Western Reserve

Western Reserve

Western Reserve, tract of land in NE Ohio, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, retained by Connecticut in 1786 when it ceded its claims to its western lands (see Northwest Territory). In 1792, Connecticut gave 500,000 acres (202,350 hectares), called "firelands," to citizens whose property was burned during the American Revolution. The Connecticut Land Company bought (1795) the remaining land, and Cleveland was established (1796) as the first permanent settlement in the reserve. In 1800 the reserve gained government when it was included in the Northwest Territory as Trumbull co.; later this region was divided into 10 counties and parts of 4 others. The chief cities are Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Ashtabula, Lorain, and Sandusky.

Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, with some residence halls on the south end of campus located in Cleveland Heights. It was formed in 1967 by the federation of Case Institute of Technology (founded in 1880 by philanthropist Leonard Case Jr.) and Western Reserve University (founded in 1826 as the Western Reserve College in the area that was once the Connecticut Western Reserve). The university offers programs of study in Arts and Sciences, Dentistry, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Sciences.


The university in its present form consists of ten schools:


Case Western Reserve University's endowment ranks at #30 among all U.S. colleges and universities. The university comes in at #18 for largest endowment growth over the past 20 years, experiencing an increase of 393% in that time (See: List of U.S. colleges and universities by endowment). However, the university finished the 2007 fiscal year with a $20 million operating deficit due to poor financial management.

According to U.S. News & World Report's 2008 rankings, Case's undergraduate program is ranked #1 in Ohio and #41 among national universities. It is most highly regarded for its medical school (currently ranked #21 and #28 for research and primary care, respectively, in US News rankings) and Biomedical Engineering department, which ranks at #7 among undergraduate and graduate biomedical engineering programs.

In 2006, The Times ranked Case 26th in the US and 60th worldwide.

Among national universities, the 2006 US News rankings placed the Weatherhead School of Management undergraduate program at #29 with the Case School of Engineering undergraduate school taking the #39 spot. In 2004, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences was ranked #11. When last ranked in 2006, the graduate program at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing came in at #5. In the 2008 rankings, Case was listed at #22 for Best Value institutions, which are defined as colleges which offer a quality education for a low cost when taking into account scholarships and financial aid awards.

A release of medical school rankings from the National Institutes of Health shows that Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and its affiliates has attained an overall institutional ranking of 12th among the nation’s 122 medical schools.

The National Science Foundation has ranked Research and Development Expenditures for Case at #34 among all US colleges and universities. Furthermore, Case ranks at #32 for Federal Obligations to support Science and Engineering Growth and Development.

The Advocate ranked Case Western Reserve University one of the top 100 LGBT-friendly universities, evidence of the University's improvements in diversity standards over the past decade and welcoming more LGBT students and families into the community.


The university is approximately five miles (8 km) east of downtown Cleveland in University Circle, a 550 acre (220 ha) area containing numerous educational, medical, and cultural institutions. Case has a number of programs taught in conjunction with nearby institutions, including the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and the Cleveland Play House.

There are two main transportation options for students: For on- and near-campus transportation, Case Western Reserve University has a fleet of shuttle buses known as "Greenies"; for longer trips, students may use the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus and rail system. Each undergraduate student receives an unlimited RTA pass, which is paid for via a mandatory $25 fee per semester.

Case Western Reserve University does not manage its parking lots, requiring students, faculty, and staff to purchase permits from University Circle Incorporated. The rates vary between approximately $30 and $80 per month, with multi-year waiting lists on the most popular lots.

The university owns parking garages, one by the Village at 115th and the other near the Veale Athletic Center. Permits for these two lots are purchased from Case Western Reserve University, and cost about $600 per semester.


, the university had 4,186 undergraduate students and 5,766 graduate and professional students. The undergraduate student body hails from all 50 states and 82 countries.

