Koch Scholar Program

The Koch Scholar Program challenges students to think critically. The primary goal of the program is to instill students with an appreciation for great literature and meaningful dialogue.

Reading discussions are conducted in the Socratic method. Students are encouraged to challenge their first conclusions — which allows them to build confidence as they express their ideas over the course of the program.

  • Meetings are held Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m.
  • 15 books are provided – students read about a book per week
  • Students participate in discussions online and in-person
  • Dinner is provided at weekly discussions
Contact Student Programs to learn more or to schedule an appoint with the director.
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Program Details

The Koch Scholar Program is a 15-week student reading group hosted by the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.

The reading group, which first started in 2005, is comprised of 15 students and a few faculty advisors, who meet weekly to discuss classic and contemporary literary works for a few hours over dinner. Participants also have the opportunity to continue the dialogue from their weekly meetings online.

The program has a long tradition of welcoming students of diverse academic backgrounds. All students at Utah State University, regardless of major, can apply. Applications are accepted on a semesterly basis. Successful applicants also receive a $1,000 stipend for their participation in the program.

The Koch Scholar Program is made possible through a generous gift from the Charles Koch Foundation.

Applications for Spring 2019 will be available in September and are due November 1, 2018.

Past Themes

The American Founding

The Second Treatise of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration, John Locke
Colonies to Nation, 1763-1789, Jack P. Greene
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass
What They Fought For 1861-1865, James M. McPherson
What the Anti-Federalists Were For, Herbert J. Storing
The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton

Law, Property Rights, and Social Responsibility

Order Without Law, Robert C. Ellickson
Anarchy Unbound, Peter Leeson
Discovery – A Memoir, Vernon L. Smith
The Social Order of the Underworld, David Skarbek
Law for the Elephant, John Phillip Reid
The Use of Knowledge in Society, Friedrich A. Hayek
The Not So Wild, Wild West, Terry L. Anderson
The Law, Frederic Bastiat

Social Impact of Novels

The Backslider, Levi S. Peterson
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
Henry V, William Shakespeare
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift

Fall 2018 Reading List
Conceptualizations of Modern War

The Face of Battle
John Keegan
The Illiad (translated by Robert Fagles) Homer The Stars in Their Courses
Shelby Foote
Cold Mountain
Charles Frazer
The Price of Glory
Alistair Horne
The Guns of August
Barbara Tuchman
Goodbye to All That
Robert Graves
Goodbye Darkness
William Manchester
Band of Brothers
Stephen Ambrose
The Frozen Chosen
Thomas Cleaver
They Marched into Sunlight
David Maraniss
Black Hawk Down
Mark Bowden
We Were Soldiers Once … and Young
Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway

Faculty Advisors
William F. Shugart II
William F. Shugart II
lucas-rentschler
Lucas A. Rentschler

Participating in Koch Scholars gave me the opportunity to analyze the things I read and discuss them in a way that allowed me to learn from the depth of the text. The analysis and discussion with professors and other scholars added tremendous value to my academic experience. I’ve been exposed to new ideas and points of view, gained a better understanding of issues faced by our society, and want to make a difference in the world.


-Isaac Rhea, Spring 2018 Koch Scholar