minds of academics; and talented people do not all become academics. The Program intended to supply students with role-models and advisors from outside of academia.


 “What was interesting,” says Steven McCafferty, summing up his experience as an Ohio Fellow, “was the access.” The students were given time to spend with the special speakers who were invited to the campus. McCafferty remembers being sent to the airport to pick up Norman Jewison and being invited to dinner at President Alden’s house with Robert Penn Warren.30 Michael McConnell uses the same word, “access,” to capture his experience as an Ohio Fellow, remembering especially his opportunities to spend time with Dr. Alden. “The Ohio Fellows was the group that the president would go to when a distinguished lecturer was on campus.” In this capacity, the Fellows served simultaneously as “...an outreach tool for the University.”31 This double emphasis on learning and acting was typical of the Program.


Commenting on this on-going and frequent access to great minds, Michael McConnell says, “What [the] experience did more than anything else was it gave you a kind of confidence...to meet powerful people and find out they’re just people.”32 This confidence is a great help in resisting being intimidated at a job interview, for example. “When you have an extraordinarily gifted person,” explains Lynn Shostack, “you need to get them onto a bigger stage...you need to expose them to things that may be only mythological in their mind.”  As an Ohio Fellow, a student was “given any impetus to believe that people of great accomplishment were people like you”—not “of a whole different nature.” This conviction would not only serve to free a student from intimidation, but it would assure him that he was capable of achievements as great as those of the famous speakers who visited the Ohio University campus. It was made clear to the Fellows that the top people in any field “had built their reputation...by doing what they were passionate about and not swerving.”33 The way to greatness was thereby mapped out for the Fellows.


Speakers brought to campus to meet with the Fellows included:


Joseph Fletcher, theologian

William Verity, Jr., President of Armco Steel

Dr. George Von Petterfy, Department of State

Paul Goodman, social critic

Rod Serling, screenwriter

Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense and later president of the World Bank

Bill George, Director of Corporate Planning for Litton Industries

Charles Percy, Senator from Illinois34

Dean Rusk, Secretary of State

Norman Jewison, film director

Lee Iacocca,35 chairman of the Chrysler Corporation

Dwight D. Eisenhower, former President of the United States

Wayne Morse, Senator from Oregon

Wayne Hayes, Senator from Ohio

Robert Taft, Senator from Ohio

Charles Percy, Senator from Illinois

Harry Bridges, labor leader36

Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Ambassador to South Vietnam

Pearl S. Buck,37 author, Nobel laureate

Donald K. David, Harvard Business School Professor

Huston Smith,38 world religions scholar

Ann Landers

Margaret Mead

Senator Ted Kennedy

Cleveland Mayor Stokes

Arnold Toynbee39

Justice Tom Clark, U.S. Supreme Court40




A crucial component of the Ohio Fellows Program was not only access to successful leaders on special occasions, but continuing mentorship on campus: the Fellows were to be offered “intensive individual counseling.”41 As with many aspects of the Program, the source of the success of this component was the personal connections that the faculty advisors forged with the individual students, because the advisor’s job was to inspire the students, and such inspiration called for a personal element. These personal connections were formed not only through formal counseling sessions, but also informally. Fellows remember intense and frequent no-holds-barred debates with the faculty in the Chubb House (now the Crewson House), where the O.F.P. seminars took place, and which  the Fellows were free to use at any time—some Fellows were even given their own keys. Chubb House was the center of Ohio Fellows activities, and students, advisors, and faculty members would drop in throughout the day; and sometimes their spontaneous conversations would last well into the night.42 One advisor whom the Fellows remember especially for his power to inspire was Ed Whan, an English professor who served as faculty advisor to the Fellows, and who also helped found and run the Honors College.


One of the most involved directors and advisors was J. Leslie Rollins, a retired assistant dean from the Harvard Business School. Dr. Alden recruited him, along with Robert Greenleaf, to select the first class of Fellows, and he served as volunteer coordinator of the Program. Alden describes his contribution: “He was skilled at identifying young people who had potential for leadership. He then spent time coaching them, needling them, and inspiring them to ‘play above their heads.’”43


Several of the Fellows testify that Dr. Rollins kept in touch with them even after they had left Ohio University, always challenging them to aim higher. Terry Moore says that the great quality of Dr. Rollins was that he was able to accept people exactly as they were, while at the same time always insisting that what they were accomplishing was not enough.44 There are many stories of students’ encounters with Rollins that shocked them out of what would have seemed a justifiable complacency.


Craig Strafford remembers: “[A]t the end of the program I met with him...he said... ‘What are you going to do?’” Strafford told him he was entering medical school. “If you really want to do something effective with your life, come talk to me,” was Rollins’ reply. Strafford remembers being taken aback by this response—a career in medicine is certainly something that most people would consider “doing something effective” with one’s life. But Rollins’ reaction makes sense in the context of the ideals of the Ohio Fellows Program, because the Program was about not merely skill, but leadership. Strafford did become a physician as he had planned, but he then went on to become president of a major clinic, working in “the bigger picture of healthcare delivery”45—a position of remaking the machinery of healthcare, and not only tending it.


Thomas Hodson remembers that Dean Rollins “seemed to have a...psychological profile of everyone in his head,” and it was this profile that allowed Rollins to figure out what each Fellow could achieve. He judged their accomplishments, therefore, not according to a generic standard of success, but according to his assessment of each Fellow’s potential.

