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Cover of Autumn 2002 - Winter 2003 Issue

The Cormier Center for Citizen Scholars

To Patricia and Raymond Cormier, Cicero's words are not just a meaningful quote; they are a way of life – a way of life the Cormiers strive to live themselves and one they hope the students of the University they love so much, Longwood University, will seek to emulate.

It is understandable, therefore, that from the contemplative life of Raymond Cormier, his forays into Homer, Socrates, Cicero, and Virgil, to the active and committed life of Longwood's president came the notion of citizen-scholars.

At the core of Longwood's mission, as defined by the Longwood community, is "to educate citizen leaders for the common good of society." More than a slogan or a marketing tool, "citizen leadership for the common good" is an institutional value.

What is Longwood's definition of a Citizen Leader? The Citizen Leader is a lifelong learner possessed of a natural intelligence that has been developed and refined through rigorous participation in a learning-centered educational experience.

The Citizen Leader is dedicated to the concept of societal responsibility, continually acknowledging through word and deed that each human being has a fundamental responsibility to contribute to the well being of his or her fellows.

The Citizen Leader has the ability to apply knowledge and learning in a practical and beneficial manner to the different situations and circumstances he or she will confront in life. The Citizen Leader respects democratic principles, most importantly equality, civility, tolerance, honesty and duty. The Citizen Leader is a catalyst for meaningful change.

Building upon Longwood's dedication to developing citizen leaders, the Cormiers believed that a Center for Citizen Scholars would be instrumental in Longwood's ability to achieve a distinctive new level of excellence. They wanted to see a program developed for a select number of highly qualified, socially mature students, one that would introduce distinctive and uncommon experiences to model behavior and provide the real practice of effective citizenship.

The Center would provide these select students with opportunities to enhance their educational experiences while contributing to the betterment of society. Projects would relate to services in such fields as public health, government, the military, social welfare, political office, agricultural/ environmental programs or not-for-profit agencies. Through a wide range of interdisciplinary academic opportunities with a unique emphasis on public service, students will benefit from academic discussion of ideas combined with practical experiences of project development, implementation, and review.

One of the seven objectives of the University's successfully completed first comprehensive campaign, a turning point: The Campaign for Longwood, was The Center for Citizen Scholars. The campaign raised over $33 million.

In appreciation of the Cormiers' dedication to the Citizen Scholar program, the Longwood Board of Visitors adopted a resolution on June 18, 2004, naming the program The Cormier Center for Citizen Scholars. The Board cited the Cormiers' unselfish donation of time, energy and enthusiasm to the successful campaign, their commitment to academic excellence, and their personal campaign commitment designated for The Center for Citizen Scholars. The resolution also recognized that the program was conceived and designed by the Cormiers.

"Both Raymond and I are honored beyond words that this program has been named for us. We are confident that the Center will produce exceptional citizen scholars," said President Cormier. "To contribute to students who will be prepared to play an active role in addressing the critical issues that confront our communities is very rewarding to us."

The Cormier Center for Citizen Scholars will become Longwood's signature scholarship program within the existing Honors Program. Students selected to be Citizen Scholars will focus on scholarship and leadership throughout their four years at Longwood, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in some area of public service.

Honors Program Director Dr. Geoffrey Orth said, "It is very appropriate that the Center for Citizen Scholars be named in honor of Patricia and Raymond Cormier. Through their vision the Center became one of the leading priorities in the recently completed comprehensive campaign. The Cormiers have demonstrated their belief in the program again and again through their own personal commitment, and have shown that Longwood takes its mission
of preparing citizen scholars and leaders for our world most seriously."

President Cormier said "Our efforts will continue to raise the monies needed to fully fund the Center's program endowment. The breadth of a dream can be fortified by the challenges it encounters." A goal of $4 million was set to endow the Center during Longwood's first comprehensive campaign. To date, $3.3 million has been raised.

"Significant leadership is, for me, the conscious and unremitting application of a values system, a values system based on the ancient belief that humankind is responsible for itself, that each one of us has a responsibility to care for ourselves, for others and to contribute to the common good," said President Cormier. "Raymond and I hope the students who go through the Cormier Center for Citizen Scholars embrace a pervasive, caring and compassionate set of values – a values system that is as old as humanity, values that enlighten virtually every wise tradition of our world.