Student life

Unless students are living with a relative within forty miles of the university, Case Western Reserve University requires first and second year students to live in on-campus housing. Meal plan participation is also mandatory for first year students and sophomores, with some exceptions made for religious and medical reasons. New housing for underclassmen, along with a "Greek village" bringing all the college's fraternities and sororities together with the other undergraduates, is slated to be constructed in the future.

The residence halls are divided into two areas, one featuring suite-style rooms for second-year students and upperclassmen and the other featuring double and single rooms for first year students. Both have gigabit ethernet network access and the wired network is one of the fastest that exists. A wireless campus network is also available anywhere on campus, also ranked one of the fastest by Intel in 2005. Buildings are organized into "colleges," grouping together students of similar ages and creating a sense of ownership and hall pride. New housing, known as the Village at 115, was opened in fall 2005 for upperclassmen, which features one to nine person, "apartment-style" residence halls that come with air conditioning, full kitchen area, and full-sized beds.

Residence Life at Case Western Reserve University has a recent history of being liberal in its policies, including allowing co-ed suites (an option offered to upperclass students, when requested and agreed upon by all occupants of a suite), and a 3-day guest policy. Pets are allowed except for dogs, cats, ferrets, and a few other small mammals but requests are granted discussion.

Graduate students are not offered housing.

A campus shuttle runs to Coventry Village, a shopping district in neighboring Cleveland Heights. Cleveland's Little Italy is within walking distance. The Legacy Village, Severance Center, and Shaker Square shopping centers are all within driving distance or accessible by RTA.

First year experience

First year students are grouped into one of three residential colleges that are overseen by first year coordinators. The Mistletoe, Juniper, and Magnolia residential colleges were established when the "First Year Experience" system was introduced, and Cedar was created in the fall of 2005 to accommodate a large influx of new students. The residential colleges plan events together and are run by college councils that take student input and use it to plan social and community service-oriented activities.

In the fall of 2007, Magnolia was integrated into Mistletoe. The areas of focus for each college – Cedar: visual and performing arts; Mistletoe: service leadership; and Juniper: multiculturalism – remain the same.

Quality of life

The university's retention rate for 2005 was 92 percent.

SAGES Program

Around the year 2001, after much work by the administration, the University drew up a proposal for the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) program. A number of committees and task forces had examined existing research describing what seemed to be the most positive, effective learning experience for undergraduate students. They determined that students gain the most from having close contact with faculty. The university therefore decided to include an advising system as part of SAGES in order to offer a means of faculty support for incoming students. To strengthen this connection, the University chose a seminar approach because small groups afford more discussion with professors in class. Students also benefit from the seminars because they mirror how people interact professionally.

In 2002, Case Western Reserve University instituted a pilot program which required students to take one First Year Seminar (designed around the theme "The Life of the Mind") and three University Seminars, and then to close their final year with a Senior Capstone project. The pilot ran for three years with a small group of undergraduates participating. After reviewing the data gathered from the pilot’s run, the faculty voted to revise it such that the requirements included one First Year Seminar, two University Seminars, one Departmental Seminar, and a final Senior Capstone. The logic behind this change was that the addition of a Departmental Seminar would allow students to choose a class within their major, keeping the program engaging. The First Year Seminars were also altered so that the themes around which the classes were organized included not only “Life of the Mind,” but also “The Natural World,” “The Social World,” and “The Symbolic World.” This arrangement offers students a better chance of having a class available that interests them, increasing their personal investment in the course. Since a primary focus of the SAGES program is to sharpen student’s written communication skills, many First Year Seminars that are not taught by English professors have an additional writing instructor. Finally, the faculty voted to shrink class sizes from 25 to 17 in order to foster a better sense of community between students, their peers, and their teachers.

SAGES skeptics believe that the program is driven more by marketing than by educational motives. Many of the individual seminars in SAGES resemble "regular" courses that were offered years ago at the university, often taught by the same faculty members; in most cases, the SAGES courses bear new names. Stephen Budiansky criticized the program in an op-ed piece in The New York Times called "Brand U".. He wrote that he ran across Case Western Reserve's SAGES program while researching a satirical novel to be based on "how colleges prostitute themselves to improve their U.S. News & World Report rankings," but became derailed in his research as reality outstripped his imagination.