Thomas Hodson became the youngest elected judge in his state. He received a phone call from Dr. Rollins, in which Rollins congratulated him; but it was clear to Hodson that the real point of the call was Rollins’ challenge: “Well, what are you going to do next?”46 The one thing Rollins could not stand, explains Terry Moore, was self-satisfaction.47


Terry Moore adds to Hodson’s story that while Hodson was a student at Ohio University, there were bad relations between the campus and the town of Athens, and that whenever a legal dispute between them arose, the current judge would rule in favor of the town. When Hodson was elected, it was this very judge—a long-time incumbent—whom he deposed.48 I can think of no better example of redesigning, instead of merely tending, the machinery of society.


Terry Moore tells a story about a fellow Fellow that deserves to be reproduced here in full, because it shows Les Rollins’ intense involvement with the students, and his style of mentorship, which always involved a very personal interaction with the student he was mentoring. It also shows that the Program’s emphasis on responsibility and action in leadership—and all of that in the here-an- now, and not in some “real life” in the future—was not lost on the students.


Caroline Kane was brilliant and very much a free spirit. [Caroline] loved microbiology and rock-n-roll music...Caroline was also, so far as I know, the only Ohio Fellow to take membership in the Ohio University Marching Coed Cadets, the U.S. Army’s women’s marching and drill team. That was an activity that Les Rollins never quite understood.


One day I was in the office with Les when Caroline came in for something. She was wearing her drill uniform. That was sufficient provocation for Les to start asking her a series of sharp questions which, in short time, led to him saying things like: “How can you possibly do anything so trivial and meaningless...You can’t learn anything doing that...Don’t you realize how silly that will look on your resume”...etc., etc., etc.


After about five minutes of such vituperation, Caroline very calmly said, “I like to march.”


I had never seen Les Rollins at a loss for words before. His mouth moved [but] no words came out. He struggled for a moment and eventually said something like, “Well, ...you go march.”


Caroline went off to march, but the encounter still had hold of Les. I could see him continuing to try to process things. Finally, after about twenty minutes, he said to me, “Moore.” (He always called me ‘Moore’) “You know, Moore...some people have The Ohio Plan...other people have their own plans!”


Forward to 1998...


Now here is an excerpt from a news article: “At a noontime ceremony at the White House, President Bill Clinton honored eight exceptional women in education. Accepting the award from U. C. Berkeley was Caroline Kane.”49


The article goes on to explain how Caroline started a mentorship program, found some unusual students, and got spectacular results. The description of the mentoring program, the student’s story and the student’s comments about what that program did for her and meant to her are extremely reminiscent of the Ohio Fellows.


Where did Caroline Kane learn about mentorship? The answer is obvious.50


Mentoring a student towards leadership is a delicate task, because on the one hand, the mentor must hold a position of influence over the student; but if the whole point is for the student to assume true leadership, he must accept responsibility for his own decisions, and not merely accept advice blindly. This balance requires a relationship of respect between the mentor and the student, a respect that flows in both directions. Kane’s response to Rollins, and his reaction to her response, show all of these dynamics in action—dynamics that can only spring from a mentor-student relationship that is personal.


The on-going and personal relationship fostered between the students and their mentors was a very effective means of teaching leadership. The Fellows learned not to be intimidated into silence and inaction by people who hold positions of power. The constant emphasis on taking responsibility in the present—in not allowing their training to be merely an academic experience that would be put into practice only sometime in the future—led the Fellows to become involved in the running of the University itself. Strafford tells a story that typifies this leadership training put into action. During the late 60s, because of the unusually large number of baby-boomer students living on campus, there was a severe problem with overcrowding in the dormitories. Several of the Fellows went to the dean to ask for a solution similar to one that was given to men in the Honors College: a special dormitory space set aside for them. The dean met with them and told them to construct a plan. When they had accomplished this task, they presented it to the dean, who immediately rejected the plan—he explained that he needed the Fellows to remain interspersed with the other students, to help keep order in the dormitories. The Fellows were indignant: if the creation of an Ohio Fellows dormitory had been out of the question from the beginning, why had he not told them so from the start, instead of leading them to believe that their plan would be considered? He replied, according to Strafford, that he had not expected the students to succeed in organizing a plan.51


The dean failed to understand what he was up against: these were students whose training was not limited to the making of decisions; the Program always insisted on the criticality of taking responsibility for the implementation of the decisions once they were made. The dean’s assumption that these students would have the typical weakness in follow-through could not have been more mistaken. Craig Strafford also speaks of the labor dispute his junior year (1967) and remembers observing the administration’s ineffective handling of the problem. As an Ohio Fellow, he had a heightened consciousness of leadership in action around him.52


Other elements of the Program


One of the original purposes Dr. Alden had in mind in forming the Ohio Fellows was to give gifted students more freedom in designing their own curriculum. “I wanted to eliminate requirements for them so that they could pick and choose the courses that would be better suited to what they wanted to do,” explains Alden.53 Not only were the Fellows given more flexibility in choosing what courses they would take, they were also given the privilege of actually designing them—they were offered the opportunity to take an active role even in the strictly academic part of their education. Rebecca Felt Bickel recalls that if even two or three Fellows got together and requested a course, they would not be turned down; the professor would teach it just for them.54


The Ohio Fellows Program also offered the students the opportunity to design and propose individual projects, so that they could gain experience in the implementing of decisions. “We helped the students with books, art materials, and travel funds,” remembers Dr. Alden.55 Michael McConnell wanted to build a sculpture in front of the new Alden library. Lynn Shostack, J. Leslie Rollins’ assistant and director of the Program that year, arranged through Armco Steel for a ton of steel to be delivered, along with cutting-torches, welding equipment, and other materials that McConnell needed.56 The sculpture, Albatross, still stands in front of the Vernon R. Alden Library today. Obviously, such a project was a tremendous undertaking for an undergraduate student, and it must have taken a leap of faith for the Program and the University to allow him to attempt it.


