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News, Events & Resources

2008 Reynolds Graduate Selection Event



Wayne and Catherine Reynolds

On April 18, 2008, the 3rd Annual NYU Reynolds Graduate Fellowship Selection Event kicked off when a remarkable group of individuals gathered at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Seventy-nine fellowship candidates from across the country and around the world, sixty-five Selection Event judges (distinguished leaders from across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors), the current class of Reynolds fellows and scholars, and senior leadership from NYU including President John Sexton joined together for a gala cocktail party to celebrate the program and begin the difficult task of choosing the 3rd class of Reynolds Graduate Fellows. We were particularly honored this year as Cathy and Wayne Reynolds - whose vision and support have made this program possible - joined us as well.


Abigail Bornstein delivering David Bornstein's toast

President John Sexton and Dean Ellen Schall of the Wagner School of Public Service (where this cross-university program is housed) gave welcoming addresses and a special toast was given on behalf of David Bornstein - notable author of How to Change the World and The Price of a Dream - by his wife Abigail. A second toast was given by one of the Reynolds Program's Social Entrepreneurial Coaches, Susan Davis, who is also the founder and current President and CEO of BRAC USA. You can hear their talk by clicking here, but we were particularly proud of President Sexton's assessment that, "The NYU Reynolds Program manifests the very soul of NYU."


NYU President John Sexton

Each of the finalists assembled had already survived a rigorous initial selection process. From a pool of nearly 500 applicants seeking to gain admission to one of the eleven NYU graduate schools, a cohort of 156 semifinalists were named. The finalists were then chosen through a university-wide Internal Selection Committee consisting of senior NYU faculty and administrators. Each of the finalists demonstrated promise in regards to seven core competencies that are important to changemaking efforts: intellectual achievement, commitment to issues of social importance, ethical integrity, creativity in goal setting and method, persistence and flexibility in reaching goals, self assessment, and leadership. More than that, each of these finalists had shown the promise of future achievement as a changemaker in one or more of three areas: creating pattern-breaking social change in ways that are sustainable and scalable; building and sustaining the social entrepreneurial infrastructure required for such visionary efforts to take root and flourish; or spurring others to action through the media and the arts.


Wagner Dean Ellen Schall

The next day saw the last and most grueling round of the assessment process. The Reynolds judges have broad-based backgrounds in the social entrepreneurial, philanthropic, NGO, and business communities, and have maintained an active engagement with the program over time; approximately half of this year's judges have served as Reynolds judges before. They include leaders of social service programs, authors, lawyers, financiers, social entrepreneurs and socially entrepreneurial thought leaders. Profiles of all the 2008 judges can be found by clicking here.


NYU Reynolds Social Entrepreneurial Coach and BRAC USA CEO, Susan Davis

In the course of the competition some of the judges interviewed five to six candidates individually for 45-minutes. Then different, five-judge panels led the candidates through two 50-minute group exercises, one focusing on a specific social issue, the other involving pattern-recognition and pattern-breaking activities. The candidates took lunch with Dean Kate Stimpson of NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Science, during which they also had an opportunity to talk with current Reynolds Fellows and Scholars.


Dean Schall, President Sexton and NYU Reynolds Director Gabriel Brodbar

Twelve 2008 NYU Reynolds Graduate Fellows were selected on the basis of their performance in these interviews and exercises, according to the judges assessment of how well they met the programs core competencies and future aspirations. (View complete profiles of the 2007 and 2008 Reynolds Fellows, as well as Alumni.) Each of the successful candidates will receive a $50,000 grant over two years of study, as well as intensive curricular and co-curricular activities designed to help them realize their vision of change. This includes dedicated academic programming, a special required class, the NYU Reynolds Speaker Series and many other activities.

A separate selection process is utilized for the undergraduate Reynolds Scholar program. Sixty-nine rising juniors were nominated as semi-finalists from across the entire university. From these nominations, twenty finalists were identified through a university-wide Internal Selection Committee. During the week of February 11-16, 2008, each finalist participated in an hour-long interview with a panel of 3 judges. Panels varied on a daily basis and consisted of current Reynolds Fellows, the Reynolds Program Director, Gabriel Brodbar and members in the social entrepreneurial community, including Laura Fernandez, Assistant Executive Director of the Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families Incarcerated Mother's Program; Bruce Arbit, a consultant and NYU Reynolds Expert Advisor in Strategic philanthropy; and Rise Wilson, founder of The Laundromat Project, Inc. Following, each candidate participated in a discussion with two current Reynolds Scholars.

Ten scholarship winners were named, each of whom will receive $40,000 over two years of study, plus a paid summer internship and an intensive curricular and co-curricular component. (View complete profiles of the 2007 and 2008 Reynolds Scholars, as well as Alumni.)