After a six-year hiatus, the Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) will return to its inaugural host campus in the summer of 2019, continuing a relationship that began in 1983 and marking the 30th year that Centre College will have hosted GSP.
The five-week experience gives talented rising high school seniors the opportunity to get a taste of college life by living on campus and taking three challenging courses. One is in a specific focus area, a second is a general studies course and the third is a seminar class encouraging discussion and debate.
The missions of both Centre College and the Governor’s Scholars Program are deeply rooted in the liberal arts and sciences education. As with any college curriculum, the course offerings tend to be wide and varied, with past courses launching weather balloons, composing original plays and musicals, constructing temporary structures and building mud ovens that successfully baked pizzas for the entire campus.
Centre faculty member John Kinkade, an associate professor of English who now directs the College’s Brown Fellows Program, previously oversaw GSP at both Centre and Murray State University and has nothing but praise for what the program accomplishes. He remains convinced that Centre is an ideal host.
“Centre was the first home of GSP, and it’s always been a natural fit. Centre and GSP value strong communities and how the strength of those communities enhances learning,” Kinkade says.
Over the 17 years he was involved with GSP, Kinkade saw one transformative experience after another.
“The letters and notes of thanks that scholars write at the end of the program are stunning,” he adds. “They are grateful for the opportunities to take new chances, to learn about themselves and their state, and to have the chance to develop new interests.”
Kinkade, who was a Governor’s Scholar at Centre in 1990, says that the most important aspects of GSP are the opportunity to make connections and to become more open-minded.
“Every GSP campus is full of interesting minds and eager learners. The scholars get to know other people from all over the state who have similar interests, abilities and ambitions,” Kinkade says.
“Many of the scholars can be themselves at GSP in a way that’s sometimes not possible at home, where social identities and cliques have been defined for years. That freedom to be themselves allows scholars to immerse in the intellectual experience of GSP. And GSP gives scholars the time and space to think more reflectively.”
When he thinks about his own experience, Kinkade is full of gratitude.
“GSP changed my life for the better,” he reflects. “I was a smart high school student, but the Governor’s Scholars Program opened up worlds that I had never dreamed of—people were interested in everything and their intellectual excitement was contagious.”
The Governor’s Scholars Program is proud to say that approximately 80 percent of each class of scholars remain to attend colleges or universities in Kentucky. Those GSP alumni admitted to Centre are awarded a scholarship of at least $21,000, as long as the student is in the top 10 percent of her or his high school class and has at least a 28 on the ACT (or SAT equivalent).
For more information about the Governor’s Scholars Program please visit here.
by Michael Strysick
June 6, 2018