The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University was established and named in honor of the late Congressman John M. Ashbrook, who represented Ohio’s 17th Congressional district for 21 years. President Ronald Reagan personally dedicated the Center on May 9, 1983.
Ashbrook’s programs began quite modestly in 1984, including the Ashbrook Scholar Program with just 14 students. Over the next decades, the Ashbrook Scholar Program grew and achieved a national reputation as one of the finest programs for undergraduate students. As the undergraduate program developed, Ashbrook’s capacity and capabilities grew as well and has created further opportunities to pursue the Ashbrook’s purpose on a larger and broader scale.
Many of Ashbrook’s friends and donors know Ashbrook for sponsoring nationally and internationally respected speakers. The Annual Ashbrook Memorial Dinner is Ashbrook’s largest fund-raising event each year. It also became a vital aspect of the Ashbrook Scholar Program, allowing students to sit with and to engage national leaders of political thought. Over the years, Ashbrook has added other lecture series and colloquia to further engage not only Ashbrook students but also the American people and friends of the center.
Ashland University has long been known for its College of Education, and it did not take long before Ashbrook also initiated educational forums for secondary education teachers. A two-week summer institute for teachers was first held in 1991 and continued through 1993. Private grant support was found to again offer the program in 1997. These programs were met with great interest and appreciation from those attending. In 2005, Ashbrook formalized its efforts to better engage the individuals most responsible for teaching American history to our middle school and high school youth, and introduced the Master of American History and Government degree program.
The Master’s program was created to address the lack of proper history and civic education in our schools by providing teachers with a deep and broad understanding of the subjects they teach, focusing on the use of original historical documents in the classroom. The program does not teach methodology or classroom management techniques.