Budiansky quoted SAGES promotional literature sent to him by a friend at the university:

Called SAGES (this supposedly stands for Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship), the program offers as an essential component of its core intellectual experience an upscale cafe that serves Peet's Coffee and is "staffed by baristas whose expertise in preparing espresso is matched only by their authoritative knowledge of all things SAGES."

While the content of each SAGES class varies depending on the professor, the intent is to teach the same lesson: how to function and communicate effectively. The program stresses written, verbal, and presentational abilities. The seminar setting of the class improves students’ facility with working in collaborative small groups, as would be found in many professional environments. All of these skills are gained through the conduit of each class’s individual approach. In other words, by participating in seminars with themes like “Life of the Mind,” “The Symbolic World,” and so forth, students gain capabilities that are pertinent to today’s job market, skills that employers are seeking in potential employees.

An exceptional feature of the program’s design is participation by all undergraduate students in “SAGES Fourth Hour” events. Each first year seminar class is scheduled for an additional hour and fifteen minute block twice a week for the purpose of introducing new students to the cultural sites located a short walking distance from campus. Students are taken to such places as the Cleveland Natural History Museum, the Botanical Gardens, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Severance Hall, where the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra is housed. Fourth hour classes are also used as extra class time for professors to extend their lessons, or for students to meet on their own for group projects.

Before Case Western Reserve University instituted the SAGES program, undergraduate students had, as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Jill Korbin put it, a "Chinese restaurant menu" of courses prescribed to them to fulfill their General Education Requirement.

There is some concern that SAGES has placed a financial burden on the University. Because the classes are designed to be small and intimate, a greater number of faculty members are required to participate. To staff the SAGES courses, Case Western Reserve University has reassigned some faculty effort away from departmental courses to SAGES classes, thereby drawing to SAGES some teachers who might be potentially reluctant to participate. There is also some concern among departmental faculty that enrollment in SAGES diminishes enrollment in departmental courses.

Despite these problems, most faculty members do not foresee any major changes being made to SAGES. They wish for the program to remain malleable, though. Accordingly, if they perceive that something is not working for the students, they will vote to revise it. Some professors, such as Peter Whiting, are seeking to make the change policy more flexible to facilitate this process. Professor Paul Blackman seems to favor of the status quo, while Professor Mary Middleton seeks a more middle-of-the-road approach.

Many students would like to see the First Seminars become more focused, defined, consistent, or goal-oriented. Second-year students, however, tend to agree that they enjoy their University Seminars more than their First Year Seminars because the classes are more topical, allowing them to choose something in which they have a deep interest. Fourth Hours tend to be popular amongst first years, for they broaden their understanding of the cultural opportunities available near the University. Fifth Hours are much less popular as many students are tired, or even exhausted, by then. While they may find some faults with the program, students appreciate the variety of topics, the small group discussions, and the opportunity to network with people outside of their majors that SAGES affords.

Greek system

Nearly a third of the campus undergraduates are in a fraternity or sorority. There are 9 sororities, one sororal colony, and 18 fraternities. Recently semi-recognition has been given to a colony of Omega Tau Zeta. During the Fall of 2006, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was removed from the Case Western Reserve University campus due to legal issues. In the Spring of 2007, Phi Gamma Delta returned to the Case Western Reserve University Greek-life. With the Fall 2007 semester, Sigma Alpha Mu will be returning to Case (though the nationals still recognize the chapter), and a new sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, will be joining the Greek community. List of current fraternities and sororities may be found on the university website.

