University ‘excited’ about debates, looks to acquire more students

14 years ago Comments Off on University ‘excited’ about debates, looks to acquire more students

CLEVELAND (AP) – Case Western Reserve University, trying to shed its geeky science reputation and attract more liberal arts students coast-to-coast, will get a chance to shine when it hosts tonight’s vice-presidential debate.

“It’s a really exciting event for Case,” Halley Briglia, 19, a sophomore from Erie, Pa., said while studying on the campus grass. We’re going to be recognized even more.”

Case administrators certainly hope so. With 9,423 students and a $1.5 billion endowment, the private school’s science- and engineering-heavy reputation may be better known among graduate-level researchers than 12th graders applying to college.

“Just a small percentage of students across the United States have ever heard of Case,” said Michael Ruffner, associate vice president for marketing and communications.

As the only university in Ohio ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 50 national universities, Case hopes its day in the limelight leads to more applicants and a world-class reputation.

“We think when we fix that visibility problem, we’ll have a lot more opportunities to attract students from across the country and move this into a truly national university, the same as Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Harvard and MIT,” Ruffner said.

Case is doing its part to maximize the marketing opportunity as national media outlets swarm campus for the debate between Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic Sen. John Edwards.

The university has spent $4.1 million so far on the host fee and upgrades to the debate site in its handsome Veale athletic center – including upgraded ventilation required by the sponsoring debate commission to keep out chlorine fumes from the pool next door.

Centre College, a school of 1,070 students in Danville, Ky., hosted the 2000 vice-presidential debate between Cheney and Sen. Joseph Lieberman and got a nice boost in both applicants and contributions.

“In some ways Case is like us, on a different scale, a little bit of a hidden jewel,” said Clarence Wyatt, a Centre history professor who helped arrange that debate.