Alumni News September 2016

The Class of 2020 Arrives on Campus: A Message from Robert R. McCullough, Director, Undergraduate Admission

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‌As a double alum of Case Western Reserve University, I feel especially fortunate to have a front row seat for the formation of the next generation of CWRU students each fall. And in recent years, we seem to be running out of superlatives to describe the many talents and achievements of an increasingly diverse class of new students.

The admission season was punctuated by a new record total of applications – over 23,100 students applied for first-year admission – and a record low admit rate of 35%. These two numbers meant that we had strong and broad interest in Case Western Reserve, and that we were able to make thoughtful choices among talented students to build our entering class.

On August 29, more than 1,250 members of the Class of 2020 took their first steps into Schmitt, Strosacker, Clark, Peter B. Lewis, Frances Payne Bolton and other campus classrooms. They arrived from all around the world: 15% of our new students are international, and 40 different nations are represented, while the top 5 states include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and New York. They attended 860 different high schools, with graduating classes ranging from over 2,300 to 1 – and yes, we got the valedictorian!

A quarter of our incoming students learned a first language other than English, and a third speak a language other than English at home. Our incoming students reflect a diverse demographic: less than half of our new first-year students identify as Caucasian, and 12% are from underrepresented backgrounds. Fifteen percent had a family member attend the University, and 10% are the first in their families to attend college.

Our newest students are decorated athletes, accomplished artists, dedicated leaders, engaged learners and ambitious people who are optimistic about what lies ahead. Sound familiar? I hope you have a chance to make it back to campus, not only to see the remarkable transformation of our neighborhood, but to meet and interact with your future alumni colleagues. I think you’ll be inspired by their stories, by their achievements and by their aspirations for the future. (Photo credit: Anthony Gray)

Homecoming is Just Around the Corner - Post Your Favorite CWRU Memories Now

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‌Celebrate this year's reunion by posting your favorite CWRU memory today. 
Tag your photo with #HomeCWRUing or @CWRUalumni (FacebookTwitterInstagram
so we can see it and we'll feature our favorites on social media.

Check our website,, to find events 
based on your interests, schools and class year. ‌‌

We hope to see you October 13-16! 

image of text saying "Homecoming & Reunion Celebration"

CWRU Students Span Generations in Some Families

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This year’s Legacy Luncheon was held recently at the Cleveland Botanical Garden as part of the Class of 2020’s orientation events. The Alumni Association Board President Jeff Verespej and Senior Executive Director, Alumni Relations Brad Crews addressed incoming students, alumni and their families. This year’s legacies came from as far as Texas and several families featured multiple generations of CWRU alumni. Photos from this event are available here. 
(Photo credit: Anthony Gray)

Welcoming the World, One Student at a Time

Case Western Reserve University’s International Friendship Program helps international students transition to life in the U.S., offers hosts the unique opportunity to learn about diverse nationalities and cultures, and serves as a springboard for friendships that last beyond a student’s time at CWRU. Each year faculty, staff and alumni hosts are matched with international students. Hosts and students get together to enjoy home-cooked meals, events on campus and outings in Cleveland.

image of Bob Jefferis, Diane Mogren and Yi Wang

Bob Jefferis (LAW ’10) and Diane Mogren hosted Yi Wang (LAW ’13), an international student from China. Bob recalls, "I believe we benefitted as much (or more) from Yi, learning about her culture, as she learned from us. We expanded our extended family to include Yi and her roommate, and we enjoyed Yi's smile and fresh perspective on an American experience. We had many meals together, some which we hosted, some which Yi hosted and some for which we went out together such as a clambake. We had a lot of fun."

"We enjoyed many special places together,” says Yi “like the Cleveland Museum of Art, Lake Erie and farmer's markets. We went back to Bob’s high school to enjoy a classic opera, The Phantom of the Opera, and it was fantastic. Bob’s mum, Bernice, even helped me figure out how to pay the check for rent when I just arrived here. Their whole family treated me with sincerity and I found that I wasn't lonely. My communication skills and knowledge were enhanced vastly due to our regular visits."

There are many international students starting at CWRU this fall. We hope that you will consider welcoming one of them to Case Western Reserve and to Cleveland by joining the International Friendship Program. Hosts are now being matched with international students.

(Photo courtesy of Bob Jefferis)

More info and application for International Friendship Program

More IFP volunteers share their experiences in this short video

Gift Funds Endowed Position for Frances Payne Bolton Nursing School and Judson

The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and Judson Services Inc. recently announced a collaborative effort to create an endowed position that will serve both organizations. The cornerstone of the Phelps Collaborative for Older Adult and Family Engagement will be a faculty position at the School of Nursing that includes a clinical appointment at Judson. Initial funding of $1.2 million was given by Charlene Phelps (NUR '65), a graduate and longtime supporter of the School of Nursing, retired chief nursing officer for University Hospitals Health System and resident at Judson’s South Franklin Circle retirement community.

image of Charlene Phelps

Charlene Phelps (Photo credit: Judson/Keith Berr)

CWRU Alumni Host Wall Street Trek During Fall Break

October 23-25, CWRU alumni will give a small group of students with a strong interest in finance a behind-the-scenes peek at one of the world's most influential financial districts during the first-ever Undergraduate Wall Street Trek. On this trip, students will: network with alumni from Morgan Stanley, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, among others; attend panel events on life and careers in New York City; participate in mock interviews; and tour some of Manhattan’s elite financial institutions. In addition, the students will attend an evening reception open to all CWRU alumni in the New York City area on October 24 (more details will be announced soon).