In addition, the governing bodies of all fraternities and sororities on campus are known for their excellence. The Interfraternity Congress and Panhellenic Council received recognition in the following categories, as well as earning the highest honor in their respective councils, by the Mid-American Greek Council Association regarding the 2006-2007 school year:

Panhel Awards: Academic Achievement, Council Management, Philanthropy & Community Service, Leadership & Educational Development, Public Relations, Membership Recruitment, Risk Reduction & Management, Self-Governance & Judicial Affairs, Sutherland Award for Division II. IFC Awards: Academic Achievement, Council Management, Philanthropy & Community Service, Leadership & Education Development, Public Relations, Membership Recruitment, Risk Reduction & Management, Self-Governance & Judicial Affairs, Jellison Award for Division III.


On October 5 2004, Case hosted the Vice Presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards.

On May 9, 2003, Biswanath Halder, an alumnus of the school, went on a shooting spree, killing one student, Norman Wallace, and wounding a professor and a Ph.D. student in the Frank Gehry-designed Peter B. Lewis Building, home of the Weatherhead School of Management. Halder held off police and SWAT officers for about 7 hours in sniper-like gun battles while approximately 100 people hid in offices and closets until they were rescued by police. Halder was ultimately apprehended by a SWAT team in a 5th floor classroom closet. Dateline NBC aired a report on this shooting in 2006 complete with actual video footage of the shooting, interviews with Halder and Wallace's family members, and discussions about Halder's motive.

Each year, the university holds an Ohio regional Science Olympiad Tournament for Divisions B and C.

Sports, clubs, and traditions

Varsity athletics

Case Western Reserve University has been a member of the University Athletic Association (UAA) since the early nineties. The conference participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division III. The university offers 10 men's sports and nine women's sports. Two of the teams attained unprecedented success in the fall of 2006, with the women's cross country team winning the Great Lakes regional championship for the first time, and the men's soccer team earning its first-ever NCAA tournament bid.

The Case Men's Soccer team finished their 2006 season with a 17-2-2 record and a UAA championship. The team reached the Sweet 16 in their first ever NCAA Division III tournament appearance and concluded the season ranked 12th in the nation.

The Case Women's Cross Country Team finished the 2006 season with a UAA Championship, and a bid to the NCAA Championship. The Lady Spartans finished 10th in the nation. The team's 2007 season culminated in a 6th place finish at the NCAA national championship.

The Case Football team finished the 2007 season with the school's first UAA Championship in football and one playoff win.


The Hudson Relays is an annual tradition at Case Western Reserve University that occurs on the last weekend before finals every spring semester. It is a relay race between teams drawn from each class year. The race is a distance of . Originally, the race was run from Hudson, Ohio, the original site of Western Reserve University, to the present location of the school in University Circle. Since the mid-1980s, the race has been run entirely in the University Circle area. University tradition is that if a class wins the relay for each of its four years, the team will be rewarded with a champagne and steak dinner with the President of the university. The most recent class to achieve this was the class of 2006. The winning class for each year is carved on a boulder located behind Adelbert Hall.

Springfest is a day-long concert and student group festival which occurs later the same day of Hudson Relays. The University Program Board brings in several bands and a beer garden, student groups set up booths to entertain the student body, and various inflatable carnival-style attractions are brought in to add to the theoretically festive atmosphere. Occasionally, due to adverse weather conditions, the festival must be moved indoors, usually to Thwing Center or Adelbert Gym.

Halloween at the Farm is a tradition established in the fall of 2002. Halloween at the Farm takes place at the Squire Valleevue Farm in Hunting Valley, Ohio. Students, their families, and faculty are invited to enjoy games, a bonfire, an open air concert, and hay rides. Organized by the members of the Class Officer Collective, HatF is one of the biggest events of the year.

Since 1974, the Film Society of Case Western Reserve University has held a science fiction marathon. The film festival has a very large crowd that enjoys food and over 30 hours of non-stop movies including modern, classic, and surprise science fiction films.

Notable students, alumni and faculty

Case Alumni Association

The Case Alumni Association (CAA) is one of the oldest independent alumni organization in the United States, having been organized in 1885. Membership in the Association is conferred upon all graduates of the Case School of Applied Sciences, Case Institute of Technology, Case School of Engineering, and the mathematics and science departments within the College of Arts and Sciences. Those who have attended any of the above institutions for at least one semester are considered members of the association.

