To:                   All Current and Alumni Freeman Scholars, and
                        Supporters of the Freeman Scholarship Program
 
From:              Freeman Asian Scholars Association Sustainability Taskforce
 
 
July 7, 2013
 
Dear Friend,
 
CHANGES TO THE FREEMAN ASIAN SCHOLARS PROGRAM
 
On June 27, the Freeman Asian Scholars Association (FASA) Sustainability Taskforce* received information from a non-Wesleyan source that the Freeman Foundation will end its financial support for the Freeman Asian Scholars Program after the Class of 2017. The following are the changes to the Program according to our source:
 
  • The Program will continue in the name of the Freeman family and foundation, but funds for the Class of 2018 onwards will come from Wesleyan;
  • The terms of the scholarship remain unchanged, at full sponsorship of tuition for one scholar from each of the 11 countries/areas, with the exception that the scholar selection process might be amended slightly.
When the Taskforce received this news, we promptly wrote to Terri Overton (Associate Dean of Admission-in-charge of Freeman Scholar recruitment and selection), Carol Scully (Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Grants at University Relations), and John and Gina Driscoll, to ascertain the news and to voice our concerns. The following was Dean Overton’s response:
 
There is no need for alarm. The Freeman Foundation and Wesleyan will continue our longstanding partnership in supporting the Freeman Asian Scholars Program. The foundation will continue funding the program for the next several years and Wesleyan is seeking to raise endowment support so that we will always have Freeman Scholars on campus.  We plan to use the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the program to raise funds from Freeman Scholar alumni and others toward this goal. We hope that you will be able to be part of this effort.
 
The same set of operating principles will be in place as I get going on recruiting the Freeman Scholars Class of 2018—i.e. one from each of the eleven countries, full tuition scholarship plus financial aid if needed to cover additional costs, etc.
 
CONCERNS AND ACTIONS
 
The Taskforce is heartened that at least for the immediate future, Wesleyan is committed to keeping this distinctive and special program.
 
However, given the financial imperatives that have forced Wesleyan to adopt austerity measures in recent years, we remain concerned about the long-term survival of the Freeman Scholars’ Program now that its anchor donor, the Freeman Foundation, is scaling down on its financial support.
 
With the above changes to the Program—as well as in anticipation of our upcoming 20th Anniversary—the FASA Taskforce is therefore writing to solicit your views and support for the Program’s long-term sustainability.
 
HOW YOU CAN HELP
 
As a result of the recent developments, as well as the information-gathering work that the Taskforce has undertaken over the past year, here are some recommendations for what you can do to help ensure that Freeman Scholars will always be on the Wesleyan campus:
 
(1) Write to Mr. Graeme Freeman ‘77 to express your appreciation of and/or gratitude for their support of the Program thus far, and your sadness that the Foundation is scaling down its support for the Program. Mr. Graeme Freeman may be contacted via e-mail through Gina Driscoll at gdriscoll@wesleyan.edu and/or John Driscoll at jdriscoll@wesleyan.edu.
 
(2)  Write to the President Michael Roth to convey your support for the Program, as well as your belief that the Program is important and valuable to Wesleyan. President Roth may be reached at:
 
Office of the President
Wesleyan University
229 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459
mroth@wesleyan.edu
 
We recommend that you convey your message by email, so that the following members of Roth’s leadership team may be copied into your correspondence:
 
Barbara-Jan Wilson,
Vice President for University Relations / bjwilson-at-wesleyan-dot-edu
Professor Ruth Striegel,
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs / rweissman-at-wesleyan-dot-edu
Nancy H. Meislahn,
Dean of Admission and Financial Aid / nmeislahn-at-wesleyan-dot-edu
 
(We would greatly appreciate it if you could copy the Taskforce in your email communications with the Foundation and the University at cng01@wesleyan.edu This will help us keep track of your support.)
 