Steven McCafferty and another Fellow wanted to make a hologram. The University bought the laser they needed and gave them laboratory space. When they were not able to make it work, they were put in contact with a professor at Harvard to help them trouble-shoot. He suggested that the problem was the forced-hot-air heating system, which was creating too much vibration. The students moved their laboratory to the basement of the residence of Ken Blanchard, the current faculty advisor of the Program, where they succeeded in creating their hologram.57


These projects show how doors were opened and obstacles removed for the Fellows, so that they could have experiences that went far beyond the scope of those of a typical college student. Other projects that the Fellows worked on were:


—The Student College of Athens: “Student-oriented and administered,” offering special seminars and lectureships.

—a local anti-poverty corps

—an “alternative proposal for the next complex of dormitories to be built”

—a student youth hostel

—the proposed founding of a Phillips Brooks house on campus58


The Fellows were taken on extensive field trips, most memorably one to Boston, so that they could see leadership on a large scale in action. They were taken on tours of the Boston Museum of Art, The Symphony Orchestra, the Harvard Business School, the Boston Globe, Filene’s, Roxbury, Warren Equities, the Ritz, and the Mayor’s office.59 Other trips to Washington, D.C. and to Chicago were arranged, for the purpose of exposing the students to “all levels of activities in the city and to meet people who run these various segments of city life.”60 Rudolph Rousseau remembers being in the White House with the Fellows on the same day that Lyndon B. Johnson announced his intention not to run for President. 61


The Fellows were chosen from all areas of study, and they never shared a common dormitory. What unified them the most must have been the seminars that they shared, which took place at the Chubb House. Rudolph Rousseau stresses the importance of this association between the Fellows: the group was interesting, he says, not only because its members were so smart, but because they were so diverse.62 One could consider this component of the Program part of the designers’ strategy to give the students access to interesting minds, and Dr. Alden indeed considered Ohio Fellows membership to be part of the mentorship aspect of the Program: “The students, by being part of the group, were really mentoring each other,” he recalls, and the seminars and discussion groups in which they participated were “just as important as the courses they were taking.” This is because, Alden says, in order to develop leadership ability, it is not enough to passively listen to lectures; “in order to develop a leader, you really have to have participation. The person has to involve himself.”63


Again, the students were never allowed to forget that leadership is not merely about the power to make decisions, but also involves the assumption of the responsibility for carrying them out. “One of the important guiding notions of the seminars is that goal-setting without thought of implementation is at worst, dangerous, and at best, fruitless. Leaders must, after all, be action-oriented.” These seminars were to be on “major public issues, domestic and international,”64 and the topics of some early offerings included:


—career development

—structure of societies


—computers and decision-making

—analysis of political and social theory

—effects of technology on the structures of society

—ethics of decision-making65


The last major component to the Program was the opportunity of summer internships for the students. “Rollins and Greenleaf arranged internships in the summertime with corporate executives, government officials, or administrators in nonprofit institutions, so that the fellows would have an opportunity to work with people in the real world and learn something about what their jobs were like.”66 The logic of this component is readily apparent—the Program was always trying to build a bridge between academic education and the “real world.” “I wanted them to see how senior executives, whether they were in government or in business...operated, so they could pattern their potential leadership careers after them,” explains Dr. Alden.67 One of the brochures printed to explain the program to prospective participants sums up the purpose of these internships: “The individually designed internships provide an unusual opportunity for direct observation and personal experience. It is hoped that the Ohio Fellows will emerge with a realistic estimate of the limitations and major possibilities of organizational responsibilities—the habit of analytical thought and disciplined goal-setting.”68


Not all the Fellows availed themselves of the opportunity to complete internships, but the ones who did had memorable experiences. Thomas Hodson says he did several internships: he worked in the public relations department of the Mead Corporation, and for the National Chamber of Commerce.69 Terry Moore, while he was still a student, was given the task of running the Ohio Fellows Program itself during its last active year, 1969-1970. Rudolph Rousseau was offered an internship with the Department of State in the summer of 1967, where he worked in the office of the Secretary of State. He remembers this experience as being extremely important in shaping his future career. After graduation, he was accepted at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.70 Janice Scites, class of 1971, remembers with gratitude the internships that Rollins helped to arrange for her. She worked as a summer intern in then-Congressman Riegel’s office, followed by a position that fall in the Library of Congress. Later she was a summer legislative intern for the state of Ohio. But in spite of the significance of these opportunities, Scites says that the most important part of her experience as an Ohio Fellow was the people. She remembers especially the political debates in the Chubb House, and the direction of the professors who were involved with the Fellows, in training her to think analytically, a skill she has used ever since. Scites and another Fellow remember that one of Les Rollins’ methods of teaching analytic thinking applied to decision-making was a series of discussion exercises in the context of a war game. “You are the future leaders,” he would tell them, and stress the importance of their ability to understand moral dilemmas and how to address them.71


The final element of the Program, also carried out in an individual and very personal way, was the launching of the graduating student into a career or graduate school. Here again, the directors and founders of the program used their personal connections to find places where the Fellows could put their training into practice.


