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Wells Scholars Program

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Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2005

West Lafayette's Cohen named Wells Scholar at Indiana University

AUG. 15, 2005

Alexander Cohen

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Adam W. Herbert announced that Alexander Willey Cohen of West Lafayette, Ind., has been selected as a Wells Scholar at IU, one of 19 entering freshmen so honored. He will this fall join more than 300 others who have been named Wells Scholars.

The scholarship, named in honor of the late IU Chancellor Herman B Wells, ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by any American university. Since its inception in 1990, more than two dozen Wells Scholars have gone on to earn prestigious Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Soros, Mitchell, Churchill, Fulbright and Goldwater scholarships for advanced study.

Many previous Wells Scholars today contribute to Indiana as residents who are attorneys, doctors, school teachers and business people and even an ordained minister. Others have gone on to clerk for Indiana and U.S. Supreme Court justices, are engaged in international relief and service efforts and are scholars at other renowned educational institutions such as Harvard Business School and Cornell Law School. There are Wells Scholars currently serving in the Armed Forces and other positions in government.

"This program has a spectacular track record for developing future leaders who reflect the example and vision of former IU Chancellor Herman B Wells," Herbert said. "Its impact is reflected in the achievements of past Wells Scholars who have remained in and contributed to the Hoosier state, and by those who represent the university and our state with great distinction both nationally and throughout the world. Since its establishment 16 years ago, IU also has used the Wells Scholars program as a model for other scholarship programs that enable IU to attract to our campuses more of the best students in the state and nation."

To honor Wells, IU created the Wells Scholars Program, which began with fund-raising efforts in 1988 and the appointment of Professor Breon Mitchell as its founding director. In 1990, IU welcomed its first class of Wells Scholars and on June 7, 1992, Wells' 90th birthday, he was officially presented with the Wells Scholars Program as a gift from his many friends and admirers. After his death in the spring of 2000, this community of talented and dedicated young scholars remains as a permanent legacy of his educational vision.

Wells Scholars receive full tuition and course-related fees, as well as a living stipend for four years of undergraduate study on the Bloomington campus of IU. The program also offers special seminars, an optional year of study abroad, and support for a summer research project or internship. The Wells program emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for community service, and contact with distinguished visitors.

Wells Scholars are selected for having demonstrated exceptional qualities of character and leadership and distinction both inside and outside of the classroom.

Cohen graduated from William Henry Harrison High School, where he earned distinction as a National Merit Finalist. An Indianapolis Star Academic All-Star, he was a four-year member of his school's Quiz Bowl team, which earned a state championship and qualified for national competition his junior and senior years.

He also wrote for his school newspaper, and he served as editor his junior and senior years. He was a summer staff writer for Lafayette' s Journal and Courier newspaper. In addition, he helped create a satirical, student-produced underground newspaper, The Flatline.

A drummer, he was a four-year member of his school's marching and jazz bands; and he played with Chamber Winds, his school's top concert band, which qualified for state competition his junior year. A member of the National Honor Society, Cohen volunteered as a math tutor for several students. In addition, he volunteered with the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art and a local soup kitchen; and he helped raise money for cancer research through Relay for Life. He plans to major in English.