The Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) will be returning to Centre College again this summer, marking the 31st year the College has hosted the program. A modified approach, fully attentive to issues of health and safety, was approved recently by Gov. Andy Beshear.
Due to COVID-19, and in keeping with the mission to remain committed to the academic and personal growth of Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leaders, Centre and Bellarmine University will each host scholars for one-week experiences that will provide an abbreviated GSP schedule. The College will welcome 100-125 students per week for five consecutive weeks beginning June 28.
In April, Lillian H. “Lil” Press, Centre trustee emerita and founder of GSP, died as a result of COVID-19. Because of the current situation surrounding the pandemic, organizers of the program say that moving forward with GSP this year is a way of honoring Press’ memory.
John Kinkade, associate professor of English and Brown Fellows campus coordinator, who also oversees GSP at Centre, said the program will happen in small groups—classes will be limited to a maximum of nine students so that groups never get above ten. Scholars will have single rooms while staying on campus. Participants will wear masks when indoors or in close contact, and there will be an emphasis on frequent hand-washing and cleaning of surfaces.
Additionally, there will be regular temperature checks, and anyone who displays symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be isolated until they can return home.
“GSP is a powerful educational experience, and though we can’t provide the normal experience this summer, scholars will have a taste of what it means to be part of a residential community committed to learning and growth,” Kinkade said. “Though very different, the program will still provide the kind of intensity and intellectual inquiry that are at the heart of both GSP and the Centre experience.
“Working to get this heavily modified program into place has been a great reminder of all work that goes into building a community. Ann Young in residence life and Wayne King in facilities management, for example, have put a lot of thought and labor into helping this community come into existence this summer,” he continued.
Under the advice of the GSP Board Executive Committee, and in consultation with the two remaining host campuses, Centre and Bellarmine University, the program had submitted a plan to request the permission of the Governor’s Office for a very modified onsite version of the summer program.
During his regular 5 p.m. COVID-19 briefing on May 22, Gov. Beshear, the first former Governor’s Scholar to be elected governor of Kentucky, said, “on another positive note, the Governor’s Scholars Program has provided a proposal that we have been able to accept. I will tell you, until I got the proposal, I was very skeptical, but this is a way that we believe it can be done safely. It is a really significant proposal that was out, and Dr. Stack signed off on it.”
Following this announcement, Beshear spoke about the incredible experience he had as a Governor’s Scholar in 1995.
Regardless of the summer experience, Centre remains committed to making the best education affordable for talented students in the Commonwealth and will honor the Governor’s Scholar Pledge for each individual who successfully completes the requirements as outlined by the GSA, GSE and GSP and is offered admission to the College.
“As an alumnus and former staff member of GSP and a member of the National Conference of Governor’s Schools (NCoGS), I know firsthand how influential these summer experiences are for those selected,” said Cody Cook, assistant director of admission and scholarship coordinator. “We celebrate the artists, entrepreneurs and scholars who were chosen to partake in these summer experiences and stand ready to support them as they begin their college search processes.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
June 5, 2020