CAA recently expanded its reach by establishing chapters ("Case Clubs") in various U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Boston.


Following is a partial list of major contributions made by faculty, staff, and students at Case:

  • Case was the site of the famous Michelson-Morley interferometer experiment, conducted in 1887 by Albert Abraham Michelson of Case Institute of Technology and E. W. Morley of Western Reserve University. This experiment proved the non-existence of the ether and gave circumstantial evidence to substantiate Einstein's special theory of relativity (Profs. Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley, 1887).
  • Albert Abraham Michelson, who became the first American to win a Nobel Prize in science, taught at Case Institute of Technology. He won the prize in Physics in 1907.
  • Discovered the atomic weight of oxygen, the basis for calculating the weights of all other elements (Prof. Morley, 1895).
  • Performed the first full X-ray of the human body—on himself (Prof. Dayton C. Miller, 1896).
  • Performed the first modern blood transfusion using a coupling device to connect blood vessels (Dr. George W. Crile, 1905).
  • Pioneered chlorination of drinking water to eradicate the source of typhoid bacilli (Dr. Roger G. Perkins, 1912).
  • Developed simulated milk formula for infants (Dr. Henry J. Gerstenberger,1915).
  • Pioneered surgical treatment of coronary artery disease (Dr. Claude S. Beck, 1935).
  • Developed the first heart-lung machine to be used during open heart surgery (Dr. Frederick S. Cross, 1950s).
  • Performed the first successful lifesaving defibrillation of the human heart (Dr. Beck, 1947) and developed the method of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) (Dr. Beck, 1952).
  • Detected for the first-time neutrinos created by cosmic ray collisions with the earth's atmosphere and developed innovative particle detectors (Prof. Frederick Reines, 1965). Case had selected Prof. Reines as chairman of the physics department based on Reines's work in first detecting neutrinos emitted from a nuclear reactor—work for which Reines in 1995 shared the Nobel Prize.
  • Pioneered the materials science of polymers with the creation of first comprehensive polymer science and engineering department at a major U.S. university (Eric Baer, 1967).
  • Developed a test for infants to identify mental retardation within one year of birth (Prof. Joseph F. Fagan, 1987).
  • Created the first artificial human chromosomes, opening the door to more detailed study of human genetics and potentially offering a new approach to gene therapy. (Prof. Huntington F. Willard of the School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, in collaboration with colleagues at Athersys, Inc., 1997).
  • Pioneered Local Loop Unbundling in Africa. He also chaired the Local Loop Unbundling Committee on behalf of the South African Government (Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala).

In 2007, a team from Case participated in the DARPA Urban Challenge with a robotic car named DEXTER. Team Case placed as one of 36 semi-finalists. Dexter was the only car in the race without any seating for humans, and the only one to be built from the ground up as a robot car.

Today, the university operates several facilities off campus for scientific research. One notable example of this is the Warner and Swasey Observatory at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.


WRUW-FM is the campus radio station of Case Western Reserve University. Its motto "More Music, Fewer Hits" can be seen adorning the rear bumpers of many vehicles in the area. WRUW broadcasts at a power of 15,000 watts and covers most of Northeast Ohio 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

WRUW is staffed by CWRU students and community volunteers. The station's format can be classified as non-commercial "variety."

CWRU is also home to several performing ensembles, including a cappella groups such as the Case Men's Glee Club, Case in Point, Speakeasy, Dhamakapella, Bigger Than A Breadbox, and Solstice.


Case had the first ABET-accredited program in computer engineering.

In 1968, the university formed a private company, Chi Corporation, to provide computer time to both it and other customers. Initially this was on a Univac 1108 (replacing the preceding UNIVAC 1107), 36 bit, one's complement machine. The company was sold in 1977 to Robert G. Benson in Beachwood, Ohio.

