Ashland University implements Ukrainian Freedom Scholar Program to campus

Ashland University hopes to bring in more international students


Submitted by Maksym Polianskyi

Dr. Olga Monacell and Rich Policz, associate director of student programs, welcome four Ukrainian students to Ashland University through Ashbrook’s Freedom Scholar Program.

Ashland University has taken on a considerable role, introducing a new program called the Ukrainian Freedom Scholar Program which began in January.

This program offered five high school graduates from Ukraine full scholarships to AU, since they could not enroll in higher education with their home country being torn by war.

Only four students were selected for this program, and AU plans to select a fifth student for the fall semester.

This program will give these five Ukrainian students four years of financial assistance to attend AU.

This program is funded through multiple sources, including the Ashbrook Center, some donors, and the university itself. Despite the budget difficulties, this is an opportunity for AU to do the right thing in the service of others.

In addition to giving these students the chance of learning alongside AU faculty and students, AU is providing these students help with their work and internship opportunities, the chance to meet and interact with interesting speakers, and the chance to join in on many fun activities that the Ashbrook Scholars find to do together, such as theater, book clubs, movie nights, etc.

Along with these activities, The Ashbrook program hopes to help these students acquire the intellectual and moral virtues required for thoughtful citizenship in a free society.

“We hope that they learn to understand the history and principles of self-government and bring that knowledge back with them to rebuild Ukraine,” said Dr. Jeffery Sikkenga, executive director of the Ashbrook Center.

“The Ukrainian Freedom Scholar Program helps the university because it fulfills our commitment to a diverse campus community, and is also aligned with our Brethren heritage of helping others in the global community. In addition, it brings four bright young minds to our campus, and reflects our desire to be a blessing to others as we educate the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Carlos Campo, president of AU.

The Ashbrook Scholar Program at AU has decided to take on The Ukrainian Freedom Scholar Program.

“Ashbrook has a mission to educate young minds in the principle of self-government. The war in Ukraine has been difficult for bright young students wanting to pursue their education. We thought it would be a good thing to find hungry, talented students who wanted to study the kinds of things we like to have conversations about,” Sikkenga said. “It is not merely good for these Ukrainian scholars, it is good for the other students within the Ashbrook Scholar Program to have these perspectives and experiences within their midst.”

AU hopes to bring in more international students through implementing this program.

“We would love to develop a pipeline to Ukraine through this program, and hope that other international students will be inspired to apply to AU when they hear of this program,” Campo said. “We fully anticipate to see more students from Ukraine show interest in Ashland, but developing something like a formal pipeline will just take time.”

AU hopes to bring more programs like this one to bring diverse students to our campus, and we are hopeful that this program will foster many others in the future.

To read the highlighted profile To Survive and Rebuild: A Student Survival Story