My compliments: you made it.

If you were hoping to have won a trip to Vegas or a set of complimentary steak knives, you’re out of luck.

If, on the other hand, if it’s food for thought you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

Although scanning the QR code on the back of an unsolicited postcard isn’t quite as emotionally risky as a blind date or as potentially costly as Alexander’s wager with his dad,* your willingness to see what’s around the next corner suggests a spirit of curiosity, which is the quality the Blount Scholars Program prizes above all.

But perhaps it’s time to put an end to this ethereal, anonymous voice from the cloud and introduce myself.

My name is Fred Whiting and I’m the Director of the Blount (pronounced blunt) Scholars Program at the University of Alabama.  The program is a selective, four-year, living and learning community featuring small, seminar-style classes, intensive interaction with faculty, and an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum leading to a minor in Liberal Arts.  It is also one of the most energetic and engaging social communities on our campus. The overall enrollment is approximately 380 students.  Think small liberal arts college in the midst of a major research university, populated by students who are always a little too coffeed up.  Even the ones who don’t drink coffee.  Blount is open to students of any major.

“Why me?” I hear you murmur.  Well, we’re always on the lookout for creative, curious, motivated students.  The kind, say, that are willing to follow QR codes on quirky postcards in order to learn about the opportunities they might to pursue and the selves they might become during a signally transformative time of life.  I hope you’ll take the time to learn more about our community by poking around this website.  You’ll find information about the program and its people as well as an online application.  And if you have questions, feel free to drop us a line, give us a holler, ring us up.  Or better yet, come visit.

*So what’s this about Alexander’s wager with his dad?, you ask.  In his Parallel Lives, Plutarch reports that in 344 BCE, at twelve or thirteen years of age, Alexander the soon-to-be-great won the horse Bucephalus in a wager with his father, King Philip II of Macedonia.  Bucephalus, an enormous, spirited animal of the prized Thessalonian strain, had been purchased by Philip’s horse trader for the extraordinary sum of 13 talents (approximately 1.2 million in today’s dollars).  When none of his handlers could tame the horse, Philip ordered it returned, whereupon Alexander asked if he might try.  Queried by Philip what he would forfeit for his rashness should he fail, Alexander replied that he would pay the full price of the horse—a stiff tab, even for a rich kid.  To the astonishment of the King and his court, Alexander removed his fluttering cloak, spoke soothingly to the horse, and turned it towards the sun so that it could no longer see its own shadow, which had been terrifying it.  Once calmed, Alexander easily mounted the animal.

I hope you’ll consider making the wager and perhaps getting on the horse….


Frederick Whiting

Director, Blount Scholars Program