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. The focus of the Center has been to restore and strengthen the capacities of the American people for constitutional self-government. The Center teaches students and teachers across our country what America is and what America represents in the long history of the world. Ashbrook creates informed patriots.
The Ashbrook Center’s programs began quite modestly in 1984 including the Ashbrook Scholar Program with just 14 students. Over the next 27 years, the Ashbrook Scholar Program has grown to include nearly 130 students today, and has achieved a national reputation as one of the finest programs for undergraduate students. As the undergraduate program grew, the Center’s capacity and capabilities grew as well, and has created further opportunities to pursue the Center’s purpose on a larger and broader scale.
Many of the Ashbrook Center’s friends and donors know the Center for sponsoring nationally and internationally known speakers. The Annual Ashbrook Memorial Dinner is the Center’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, the Center 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 the Center 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, The Ashbrook Center 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 Masters 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.