Designers, directors, and associates: Vernon Alden


Vernon R. Alden, Ohio University’s 15th president, presided over the entire span of the Ohio Fellows Program. He came to Ohio in 1961 from the Harvard Business School, where he had been associate dean. It was he who recruited Robert Greenleaf to design the Ohio Fellows Program, referred to at the time as “The Ohio Plan,” and J. Leslie Rollins to direct it and select the first class of Fellows. Alden obtained funding for the Program from the Richard King Mellon Charitable Trust of Pittsburgh72 and from Mead Corporations.73


Alden led the University through notoriously tempestuous times. There were student protests over crowding, women’s hours, parietal rules, and the prohibition of alcohol on campus, and there were labor problems and strikes by non-academic campus workers74—and all of this against the background of the war in Vietnam. Student protests came to a head on May 19, 1968, when the students had been anticipating a strike by campus workers, similar to one the previous spring that had extended their spring break by two weeks.75 When the strike was headed off, a crowd of about 1000 students went from protest to riot. Alden and his wife and children ended up “huddled in the safety of our second-floor hallway while bolts and bricks crashed through our front windows.”76 Alden reflects,


            I was deeply hurt by the assault upon our family by the rock-throwing students...I found myself the target of a vicious attack by a small cadre of student leaders and the editors of the student newspaper, who felt that the university was not changing rapidly enough.77


Alden resigned his position as president in September of 1968, saying “the University was at a turning point where future goals and priorities might best be set by a new president.”78 He left the University in 1969 to become chairman of The Boston Company.


After Alden left the University, his successor did not continue the Ohio Fellows Program, and the funding from the Mellon Foundation and the Mead Corporation was transferred to the University of North Carolina, where J. Leslie Rollins helped to organize a program similar to the Ohio Fellows Program.79


Robert Greenleaf


Robert Greenleaf, brought to Ohio by Dr. Alden to work on Program, is credited as the designer of the original Ohio Plan.80 He had been head of personnel for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company,81 where he saw how important it was to groom the next generation of leaders.82 Greenleaf, who like Rollins worked for the Program as a volunteer,83 helped to select the first class of Fellows. It was Greenleaf who insisted that the true leader is a servant first, and he formed the Ohio Fellows Program around the principle that leadership is always to be a matter not of power, but of service. For the privileged to care for the less fortunate is not just a matter of charity, he told freshman applicants to the O.F.P. in 1967, but an obligation.84


The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.  Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.  He or she is sharply different from the person who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.85


Greenleaf died in 1990, but the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, which he founded in 1964, continues his mission of forming servant-leaders.


J. Leslie Rollins


It is fitting that Dr. Rollins’ role in the Program has already been described under the heading of “mentorship,” for he was the consummate mentor. He came to the Ohio campus in 1964 at the request of Dr. Alden, as a volunteer, and it was he, along with Robert Greenleaf, who selected the first class of Fellows from the entering freshman class: and this selection was only the beginning of his intense personal relationship with each of them. Frank Zammataro, never officially an Ohio Fellow but a beneficiary of Rollins’ mentorship, says that one of the roles of the mentor is to induce the students to “think early about what is going to happen to them later.”86 In this way, a student can choose experiences in the present that will better prepare him for a future position of leadership. But a student lacks the experience that is necessary to choose efficiently; an experienced mentor is thus a valuable guide. Rollins was constantly insisting that the students think about how their present actions would prepare them for the future, and challenging them to think of success in terms of leadership.


Rollins was able to use his many connections with leaders in the business world to arrange internships and jobs for the Fellows, and as the Fellows themselves obtained positions, he added them to his list of connections to be contacted for the sake of current Fellows.


John Chandler


John Chandler was the first official director of the Program, and he is remembered by the Fellows, along with Rollins and Alden himself, for his dedication to mentorship. Rousseau remembers on-going conversations with and guidance from Dr. Chandler,87 and others remember being identified by him as potential Fellows.  Chandler directed the Program for two years before leaving the University for the Danforth Foundation.


Michael Long


Michael Long directed the Program after the departure of John Chandler. He was a young graduate of Harvard, a part of the so-called “Upper Tupper” group,88  young administrators whom Alden and Rollins chose to serve as “mentors and models for the student body.”89 Alden says that before Long left Ohio to attend Harvard Business School, he “stepped up the internship program, because he felt that it was very important that people be exposed to real leaders, whether they were in government or business.” Alden especially remembers Long leading special seminars with the Fellows as well.90


Frank Zammataro91


One characteristic of the Ohio Fellows Program was its loose structure: Les Rollins’ and Vernon Alden’s mentorship extended past the formal boundaries of the Program. Frank Zammataro met Dr. Alden while working in his house as a busboy, and Alden introduced him to Rollins. After Zammataro graduated, he worked in the Ohio University admissions office, but Rollins continued to mentor him, even arranging an internship with the Ford Motor Company for him. Later, Zammataro served the Ohio Fellows Program in his capacity with the admissions office, by helping to identify talented high school students who could be recruited for both the University and the Fellows.


Lynn Shostack


Lynn Shostack had visited Ohio University in 1967, where she met Dr. Rollins and Dr. Alden. At the time, she was still an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati. She came to Ohio in the fall of 1968 as Dr. Alden’s assistant. Since she was never a student at Ohio University, Shostack was never officially a member of the Ohio Fellows; yet she was placed under the mentorship of Alden and Rollins, and groomed for leadership in a way similar to that offered to the Fellows. Her one year in Athens, she says, had a momentous effect on her life and her future business success.92


Shostack’s direct involvement with the Ohio Fellows was during the 1968-69 academic year, when Rollins had left the campus to travel in Europe, and Shostack was charged with overseeing the Program. As director of the Program and protégée of Alden and Rollins, Shostack understood the Program from the outside and the inside at the same time. “There was no fear involved in this program,” she says,93 because it was never about academic performance. The Program recognized that gifted people often don’t fit in with those around them, which gives them the idea that there’s something wrong with them. “Such people think they’re alone,” she explains, and the experience of the extraordinarily talented student is therefore often one of isolation. Such students “pay a penalty for having an extraordinary gift.” Shostack sees one of the Program’s accomplishments as rectifying this problem by exposing these students to others like them, across the curriculum. 


Shostack arranged and oversaw two of the most memorable projects of the Ohio Fellows Program: Michael McConnell’s sculpture, and the Fellows’ trip to Boston. She left Ohio in 1969 to attend the Harvard Business School.


