The Telluride Association is a non-profit organization in the United States founded in 1910 by Lucien Lucius Nunn and named for his city of residence, Telluride, Colorado. The organization states its mission as providing young people with free educational programs emphasizing intellectual curiosity, democratic self-governance, and social responsibility.
The Association's principal programs are summer seminars for high school students and the operation of scholarship "Telluride Houses" for college students. These residential programs are extremely selective and are offered at no cost to the students. The Association is governed largely by those elected to membership from its recent alumni, Deep Springs College alumni, and current Branch students.
Lucien Lucius Nunn founded the Association in 1911 after building the first Telluride House at Cornell University in 1910. The first President of the Telluride Association was Charles Doolittle Walcott, a paleontologist and fourth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The house originally provided room and board for young men who had worked for Nunn and were studying engineering at Cornell. It has since expanded to encompass a variety of co-educational summer programs, scholarships, and additional houses. The Association is non-denominational and tied to no particular political viewpoint.
Telluride Houses, or Branches, have operated at Cornell University since 1911 and at the University of Michigan since 1999. Students participate in a year-round public speaking program and plan academic seminars. The houses are largely self-governed, with somewhat different focuses: residents of Cornell Branch take on such responsibilities as hiring employees and maintaining and renovating the house, while residents of Michigan Branch plan and execute an annual project linking practical work in the community with theoretical and academic inquiry. Distinguished alumni include Steven Weinberg, Barber Conable, Eve Sedgwick, Francis Fukuyama, Paul Wolfowitz, Jan Svejnar, Dominick LaCapra, William vanden Heuvel and Gayatri Spivak. Faculty guests also live at the houses for limited terms. Distinguished faculty guests have included Michel Foucault, Richard Feynman, Frances Perkins, Linus Pauling, and Allan Bloom.
Telluride Association Summer Program
Telluride Association Summer Programs (TASPs) are six-week educational experiences for rising high school seniors. Participants attend an intensive seminar led by college and university faculty members and participate in educational and social activities outside the classroom. Like the houses, each TASP receives a discretionary budget, whose use is democratically distributed via weekly house meetings.
Telluride Association Sophomore Seminars
Telluride Association Sophomore Seminars (TASSes) are also six-week summer programs. TASSes, which are offered to high school sophomores, have an academic focus on African American studies and related fields. Their basic structure is similar to that of the TASPs, and some TASS alumni choose to attend a TASP the following summer. TASSes have been held at Indiana University since 1993 and at the University of Michigan since 2002.
Telluride Association Awards are awarded to members of the Telluride community by the Association.
The Mansfield-Wefald Senior Thesis Prize is awarded annually for the best scholarly thesis written by a Telluride associate who will have completed his or her final year of undergraduate education that year.
The Mike Yarrow Adventurous Education Award is given annually to a returning member of a Branch of Telluride Association, or a Deep Springs student who will be entering a Branch the following year. The award funds non-paying public service activity during the summer that is outside of an academic institution.
The Nunn Archive Fellowship is awarded to help associates study and preserve the legacy of Lucien Lucius Nunn.
Beginning in the late 1950s, the Telluride House at Cornell operated a two-year postgraduate exchange scholarship program with Lincoln College of Oxford University, welcoming a Sedgwick Scholar to stay at Telluride House and to study at Cornell, usually for a master's degree, and sending a Housemember to study for an Oxford M.Phil. while resident at Lincoln College. Despite efforts of both sides, the program was ended in 2002.
The Reese Miller Exchange Scholarship is available to students at Cornell University, University of Michigan, Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The scholarship operates as an exchange for one semester or one year between recent undergraduates and graduate students at Cornell and CEU and between students at University of Michigan and UCT.
The Atkinson-Tetreault Fellowship is available to Masters in Regional Planning students at Cornell University. The award is offered once every two years and includes room and board at the Telluride House, a stipend, and a partial tuition award.
Telluride Association consists of about 100 volunteer members who serve as the Association's trustees. Members are elected to membership, usually while in their twenties, on the basis of demonstrated leadership and commitment to Telluride's educational goals. The Association’s membership is mainly current and former participants of its programs and alumni of Deep Springs College, a separate two-year college founded by Nunn in 1917.