Denison University Joins 'Posse' Foundation In Recruiting Chicago High School Prospects
Posted: November 20, 2000
Denison University has become a partner with The Posse Foundation, and is helping establish - with DePauw University in Indiana and Carleton College in Minnesota - a Chicago "Posse" office to identify, recruit and select multicultural student leaders from public high schools in that city to enroll at the selective national liberal arts colleges.
Denison expects to welcome its first "posse" of 10 full-tuition scholarship students in the fall of 2001, said President Dale T. Knobel. The Denison partnering and the founding of a Chicago "Posse" Foundation office is the third and latest outgrowth of the organization that was founded in New York City in 1989. Posse Foundation teams up with top selective national colleges and universities and, through its main office in New York and a second site in Boston, currently is represented on campuses at Bowdoin, Brandeis, Bryn Mawr, DePauw, Dickinson, Hamilton, Lehigh, Middlebury, Rice, Wheaton (Mass.) and Vanderbilt.
One of the primary goals of the Posse program is to train leaders of tomorrow, Knobel noted. Thus, the Posse Foundation establishes partnerships with select universities like Denison and works with them in three principal areas: recruitment, retention and promoting cross-cultural dialog.
Unlike traditional scholarship programs, Knobel explained that Posse focuses on academics and leadership. The Posse process includes sending students to college in a team that acts as an agent of change on campus. Thus, it gives students the chance to succeed individually and as a group - which is an excellent foundation for the workplace, he added. Posse also has increased the graduation rate for under-represented students.
Working with Knobel on Denison's campus with the Posse program are: Vice President and Dean of Students Samuel J. Thios; Betty Lovelace, director of multicultural affairs; Eric Almonte, assistant dean of academic support; Nancy Gibson, senior associate director of admissions; and Tara Sims, admissions counselor.
"What this means for Denison is a continued opportunity to increase the diversity on our campus with academically talented leaders," said Knobel. "Posse is an organization that will help us achieve that goal." (This fall Denison's entering class of 640-plus students was also one of its most diverse: About 11 percent were U.S. students of color.)
The teams are prepared, through an intensive eight-month Posse training program based in Chicago, to pursue their academics and to help promote cross-cultural communication on campus. The program has exhibited great success over the past 11 years, placing 234 students into top colleges and universities. These students have won more than $17 million in scholarships from Posse partner universities and are being retained and graduated at close to 90 percent - higher than the national average at institutions of higher education.
The focus of the program is two-fold: 1) To recruit students who have extraordinary leadership ability and academic potential that might be overlooked by the traditional university selection process, and; 2) To devote the resources and support necessary to allow those students to strive for personal achievement and academic excellence, reach graduation and effect positive changes on their college campus and in their community.
Responsibility for the final selection of students is shared by both the participating universities and Posse. Denison will select its first 10 Posse Scholars from a pool of 20 from Chicago-area schools in December.
According to the Posse Foundation Website, the concept of a posse is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students - a posse - carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development.
The Foundation believes that the nation's future will depend on the ability of strong leaders from diverse backgrounds to develop consensus solutions to complex social problems, according to Chicago Posse office director Andrew Williams, a former DePauw anthropology faculty member and 1985 graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, Ind.. (The Chicago Posse Foundation office is located at 333 S. Wells, Suite 902, Chicago, Ill. 60606; Phone 312.360-0600;FAX:312.360-0246; (E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.possefoundation.org.)
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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