Another Successful Summer on the Cuyahoga

image of Summer On The Cuyahoga participants

Thirteen CWRU students recently participated as interns in Summer on the Cuyahoga (SOTC), an 8-10 week internship program designed to help students discover the professional, civic and social offerings of the Cleveland area. Throughout the length of the program, students stay free in downtown Cleveland housing and, in addition to their internship responsibilities, enjoy outings, programming and networking with our alumni. A partner program for Case Western Reserve University, SOTC also draws students from Colgate, Cornell, Denison, Ohio Wesleyan, Smith, University of Chicago and Yale University.

This year’s SOTC offered an impressive range of extracurricular programming, thanks in large part to CWRU alumni volunteers. In June, CWRU alumnus Mike DePaulo (MGT ‘04) led a panel discussion, featuring human resource experts from KeyBank, Integis and McMaster-Carr, on today’s hiring process in Networking 101: Making the Most of SOTC. In July, SOTC Board Member Gina Beim (GRS ‘87, systems control & engineering, MGT ‘04, MGT ‘04) and her husband, Mark Freeman, took participants on a 20-mile bike journey through the Ohio Erie Canalway. July also featured a visit to think[box], where SOTC and CWRU alumnus Ryan Cleary (CWR ‘16), who works with BioEnterprise, moderated a panel discussion on entrepreneurism.

SOTC is looking for alumni volunteers to help with next summer’s program -- if you are interested in hosting a student, helping to plan an event or would like the opportunity to showcase your professional experience in Northeast Ohio, please consider volunteering for this exciting program. (Photo credits: SOTC Weekly)

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More info about Summer on the Cuyahoga

Join CWRU in Honoring the 2016 Inamori Ethics Prize Recipient

image of Peter Eigen

‌Each year, the Inamori Ethics Prize recognizes an international ethical leader whose actions and influence have improved the human condition. Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International and pioneer of the global fight against corruption, is the 2016 recipient. Eigen has developed and led groundbreaking initiatives to improve governance and raise awareness of the devastating effects of corruption on economic growth, social welfare and justice. Eigen will be celebrated during the Inamori Ethics Prize Ceremony & Recipient Lecture on the evening of Thursday, September 8, at the Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple-Tifereth Israel. The following afternoon at Severance Hall, Eigen will explore his work as part of an interactive panel discussion, along with Brian Gran, associate professor of sociology at Case Western Reserve, and Katherine Marshall, senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and professor of the practice of development, conflict and religion in the School of Foreign Service, during the Inamori Ethics Prize Academic Symposium. Both events are free and open to the public. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Eigen)

Join in honoring Inamori Ethics Prize Recipient

Usher in Fall on the Farm

On Saturday, September 17, Case Western Reserve University celebrates the beginning of fall with the fourth annual Farm Harvest Festival at Squire Valleevue Farm in Hunting Valley, Ohio.  The event is organized by the Student Sustainability Council and Farm Administration and is open to students, faculty, staff and alumni. The event’s free activities include hayrides, a corn-hole tournament, s'mores, a maze, music, dancing, herb planting, mushroom productions, woodcarving, cooking demonstrations, yoga, knitting, cookie decorating, weaving and hiking tours. There is a $5 fee for food and drinks for those without a Case Western Reserve University ID, which will be used to defer the costs of food for non-student groups. The menu includes vegetarian chili, apples, apple cider, ice cream and fresh salads made with Squire Valleevue Farm produce.

image of pumpkins in a wagon

Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren Kwasniewski, Alumni Admission Ambassadors

Alumni Admission Ambassadors assist in recruitment and retention efforts, developing relationships with prospective students by sharing their CWRU experiences and the university's impact on their lives. Alumni volunteers help right from their hometowns, directly engaging the next generation of students.

image of Lauren Kwasniewski

Alumni Admission Ambassador Lauren Kwasniewski (CWR ’11) studied art history and architecture as an undergraduate student at CWRU and currently works at Atlas Resource Partners, L.P., a business that develops, acquires and manages oil and gas properties. In addition to being the regional chair for Pittsburgh area Alumni Admission Ambassadors, she’s also the alumni relations officer of the CWRU Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter, an INbassador and a volunteer with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. She describes her volunteer experience as an Alumni Admission Ambassador:

What about being an Alumni Admission Ambassador are you most excited about and what is your favorite experience from volunteering?

I enjoy interviewing prospective students: hearing their stories, sharing my CWRU stories with them and oftentimes bonding over being “excellently nerdy.” My favorite moments are when students receive their acceptances to the university and share their good news with me. For instance - this past year, a student emailed me right after he received his acceptance. He was excited, and I felt that I made a positive impact.

