A Message President Barbara R. Snyder
Routine – and revolutionary
This program fully merits both descriptions. The Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program offers courses and teachers, schedules and special events. Look more closely, however, and you will see unmistakable signs of something new. Something special. And something with extraordinary potential for every single person who chooses to become part of it. This program contains the results of a partnership we announced with great enthusiasm earlier this year. After extensive promising discussions, Case Western Reserve University and Siegal College have come together to provide exceptional opportunities for Northeast Ohio residents who seek to increase their knowledge, skills, and understanding. With the support and engagement of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, we aim to strengthen our respective existing programs, and also explore ways in which we can collaborate to engage learners in exciting and innovative ways.
This collaboration offers all of us a rich opportunity to build upon this region's proud history of intellectual engagement across an array of subjects and disciplines. It also carries the potential to enable us to develop additional initiatives to serve existing students and attract new participants. This effort is but a beginning. As always, we welcome your ideas and insights about what you see and experience. We want to know what works, what we can do better and what additional efforts we might consider. Like everyone who enrolls in our fall courses, we too will learn as the season unfolds.
I want to express my gratitude to the individuals who made this arrangement possible, Laura and Alvin Siegal. It would be difficult to find two people whose appreciation of lifelong learning is more heartfelt and profound. Their generosity and vision have lifted the aspirations we all have for this collaboration. On behalf of all who worked tirelessly to craft and then launch this program, and everyone who will benefit from it, I say to both of them, thank you.
Barbara R. Snyder, President
LAURA AND ALVIN SIEGAL
The original precursor to Siegal College began 87 years ago near the corner of East Boulevard and East 105th Street. Today Laura and Alvin Siegal have brought the institution back to its University Circle roots with a $3 million commitment to create a cooperative venture between the college that bears their names and Case Western Reserve University.
The collaboration combines two outstanding programs of adult education into one comprehensive initiative designed to enhance lifelong learning throughout the region. The university's efforts in this regard date back to the waning years of World War I, and a one-time Cleveland mayor named Newton D. Baker. As Secretary of War for President Woodrow Wilson, Baker identified education programs as a means to keep U. S. soldiers stationed in Europe engaged and optimistic. The success of initiatives launched during the war's final stages later inspired Baker to launch the American Association of Adult Education. It also moved him to act as an energetic advocate for such programs when he returned to Cleveland.
From its beginnings in 1925 to the present, adult learning programs have attracted a wide range of students to University Circle, the university's Squire Valleevue Farm and several off-campus locations throughout Northeast Ohio.
The seeds Baker had planted regarding troops and educational opportunity took full hold in 1944, when Congress passed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, known more commonly as the GI Bill. Al Siegal was one of the soldiers to take advantage of the opportunity the legislation offered, earning a degree in accounting at Western Reserve in 1949. Alvin founded the Leader Mortgage Company, which became the largest servicer of first-time home buyers in the country. Meanwhile, his wife, Laura, became a spokesperson for the Illuminating Company, now known as FirstEnergy Corp. She later hosted Opinion Line, a Cleveland news-radio show. It was nearly a quarter century ago that Al Siegal joined the board of the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. By 2002, the couple's significant contributions of time, energy and resources inspired academic leaders to change the institution's name to the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies. During the process of exploring the prospects for a joint program with CWRU, participants engaged Alvin and Laura Siegal to determine their willingness to assist with such an effort. The couple quickly recognized the rich synergies inherent in such a collaboration, and offered their support. In honor of this generosity, the entire combined program now bears their name.
"The title reflects the new program's connection with Siegal College, " Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder said, "and also celebrates Al and Laura's ongoing commitment to encouraging lifelong learning for our entire Northeast Ohio community. "