5 Questions for the Dean

Mary Chase, Creighton University, Answers Five Questions

Change the world in Christ's image.

Study humankind.

Transform yourself and your community.

Seek truth in all you do.

Go forth and set the world on fire.


These principles of a Jesuit education as defined by St. Ignatius of Loyola are the foundation of the education and student life at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Mary Chase, Creighton's Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, joins us this month to answer five questions about this private Roman Catholic school that is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the country.

Creighton was founded in 1878 with a bequest from Mary Lucretia Creighton in memory of her husband Edward, an Omaha businessman with interests in cattle ranching and banking and who played a role in the development of the transcontinental telegraph line. More than 130 years later, Creighton would become the first university to notify students of acceptance by text message.

Keith Todd, Admission Dean, Reed College, Answers 8 Questions

Founded in 1908, Reed College is a liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon, known for its rich intellectual life.  Dean of Admission Keith Todd joins us this month to answer not five -- but eight questions -- in the generous spirit of inquiry that exemplifies Reed College.

Located on 116 acres in a residential neighborhood, the Reed campus is just five miles from downtown Portland, and about 90 minutes from the Pacific coast.  Featuring a lake and Reed Canyon, a wooded wetland with abundant wildlife and native plants, the campus is home to 1400 students.

The quirky intellectualism Reed is known for is on full display even on their website, which reads like a series of droll literary vignettes -- with comic overtones. (Not to go too Reedie on you.) In fact, Reed has produced 31 Rhodes Scholars, as well as numerous winners of the Fulbright, Watson, and National Science Foundation fellowships. Classes average 15 students with a 10-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Reed offers 22 department-based majors (from Anthropology to Theater), 12 interdisciplinary majors (including History-literature or Mathematics-economics) and 6 dual degree programs (such as applied physics and electronic science).  And students can also work with their adviser to design alternate interdisciplinary majors.

Jon Boeckenstedt, DePaul University, Answers Five Questions

Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president for Enrollment Management at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, joins us this month to answer five questions about the largest Roman Catholic university in the country.  

Founded in 1898, with just 70 students, today DePaul has almost 16,500 undergraduates, and is also the largest private university in the state of Illinois. The school has five campuses throughout the Chicago area, with the two main campuses located on 36 acres on Chicago's north side in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and in the downtown Loop.

Philip Ballinger, University of Washington, Answers Six Questions

Philip Ballinger is the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admissions for undergraduates at the University of Washington, the Evergreen State's flagship public university. He joins us this month to answer six questions about admissions -- and life -- at "UDub."

Founded in 1861, University of Washington began as a 10-acre campus in what is now the heart of downtown Seattle, the Pacific Northwest's largest city. Today, that campus occupies the "University District" in the city of 609,000, located on the shores of Union and Portage Bays with views of the Cascade Mountain Range.  More than 43,000 students attend UW in its 16 colleges and schools, which offer 1,800 undergraduate courses each quarter in more than 250 degree programs.  (There are also satellite campuses in Tacoma and Bothell.)

Lee Melvin, Cornell University, Answers Six Questions

I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study. Cornell University's motto

Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, Cornell University has been called "the first American university." The tradition of egalitarianism reflected in its motto -- Cornell began as a non-sectarian and coeducational institution, admitting students regardless of race, sex or religion -- continues today with the school's diverse student population of more than 14,0000 undergraduates, representing every state and 120 countries.

A research university organized into seven undergraduate (and four graduate) colleges, Cornell is also one of two private land-grant universities in the country, dedicated to its land-grant mission of outreach and public service. It established the first four-year programs of hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine and awarded the world's first journalism degree and the nation's first doctorates in electrical and industrial engineering.

Scott Verzyl, University of South Carolina

Associate vice president for enrollment management at the University of South Carolina Scott Verzyl joins us this month to answer not five -- but seven -- questions about the Palmetto state's flagship school.

Founded in 1801 in the state capitol of Columbia, the story of USC is also a lesson in United States history. The school survived a name change, a fire and an earthquake and was spared in the path of Sherman's March because it operated as a hospital. The University closed briefly in 1861, however, in the aftermath of the Civil War. When it reopened in 1866, it would become the only southern state university to admit African-Americans during Reconstruction. It continued to ride the tide of post-Reconstruction southern politics, though, briefly closing and reopening as an all-white agricultural college. It weathered the Great Depression. Then progress solidified during World War II, when it hosted naval training programs. Returning GI's and later the baby boomers created enormous growth and the university made research a priority, creating a number of new programs and schools.

Nancy Meislahn, Wesleyan University, Answers Five Questions

Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, at Wesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut, joins us this month and graciously answers -- not five -- but six questions.

 Wesleyan was founded in 1831 by leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church and began with 48 students (all men); the president; three professors; and one tutor. Tuition was $36 per year.

Today, Wesleyan’s 316-acre campus located in central Connecticut hosts about 2,900 full-time undergraduates – both men and women -- who choose among more than 900 courses offered in 40 departments and 44 major fields of study, taught by 375 faculty members. Its student/faculty ratio remains at 9 to 1, with two-thirds of classes enrolling fewer than 20 students.

Named for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, the college was never a seminary, but offered a liberal arts program from its inception. Unlike most college curriculums at the time of its founding which were steeped in the classics, Wesleyan set out to put modern languages, literature, and the natural sciences on equal footing.  That orientation continues today with students pursuing a self-directed curriculum, numerous undergraduate interdisciplinary programs, and broad research opportunities.

Rick Shaw, Stanford University, Answers Five Questions


Rick Shaw, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Stanford University, answers five questions for us this month as everyone heads to campus.

Stanford University was founded in 1891 by Jane and Leland Stanford in memory of their only child who died of typhoid fever. The 8,180-acre campus, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, was originally the Stanford family's Palo Alto Stock Farm, used for the breeding and training of trotting horses and thoroughbreds. It is still affectionately called "The Farm." 

Today, the university's grounds include 800 different species of plants, 25 fountains, the 285-foot Hoover Tower that dominates its skyline, and an extensive collection of outdoor art -- Rodin's The Gates of Hell, the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden, Andy Goldsworthy's Stone River, as well as works by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Bruce Beasley, Maya Lin and more.

Jenny Rickard, Bryn Mawr College, Answers 5 Questions

Jenny Rickard, Chief Enrollment and Communications Officer at Bryn Mawr College, joins us this month to answer five questions about the private women's liberal arts college founded in 1885 "for the advanced education of females." Located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, just ten miles west of Philadelphia, the 135-acre campus hosts approximately 1300 undergraduate women.  

With an 8-to-1 student faculty ratio, Bryn Mawr offers 36 majors, 38 minors, 8 concentrations, and the opportunity for students to develop independent courses of study. But Bryn Mawr students can choose from among more than 5,000 course offerings because of the cooperative relationship the school has with neighboring Haverford College and its ties to Swarthmore College and University of Pennsylvania.