How many hours does this volunteer activity take up per week or month?

Alumni interviews are offered from August until the end of the application deadline. As the regional chair, I spend 1-2 hours a week matching interviewers with prospective students as well as interviewing. As a regular volunteer, this activity can range between one hour or more per month, depending on how active you want to be.

How did you first get involved with volunteering?

I originally found this opportunity on the CWRU Alumni website under Volunteer Opportunities. I felt that this was a great way to help the university as well as prospective students. For the student, the process gives him or her the opportunity to show CWRU who he or she is on a personal level. In turn, the interview helps the Office of Undergraduate Admissions gain a better understanding of the individual candidate. I became an admission ambassador in January 2012, and I enjoyed interacting with the students so much that I started interviewing several candidates each weekend. In November 2014, I stepped up to the regional chair position.

Why do you continue to volunteer?

It is a casual and enjoyable activity. Each time I meet a prospective student, he or she is always so happy to talk with someone who went to the university. It reminds me of the first time I met with someone from CWRU and how much it meant to me. Now, I am on “the other side of the fence” and am able to give back in the same way. So, it continues to be a positive experience for me as well as for the students.

What would you say to others who are interested in getting involved with this volunteer opportunity?

Alumni Admission Ambassadors is a great opportunity to directly impact the university. Beyond helping with admission interviews, you can represent CWRU at college fairs, regional events, informational sessions, and admitted student receptions. You can volunteer as much or as little as you would like, based on your schedule. It is entirely up to you! We are always looking for more volunteers!

Learn how to volunteer

Sign up to volunteer

Dine with the Office of Undergraduate Admission

Office of Undergraduate Admission Fall Dinners are coming up! Please join us, fellow alumni and counselors from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for dinner in a city near you:

September 13 – St. Louis, Mo.

September 13 – Cincinnati, Ohio

September 28 – Orange County, Calif.

September 28 – New England

October 10 – Washington D.C.

October 18 – Detroit, Mich.

October 19 – New Jersey

October 25 – Chicago, Ill.

If you have any questions, please contact Christine DeSalvo at 216.368.5450

CLE Classes at CWRU

This September, Case Western Reserve University School of Law is offering a series of continuing education classes for law professionals. The series includes:

  • Governance, Corruption and Transparency: A Q&A Discussion with Peter Eigen, Founder of Transparency International (September 8, 1 hour CLE credit, pending approval)

  • The Sumner Canary Lecture Institutionalizing Dissent with featured speaker Neal K. Katyal, partner, Hogan Lovells, Paul & Patricia Saunders Professor of National Security Law, Georgetown University, and former acting solicitor general of the United States (September 14, 1 hour CLE credit, pending approval)

  • The Frederick K. Cox International Law Center Conference The Art of International Law with featured speaker William Griswold, director and president, Cleveland Museum of Art (5.5 hours of CLE credit)

  • The International Law Student Association Lecture, co-sponsored by the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center Conference, The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk & the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial with featured speaker professor Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College and author of The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk & the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial (September 20, 1 hour of in-person CLE credit)

  • The Louis C. Greenwood Lecture Series, CWRU Law Downtown at the City Club, The Present and Future of Reproductive Rights with featured speakers Professor B. Jessie Hill, associate dean for academic affairs, and Judge Ben C. Green, professor of law (September 21, 1 hour of CLE credit)

  • The George A. Leet Business Law Conference, sponsored by the Center for Business Law & Regulation, Business in the Roberts Court (September 23, 5.25 hours of CLE credit)

Sign up for CLE…

Volunteer Opportunities at the Maltz Center for Performing Arts

The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center seeks alumni volunteers to serve as ushers for the upcoming season of concerts, lectures and special events. September events include:

Thursday, September 8, 6:00pm - Inamori Ethics Prize Award
This year's award recipient is Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International and pioneer in the global fight against corruption.

Tuesday, September 13, 7:30pm - Writers Center Stage - Don DeLillo
The first of this season's popular author series, sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 7:30pm - An Evening with Rita Dove
A prelude to the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation

Please contact House Manager Jordan Davis at 216-577-1112 or to join the team of student and community ushers at this magnificently restored architectural treasure. 

image of Maltz

Upcoming Events

9.12  Indians vs. White Sox Baseball Game (Chicago)

9.13  Office of Undergraduate Admission Fall Dinner - St. Louis

9.13  Office of Undergraduate Admission Fall Dinner - Cincinnati

9.17  Fourth Annual Bay Area CWRUise

9.21 Weatherhead New Jersey Reunion (Summit, NJ)

9.22 Asian Mid-Autumn Festival (Thwing Atrium and Ballroom, CWRU)

9.22  Platform Beer Co. Tour and Tasting (Cleveland)

9.24  Charlottesville Luncheon at White Hall Vineyards (Charlottesville, VA)

9.28  Office of Undergraduate Admission Fall Dinner (Orange County)

9.28  Office of Undergraduate Admission Fall Dinner (New England)

10.9 Weatherhead Alumni Reception in Mumbai (Sofitel Mumbai BKC)

View the University and Alumni Relations Events Calendar for more upcoming events on campus and around the country.