|1983 Governor's Scholars reflect on the first year
RELEASED: July 8, 2004
DANVILLE, KYIn 1983, 250 high school students traveled from across the commonwealth to Centre's campus as the first participants in the Governor's Scholars Program.
Unsure of where the new and exciting experimental program would take them, GSP participants, teachers and staff plunged into the "educational utopia," as the New York Times called it. Many state and national reporters flocked to Danville that summer to cover the program.
"The first years were really heady times," says Milton Reigelman, Cowan Professor of English and dean of GSP at Centre for 11 years. "Lil Press was the enormously talented executive director of GSP at the time. She lived on campus with the scholars, somehow talked several impressive Kentuckiansincluding Nobel Prize-winners, astronauts, historians and writersinto speaking to the scholars and meeting with classes almost on a volunteer basis, and she inspired the faculty to be both innovative and integrative in their approach."
Since that year, thousands of students have followed in the footsteps of the initial group to find that learning can be fun and that it is a good thing to be intelligent.
"[GSP] felt really good. High school wasn't the greatest experience, and at GSP there were a lot of people who were excited about learning," says Ann Helton Krebs, a member of that first group. "GSP helped me decide that college was definitely what I wanted to do."
Krebs later came to Centre and graduated in 1988 with a degree in mathematics.
"GSP was one of the best experiences I had and played a large role in my coming to Centre," she says."[Because of GSP] I already knew the campus and the dorms and that took away the uncertainty a lot of freshmen have."
Krebs completed a master's degree in statistics at the University of Kentucky and now works in research and development at AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company in West Chester, Penn.
Charles "Chip" Rogalinski was also a member of the pioneer GSP class. Prior to attending GSP, he'd sat in on a class taught by Reigelman on Moby Dick. This experience led Rogalinski to apply for the program.
"Once I knew GSP was going to be held at Centre, I had to apply," he says. "After I completed the summer there, I knew where I was going to spend the next four years of my life."
Rogalinski graduated from Centre in 1988 with a double major in Spanish and government. He also earned a law degree from the University of Louisville.
"I can't imagine GSP at any other campus besides Centre," he says. "The grounds and size lend itself to the program. Centre was an extension of my GSP experience. My peers and the learning environment challenged me to try new things, such as pursuing a major in a foreign language, travel, study abroad and my time with the Peace Corps. I am who I am because of various moments at Centre."
Rogalinski now lives in Louisville after completing three years in the Peace Corps, serving in Honduras and Uruguay. He now works as a sales representative for a printing, apparel and promotional item company in Louisville.
Though segments of the Governor's Scholars Program have been held at various campuses around the state over the years, no other school has hosted the annual program as often as Centre. The program has taken place at the college 21 of its 22 years.
For more on the Govenor's Scholars Program, visit http://www.kygsp.org/.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top-50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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