(3)  We also hope that you can take some time to provide information and feedback to the FASA Taskforce to guide our work in advocating for the long-term survival of the Freeman Scholars Program. Please email Chun Kit Ng ’15 (cng01@wesleyan.edu) your responses to the following prompts:
 
  • What is distinctive and special about the Freeman Scholars Program? How does it add value to Wesleyan as an institution? Why is it worth preserving the Program, and having Freeman Scholars as part of our community?
  • Any personal anecdotes that illustrate the impact of the Freeman Scholars Program, as well as the meaningful legacy of the Freeman family.
  • (For alumni) What, specifically, do you think are the objectives of the Freeman Scholars Program? How, specifically, have you exemplified and lived up to the vision of Mr. Mansfield and Mr. Houghton Freeman? How has receiving the Scholarship helped you fulfill and extend this vision? What qualities do you see in Freeman Scholars?
We realize that there are overlaps between our three requests, and that these require a significant effort from you. Please feel free to repeat your points in your letters to the Foundation and to President Roth, or simply economize on your responses to us—even a few sentences or phrases will be helpful! We ask that you do so at your earliest convenience.
 
WAY AHEAD
 
Besides taking direction from your responses to determine our subsequent course of action, the Taskforce has begun working with the FASA Executive Committee on the following initiatives, among others:
 
(1)  Working with University Relations to explore the possibility of earmarking donations specifically for the Freeman Asian Scholars Program;
 
(2)  Soliciting recollections, messages and information from Freeman Scholar alumni and supporters in preparation for a 20th Anniversary commemorative publication; and
 
(3)  Engaging the Wesleyan administration and Board of Trustees to advocate for the long-term sustenance of the Freeman Scholars Program after compiling responses we receive from this round of information gathering.
 
We will reach out to you again in the near future to solicit specific information in regard to the above three initiatives.  Meanwhile, we ask that you forward this message widely to all who are concerned about the Freeman Scholars’ Program. We also welcome any input you may have that will help us as we step up our efforts to advocate for the Freeman Scholars Program at Wesleyan. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please feel free to contact the Taskforce through Ga Eun Yoo ’14 at gyoo01-at-wesleyan-dot-edu.
 
Thank you.
 
 
Best regards,
 
Gavin Swee ’13 and Alice Hadler**
on behalf of the FASA Sustainability Taskforce
 
 
*About the FASA Sustainability Taskforce
The FASA Taskforce was formed when a group of concerned Freeman Scholars began to have doubts about the Scholarship Program’s long-term survival. Beginning Fall 2012, the Taskforce has been working with the FASA Executive Committee on research and strategic initiatives aimed at the following:
 
(a)    Sustained and meaningful communication with alumni and allies of the Freeman Scholarship Program;
(b)    Positive engagement of the Freeman family and foundation that includes active student participation and direction;
(c)    Rejuvenation and revitalizing of the objectives of the Freeman Scholarship, as well as proactive FASA community-building for current scholars at Wesleyan; and
(d)    Active dialogue with the Wesleyan administration and faculty to promote the Freeman Asian Scholars Program and emphasize its value.
 
The current Taskforce consists of current and former FASA ExCo Chairs and members: Abraham Ngu ’13, Chi Le ’13, Nathan Wang ’13, Chen-chi Chien ’13, Bingxin Wu ’13, Gavin Swee ’13, Julian Theseira ’14, Ga Eun Yoo ’14, Kamonwan Arttachariya ’14, Chun Kit Ng ’15, Kaito Abe ’15, and Anh Tuan Nguyen Viet ’16.
 
The Taskforce is honored to be advised by Professor Alice Hadler, faculty advisor and all-round cheerleader for Freeman Scholars since the Program’s inception. We also gratefully acknowledge the contributions and input of Professor Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies.
 
**The Taskforce and our initiatives are entirely student initiated. Professor Hadler serves as our advisor, but did NOT write this letter or initiate our activity.