Terry Moore


Terry Moore was an Ohio University student who was elected a Fellow his sophomore year. During his last year at Ohio, 1969-70, he ran the Program, under the advisorship of Ken Blanchard. Moore, too, credits the Program with having a lasting effect on his life. It provided him with “a number of seminal and life-altering experiences,”94 most notably the opportunity to meet Huston Smith. Moore was overseeing the Program in the spring of 1970, when because of the Kent State riots, the Ohio University campus in Athens closed weeks early. The campus was evacuated in the span of 24 hours, and the University did not reopen until the following fall. Exams and the graduation ceremony were cancelled. It was the closing of an era,95 and when the University reopened in the fall, it was with a new administration and new goals. The new president was not interested in continuing the Ohio Fellows Program.96 Moore had left to attend the Harvard Business School.


Perceptions of the Program


The Ohio Fellows Program was controversial from the beginning. It was perceived as elitist, which is a charge that has an inescapable validity: “it was an elitist program,” says Michael McConnell, “but not in a bad way.”97 The Program was designed to identify extraordinarily gifted students, and to give them remarkable privileges. In a letter to Robert Fallon, who organized a campaign to create the J. Leslie Rollins Multimedia Conference Room  in the Alden Library in 2002 to honor Rollins, T. Michael Long writes:


Because he also believed there were “special people” who could do particular good in the world because of their superior gifts of leadership and creativity, Les was sometimes accused of being an elitist. I believe nothing could be further from his real view, which is close to the biblical injunction that “from whom much is given, much is demanded.”98


Long’s observation echoes Robert Greenleaf’s insistence on leadership as service, and if the Program was elitist by virtue of selecting only a small number of the most talented students, it was never about honoring the students for their achievements; it was always—Les Rollins saw to this—about seeing that their talents for leadership were developed and put into action.


Terry Moore says that the perceived elitism had the effect of unifying the group, creating what Alden refers to as a “microcosm” in the university that inured the Fellows from the lock-step educational routine that would destroy their leadership talents. In a letter to Dr. Alden, Moore writes:


As you will remember, everyone hated us. The student body thought of us as a bunch of outrageous elitists (they were not entirely wrong); the faculty disliked the program as it seemed to be some sort of acknowledgement that the usual, formal, academic course of study was somehow ineffective or incomplete (they were right, too, but shame on them). Yet few people understood as well as you that these factors contributed to the success of the program. Because we functioned as a “fringe” group—somewhat unknown and underground—those factors provided much of the identity and cohesion that made the program work.99


Dr. Alden echoes Moore’s perception that the Program was sometimes regarded with suspicion:


[The OFP] was a revolutionary, risk-taking kind of program. I’m not sure many faculty members appreciated it because they may have felt that money was being taken away from possible salary increases or their departmental budgets, which was not true. It was funded by private money and run by volunteers.100


It must be acknowledged that the Program was, indeed, founded to redress a failure in university education: the brightest students, says Moore, were “not having their needs for stimulation and growth met in the university.”101




Although the Ohio Fellows Program operated for only six years, its effects are far-reaching. There are three programs at Ohio University today that carry on its influence: the Cutler Scholars Program, the Robe Leadership Institute, and the Business Fellows Program. In addition, the North Carolina Fellows Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a program of retreats, seminars, internships, summer reading, and leadership opportunities102it was under the advisorship of J. Leslie Rollins that the University of North Carolina began their Fellows Program, after Dr. Alden left Ohio. In addition, Vernon Alden says the vision of the Ohio Fellows Program lives on in the Center for Creative Leadership, founded in 1970 in North Carolina.103 Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio has a Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership center which runs the Sinclair Ohio Fellows Leadership Development Program.


But the greatest legacy of the Ohio Fellows Program is a hidden legacy, a “shadow of the Plan” that lives on in the lives of the Fellows themselves. Since mentorship was such a large aspect of the original Program, the Fellows were effectively trained to be mentors. Shostack says that it is easy to spot talent, and she has made it a point throughout her life to pass on what the Program did for her by mentoring whenever she sees potential.104 This hidden legacy of the Ohio Fellows Program multiplies its effects exponentially. Karen Buckley agrees. She says she has “always looked for talented people...given them the opportunity to excel...and given them credit for it.” When asked how much of this habit of mentorship she owes to her experience in the Program, she replies that the Program gave her additional insights into her innate disposition for mentorship,105 echoing the original Ohio Plan’s insistence that leadership is both an inborn and a learned talent.


Frank Zammataro seems to have slipped seamlessly from mentoree to mentor, from intern to arranger of internships. He says that after being at the receiving end of mentoring, he began to develop his own passion for mentorship—and this is a familiar pattern for the Ohio Fellows. Good mentorship seems to pass itself on naturally. More than thirty years after his graduation from Ohio University, Zammataro found himself involved with the University again with the executive advisory board of the College of business, and a steering committee which formed the Ohio University Business Fellows Program in 1997. Zammataro calls this program a “direct descendent” of the Ohio Fellows Program and the mentorship techniques of Les Rollins. “The whole idea,” says Zammataro, “is through exposure and intense counseling, we accelerate [the students’] experiences,” so as to “increase the intensity of their intention” to “seek leadership opportunities.” Zammataro’s methods for accomplishing this are a direct reflection of the Ohio Fellows Program: the students are given first of all intense personal attention and counseling, but also access to established leaders through small-group meetings; field trips to see business leadership in action; and, in the true spirit of Les Rollins, constant follow-up, even after they have left the University. Zammataro’s gratitude for Alden’s and Rollins’ intervention in his life and career has left him with a desire to immortalize Alden and Rollins by carrying on their work.106



Craig Strafford, reflecting on the enduring worth of the Program in his life, says, “When...you tended to be just a number, it gave you the ability to look at the bigger picture...there are methodologies and ways to do leadership. Leadership is not a genetic, inherited quality.”107


The Ohio Fellows Program was built on a carefully thought-out theory of education and designed by people who had the experience to know how a leader is trained. And although they strived to bring a methodology to this project of educating for leadership, the systems they put in place—even the obviously highly effective elements like the arranging of internships in business and government—always took second place to a method that does not lend itself so easily to systematization. This method was more than an educational technique: it was the personal interest the mentors took in the Fellows, and their example of passion that inspired them. I believe it is these characteristics of the Ohio Fellows Program, more than any others, that explain why so many of the Fellows credit such a short experience with having such a significant effect on their lives.