Project Logos, under ARPA contract, was begun within the department on a DEC System-10 (later converted to TENEX (BBN) in conjunction with connection to the ARPANET) to develop a computer-aided computer design system. This system consisted in a distributed, networked, graphics environment, a control and data flow designer and logic (both hardware and software) analyzer. Graphics and animation became another departmental focus with the acquisition of an Evans & Sutherland LDS-1, which was hosted by the DEC System-10, and later with the acquisition of the stand alone LDS-2.

Case was one of the earliest universities to be connected to the ARPANET, predecessor to the Internet. ARPANET went online in 1969; Case was connected in January, 1971.

Case pioneered the early Free-net computer systems, creating the first Free-net, The Cleveland Free-Net, as well as writing the software that drove a majority of those systems, known as FreePort. The Cleveland Free-Net was shut down in late 1999, as it had become obsolete.

It was the first university to have an all-fiber-optic network, in 1989.

At the inaugural meeting in October, 1996, Case was one of the thirty-four charter university members of Internet2.

The university was ranked #1 in Yahoo Internet Life's 1999 Most Wired College list. There was a perception that this award was obtained through partially false or inaccurate information submitted for the survey, and the university did not appear at all on the 2000 Most Wired College list (which included 100 institutions); the numbers reported were much lower than those which had been submitted by Ray Neff in 1999. The university had previously placed #13 in the 1997 poll.

In August 2003, Case joined the Internet Streaming Media Alliance, then one of only two university members.

In September 2003, Case opened 1,230 public wireless access points on the Case campus and University Circle.

Case was one of the founding members of OneCleveland, formed in October 2003. OneCleveland is an "ultra broadband" (gigabit speed) fiber optic network. This network is for the use of organizations in education, research, government, healthcare, arts, culture, and the nonprofit sector in Greater Cleveland.

Case is also known for its Virtual Worlds gaming computer lab, which opened in 2005. The lab has a large network of Alienware PCs equipped with game development software such as the Torque Game Engine and Maya 3D modeling software. Additionally, it contains a number of specialized advanced computing rooms including a medical simulation room, a MIDI instrument music room, a 3D projection "immersion room", a virtual reality research room, and console room, which features video game systems such as Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Wii. This laboratory can be used by any student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, and is heavily used for the Game Development (EECS 290) course.

Popular culture

Severance Hall, adjacent to campus, was also featured in the 1997 film Air Force One. The scene during the opening credits shows a night-time military raid on the presidential palace of the leader of Kazakhstan. Severance Hall was chosen to depict the palace. During the scene, several landmarks of Case Western Reserve University are visible, including the Thwing Center (the student union) and the Dittrick Medical History Center.

In the 1999 film Being John Malkovich, it is mentioned that Floris, played by Mary Kay Place, has "her doctorate in speech impedimentology from Case Western."

The university was featured prominently in the 2006 film The Oh in Ohio. Jack, played by Paul Rudd, becomes romantically involved with Case student Kristin (played by Mischa Barton). In one scene, Jack drops Kristin off at the "Case Biophysics building", which is actually the Peter B. Lewis Building, part of Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management. In this scene, a number of actual Case students were cast as extras, and a few were given minor speaking roles and included in the credits.

Naming controversy

In 2003, the university unveiled a new logo and branding campaign that emphasized the "Case" portion of its name. In 2006, interim university president Gregory Eastwood convened a task group to study reactions to the campaign. The panel's report indicated that it had gone so poorly that "there appear to be serious concerns now about the university's ability to recruit and maintain high-quality faculty, fund-raising and leadership." Also, the logo was derided among the university's community and alumni and throughout northeastern Ohio; critics said it looked like "a fat man with a surfboard.

In 2007, the university's board of trustees approved a shift back to giving equal weight to "Case" and "Western Reserve". A new logo was chosen and implementation began July 1. In an open letter to the university community, interim president Eastwood admitted that "the university had misplaced its own history and traditions.


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