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The Ford Boys (pdf) - Wisconsin Alumni Association

The Ford Boys (pdf) - Wisconsin Alumni Association

The Ford Boys (pdf) - Wisconsin Alumni

The Ford Boys In the 1950s, the UW joined an experiment that But in spite of the program’s apparent success, COURTESY OF CHARLES HOLBROW (2) n the summer of 1951, in the tiny town of Horace, North Dakota, I Earl Dolven ’55 stumbled over destiny. He had just turned sixteen and was flipping through a monthold issue of Senior Scholastic when he spotted a headline: “Hurry-Up Schooling.” Underneath, an article announced, “A group of high school boys — juniors and seniors — will have a chance to step right into college next fall.” For Dolven, the story was magic. He was an intelligent boy, but his prospects were bleak. Horace contained just a few hundred souls, the care of which was the responsibility of his father, a clergyman whose salary didn’t leave much for Earl and his four siblings. The Horace high school offered only a two-year program, it employed just one teacher, and Dolven’s graduating class consisted of four students. Advanced learning didn’t seem to be in his future. The Senior Scholastic article would change that. It described a new program funded by the Ford Foundation, the nation’s largest private charitable endowment. The Ford people would pay to send some two hundred boys to study at Yale, Columbia, Chicago, or the University of Wisconsin. All Dolven would need was a high score on the entrance exam — and the willingness to leave his home and family. “Really, there was no question,” he says. “I asked my father to drive me to Minneapolis, and I took the college boards.” 30 ON WISCONSIN

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