The Ohio Fellows108


Gemma Marangoni Ainslie

Deborah Slibeck Amundsen

Robert Anderson

Richard Apgar

Victor Betz

Rebecca Felt Bickel

Marilyn Mandrell Blethen

Frank Bordonaro

Sandra Levinson Brecher

Kenneth L. Brier

Karen Lloyd Buckley

Barbara Cary Burnham

Stephen Butterfield

Barbara Butz

Donald Capman, Jr.

Barbara Beck Carlson

Cathy Marks Carretero

Mary Lou Carrington

Dana Ciccone

Laura A. Connor

Wynne Cougill

Bruce Cryder

Arthur Dalton

Thomas Dalton

Lynne Slater Edward

Roger Engle

Randall Evans

Robert Fallon

John D. Filson

Joel Forrester

Diane Frank

Richard Fulks

Andrew Gianino

Margaret Gibelman

Catherine McClure Gildiner

Laura Snyder Gordon

Ralph Haberfeld

John Hanneken

David Harwood

Cary Hatton

Jeffrey Heckman

Robert Henrich

Philip Hightower

Thomas Hodson

Joseph Horrigan

Stefania Denbow Hubbard

Alan Huggins

Carol Strain Johnson

Caroline Kane

Keith Kerr

Robert Kolbe

Michael Kolesnik

Joan DiLeonardo Leotta

Alan Lepene

John Levin

Patricia Longsworth

Charles Love

Craig Love

George Major

Rodger Marting

Sandra Shaw Masterson

Patrick McCabe

Steven McCafferty

Kerry McCalla

Lynne Bell McCalla

Michael McConnell

Gregory McKenzie

Francoise Meltzer

Eric Miller

Gail Thomas Minneman

George Mitchell, Jr.

Steven Modell

Edward Molnar

Mary Montgomery
Terry Moore

Diane Morrison
Tom Muccio

Karen Neff

John Novak

Pamela Garn Nunn

Kathleen O’Donnell

Clement Pearce

Patricia Andorka Phillips

Joseph Popovich
John Porter

Thomas Price

William Pusack
Thomas Queisser

Craig Rader

John Reed

Brian Riordan

Rudolph Rousseau

Carl Sandberg

William Saviers

Michael Schott
Mary Schwendeman

Janice Scites

Charles Shera

David Shindeldecker

Lois Deutschberger Shingler

Robert Shulman

Marshall Spradling

David Stivison

Craig Strafford

Charles Townsend

Julia McBride Wagner

Todd Wetzel

Melvin Williams

Alicia Woodson

Robert Wuerth

Susan Leibensperger Wylie

Diane Yeager

Wayne Young

Pauline Young




[1] Lynn Shostack, letter to the Ohio Fellows at their November 2002 reunion, http://ohiofellows.net/files/Shostack_Reunion_Letter.htm (undated).

[2] John Gardner, On Leadership (Free Press, 1989), 160.

[3] John Gardner, “The Anti-Leadership Vaccine,” reprinted from the 1965 Annual Report, Carnegie Corporation of New York, quoted in “Proposal for the Establishment of a New Ohio Fellows Program,” unpublished, Ohio Fellows Program archives.

[4] “Background of the Ohio Plan,” unpublished, Ohio Fellows Program archives (about 1966).

[5] Elizabeth Alessio, “An Academic Experiment: 1960s-era Ohio Fellows Initiative Set Stage for Today’s  Honor Programs,” Ohio Today (fall 2000).

[6] Lynn Shostack, telephone interview with the author (July 11, 2005).

[7]  Gardner, “The Anti-Leadership Vaccine,” op. cit.

[8] Gardner, On Leadership, op. cit., 160.

[9] Robert Glidden, “The President’s Perspective: A One-of-a-Kind Place,” Ohio Today (fall 200).

[10] “Questions and Answers about the Ohio Plan,” authorship unknown, undated and unpublished, from a packet of “background documents” given to participants in the Ohio Fellows Reunion Leadership Symposium (November 23, 2002).

[11] John H. Chandler, letter to Terry Moore (March 30, 1966).

[12] Terry Moore, “A Few Reflections on the Ohio Fellows Program and the Reunion in November of 2002,” letter to the Ohio Fellows after the 2002 reunion, Ohio Fellows Program archives (undated).

[13] From a brochure for the Ohio University Libraries Bicentennial Campaign (undated: campaign ran from 2000 to 2004).

[14] Terry Moore, “A Few Reflections on the Ohio Fellows Program and the Reunion in November of 2002,” op. cit.

[15] John H. Chandler, letter to Terry Moore, op. cit.

[16] Terry Moore, “A Few Reflections...,” op. cit.

[17] Terry Moore, telephone interview with the author (July 11, 2005).

[18] Terry Moore, telephone interview, op. cit.

[19] Rudolph Rousseau, telephone interview with the author (August 8, 2005).

[20] Karen Buckley, telephone interview with the author (July, 2005).

