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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Liberal Arts Posse brought back to Brandeis

Published: August 27, 2010
Section: Front Page

The Liberal Arts Posse program, a merit-based group scholarship, has been revived at Brandeis after being on hiatus last year due to funding problems. Ten new Posse students will come to campus in fall 2011 as part of the program, according to a community-wide e-mail sent by university President Jehuda Reinharz.

“The Liberal Arts Posse Program is coming back to the Brandeis campus, reuniting with its fellow program, the ongoing Science Posse Program,” Reinharz wrote. “This welcome return is due to the generosity of several donors who have stepped forward to reinstate this valuable program, which enriches campus life.”

The Posse program, as part of the nationwide Posse Foundation, “identifie[s], recruit[s] and train[s] public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to become Posse Scholars.” These students, drawn from inner-city schools, are accepted to participating universities, like Brandeis, together in a “posse” after exhibiting “leadership, teamwork and communication skills,” according to Reinharz.

The liberal arts division of the program did not accept new students for the class of 2013 last fall because of budgetary constraints, and three arts posses are thus on campus now. The science posse has recurred without interruption since 2008, while the liberal arts classes have been on campus since 1998.

“I am thrilled and excited to have this posse reinstated,” the Dean of Academic Serivces Kim Godsoe said.

As donors and sponsors fund the program, funds were needed to restore the program after a gap year.

“The real credit goes to President Reinharz for bringing this program back to Brandeis,” Godsoe, who personally oversees the program as Posse Liaison, said. In raising the money and will to be able to educate another group, “he was instrumental.”

As a merit-based scholarship, joining the group of 10 students is “very difficult, a huge honor, and there is a very competitive pool before one can be named a posse scholar,” Godsoe said.

She offered the statistics from a recent New York City group as an example, where about 3,500 scholars were nominated and 10 each were selected by a small number of participating schools. “These excellent students were chosen this fall, and for 2011 will be back on campus,” Godsoe said.

The new group will be from Atlanta, a new development in the program beyond New York that will be a step in the university effort to “expand its reputation” in the South, according to Reinharz’s e-mail, acknowledging the university’s comparatively less well known name in parts of the region.

While the science program strongly encourages its students to take up science at Brandeis University and attend a “science boot camp,” the liberal arts group may take anything and often include students taking sciences as well.

“As liaison, I serve as the representative between Posse and Brandeis,” Godsoe said. “Posse scholars really are leaders. The program highlights excellent students, and I believe it ties to the social justice mission at Brandeis: any excelling student can attend.”