[21] Lynn Shostack, telephone interview, op. cit.

[22] Rudolph Rousseau, interview, op. cit.

[23] “Ohio University: The Ohio Fellows Program,” authorship unknown, undated and unpublished document in a package of “background documents” presented at the Ohio Fellows Reunion Leadership Symposium, (November 23, 2002).

[24] Elizabeth Alessio, “An Academic Experiment...,” op. cit.

[25] “Questions and Answers about the Ohio Plan,” op. cit.

[26] John H. Chandler, letter to Terry Moore, op. cit.

[27] Undated and unattributed unpublished document from the OFP archives.

[28]  “Ohio University: The Ohio Fellows Program,” op. cit.

[29] Doug McCabe, ed., Vernon R. Alden: An Oral History (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Libraries, 1999), 154.

[30] Steven McCafferty, telephone interview with the author (July 2005).

[31] Michael McConnell, telephone interview with the author (July 2005).

[32] Michael McConnell, telephone interview, op. cit.

[33] Lynn Shostack, telephone interview, op. cit.

[34] “Ohio University: The Ohio Fellows Program,” op. cit.

[35] Elizabeth Alessio, “An Academic Experiment,” op. cit.

[36] “The Ohio Plan: Ohio University: Athens, Ohio,” authorship unknown, unpublished document in a package of “background documents” presented at the Ohio Fellows Reunion Leadership Symposium (November 23, 2002).

[37] Doris Dietel, newspaper clipping, unidentified newspaper, from the O.F.P. archives  (October 1966).

[38] “The Ohio Fellows Program,” brochure, from the O.F.P. archives (undated).

[39] Don M. Frick, Robert K. Greenleaf: a Life of Servant Leadership (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, June 1, 2004).

[40] Terry Moore, interview, op. cit.

[41] “The Ohio Fellows Program,” op. cit.

[42] Terry Moore, interview, op. cit.

[43] Doug McCabe, ed., Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 56.

[44] Terry Moore, phone interview, op. cit.

[45] Craig Strafford, telephone interview (July 2005).

[46] Thomas Hodson, telephone interview with the author (July 2005).

[47] Terry Moore, interview, op. cit.

[48] Terry Moore, interview, op. cit.

[49] Office of Public Affairs, University of California, Berkeley, The Regents of the University of California September 16, 1998).

[50] Terry Moore, O.F.P. archives (undated).

[51] Craig Strafford interview, op. cit.

[52] Craig Strafford interview, op. cit.

[53] Vernon R. Alden, telephone interview with the author (August 11, 2005).

[54] Rebecca Felt Bickel, telephone interview with the author (July 2005).

[55] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 57.

[56] Lynn Shostack, interview, op. cit.

[57] Steven McCafferty, interview, op. cit.

[58] “Questions and Answers about the Ohio Plan,” op. cit.

[59] “Ohio University: The Ohio Fellows Program,” op. cit.

[60] “Ohio University: The Ohio Fellows Program,” op. cit.

[61] Rudolph Rousseau interview, op. cit.

[62] Rudolph Rousseau, interview, op. cit.

[63] Vernon R. Alden, interview, op. cit.

[64] “The Ohio Plan: Ohio University: Athens, Ohio,” op. cit.

[65] “Questions and Answers about the Ohio Plan,” op. cit.

[66] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 57.

[67] Vernon R. Alden, interview, op. cit.

[68] “The Ohio Fellows Program,” brochure, from the O.F.P. archives (undated).

[69] Thomas Hodson, interview, op. cit.

[70] Rudolph Rousseau, interview, op. cit.

[71] Janice Scites, telephone interview with the author (August 8, 2005).

[72] Newspaper clipping from the OFP archives, undated and unattributed (1965?). 

[73] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 57.

[74] Vernon R. Alden, Speaking for Myself: the Personal Reflections of Vernon R. Alden (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Libraries, 1997), 109-110.

[75] Vernon R. Alden, Speaking for Myself, op. cit., 114.

[76] Vernon R. Alden, Speaking for Myself, op. cit.,119.

[77] Vernon R. Alden, Speaking for Myself, op. cit.,123.

[78] Kelly Durso, Ohio University Outlook, www.ohio.edu/outlook/136f-034.cfm  (June 30, 2005).

[79] Vernon R. Alden, interview, op. cit.

[80] John H. Chandler, letter to Terry Moore (March 30, 1966).

[81] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 57.

[82] Terry Moore, interview, op. cit.

[83] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 57.

[84] Don M. Frick, Robert K. Greenleaf: a Life of Servant Leadership, op. cit., 256.

[85] Robert Greenleaf, http://www.greenleaf.org/leadership/servant-leadership/What-is-Servant-Leadership.html, taken from Servant as Leader (1970).

[86] Frank Zammataro, telephone interview with the author (August 9, 2005).

[87] Rudolph Rousseau, interview, op. cit.

[88] Vernon R. Alden, interview, op. cit.

[89] Doug McCabe, Speaking for Myself, op. cit., 57-58.

[90] Vernon R. Alden, interview, op. cit.

[91] Frank Zammataro, interview, op. cit.

[92] Lynn Shostack, Letter to the Ohio Fellows at their November 2002 reunion (undated).

[93] Lynn Shostack, interview, op. cit.

[94] Terry Moore, letter to Vernon Alden (October 3, 2002).

[95] Tom Hodson interview, op. cit.

[96] Vernon Alden, interview, op. cit.

[97] Michael McConnell, interview, op. cit.

[98] T. Michael Long, letter to Robert Fallon (November 19, 2002).

[99] Terry Moore, letter to Vernon Alden  (October 3, 2002).

[100] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 57.

[101] Terry Moore, interview, op. cit.

[102] http://leadership.unc.edu/opportunities/programs/ncfellows.html

[103] Doug McCabe, editor, Vernon R. Alden, op. cit., 39.

[104] Lynn Shostack, interview, op. cit.

[105] Karen Buckley, interview, op. cit.

[106] Frank Zammataro, telephone interview with the author (August 9, 2005).

[107] Craig Strafford, interview, op. cit.

[108] From a brochure for the Ohio University Libraries Bicentennial Campaign (undated: campaign ran from 2000 to 2004).






















Ohio University


“ ...let it be again demonstrated that  politics and art, the life of action and the  life of thought, the world of events, and  the world of imagination are one...”

                                                                         John F. Kennedy



With the assistance of the Richard King Mellon Charitable Trusts of Pittsburgh, Ohio University established the Ohio Fellow’s  Program in 1964. The program is maintained through contributions from the Mead Corporation and other companies and foundations. 


The Ohio Fellows steering committee attempts to identify during the freshman and  sophomore years, college men and women who have exemplified that they have a leadership potential or the potential to have an impact or influence in their field. The need for such a program is predicated on the belief that many students with real potential are not able to fully express their capabilities or to exploit future possibilities in a normal college experience. Seldom are they offered concrete opportunities to mix learning and theory with responsibility and experience. This program is intended as a means of  making opportunities available to the Fellows in various forms for understanding and experiencing the problems of leadership, formulating  their own solutions, and comparing them with the methods and procedures of recognized individuals in their fields. The Fellows are offered various opportunities to understand and develop their own potential, and are encouraged to develop their unique and individual personalities, rather than conforming to a previously established definition of leadership.


The organization consists of a director, a summer coordinator, and a faculty advisory committee. The fall quarter is planned by a summer coordinator in conjunction with the faculty director. The summer coordinator is an Ohio Fellow who is using the Program as an internship. From their planning, the Fellows and Advisors meet for a weekend early in the fall to discuss and decide upon the activities and goals of the program for that year. Beside the activities planned, the Fellows have at their disposal the resources of the Fellows Program and counseling opportunities with Faculty Advisors.


The activities of the Ohio Fellows Program are geared to fit the purposes of the individual  Fellows as well as purposes of the organization. The activities vary from year to year, but they can be classified in five broad areas:

a) Probably the most important opportunity afforded an Ohio Fellow is the summer internship program. An opening is found in business, industry, government, education, or the arts which may interest the Fellow and aid in his development. The individually designed internships provide an unusual opportunity for direct observation and personal experience. It is hoped that the Ohio Fellows will emerge with a realistic estimate of the limitations and major possibilities of organizational responsibilities—the habit of analytical thought and disciplined goal setting. The internship positions are well paid—enough to take care of the Fellow’s  summer living expenses and allow him to set aside some savings toward expenses for the next school year. If, however, an internship does not provide enough to meet expenses or accumulate adequate savings, subsidies may be arranged by the Ohio Fellows Office. It is not intended that the summer internship work a financial hardship on any Fellow. 

b) Each year the Fellows have a special opportunity to meet with recognized leaders from business, politics, education, science and the arts. These speakers may meet with the group as a whole and/or meet and talk with Fellows individually. Some of the many speakers to visit the Fellows have been: 

1. Dr. Joseph Fletcher—noted theologian and writer 
2. William Verity, Jr.—President of Armco Steel 
3. Dr. George Von Petterfy—noted educator 
4. Paul Goodman—noted educator 
5. Rod Serling—noted author 
6. Robert McNamara—President of [the World Bank]
7. Bill George—Director of Corporate  Planning for Litton Industries 
8. Charles Percy—Senator from Illinois 

c) The Ohio Fellows have taken trips to Washington D.C., Boston, and are currently planning a trip to Chicago. The purpose of these trips is to be exposed to all levels of activities in the city and to meet the people who run these various segments of city life. Highlights of the  Boston trip included the Boston Museum of Art, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Harvard Business School, Boston Globe, Filene’s, Roxbury, Warren Equities, The Ritz, and the Mayor’s office. Through meeting these people and being exposed to these various activities many of the Fellows gain new or modified insights to their career goals. 

d) Because the Ohio Fellows Program is deeply committed to individual development, part of their program is directed to providing opportunities for an individual’s excellence in his field. Sums of money are available for individual or small group projects which are drafted and proposed by the Fellows. These projects range from the building of a sculpture in front of the new library, to photographic essays, to publishing a book, to starting an investment program.

e) Perhaps the most important resource available to the Fellows is inner action among themselves. They have been encouraged and given opportunities to have discussions within the group itself which creates an openness invaluable to the Fellows in learning about themselves and their concepts of leadership. Through laboratory methods such as sensitivity sessions, the Fellows learn about people with backgrounds, ideas, and goals different from their own.


Any freshman or sophomore with a grade point average of 2.0 or better is eligible for admission. Interested students are asked to complete an application form relating their experiences and future goals to the resources and opportunities afforded by the Ohio Fellows. The applications are processed by the current Fellows and from the applications, the top 100 applicants are given a series of interviews by a Steering Committee which selects  thirty (30) applicants to be semi-finalists. The final selection of approximately 15 people is made at a weekend retreat which includes interviews, problem solving, and discussion groups. 


Dr. Kenneth Blanchard, Director 
Dean J. Leslie Rollins 
Dr. David Russell 
Dr. Richard Bald 
Dr. Thomas Wassmer,S.J.
Prof. Paul Hersey 
Mr. Willard Fuller 
Mr.Jerry Reese 
Mr.Eric Miller 

 For further information write, stop in, or call:

Ohio Fellows Program 
Ohio University 
Athens, Ohio 45701 
Phone: 594-7257




The Ohio Fellows Program: Historical Photos

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