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Inter-University Committee On the Superior Student records

Identifier: COU:2892

Scope and Contents

The first accession of the ICSS collection is divided into six sections: Administrations, universities, conferences, brochures, foundations, and associations. Each section is sorted alphabetically. There is also an oversized section that includes volumes of travel reports.

The second accession of the ICSS collection is divided into three sections: Organizations and functions, general files, and specialized programs.


  • 1957 - 1965

Conditions Governing Access

This collection contains or may contain private and personally identifiable information (PPII). Researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement in advance of access to collection materials. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may not make notes, reproductions (including photographs), or other record of any private and personally identifiable information (PPII) located in this collection and may not publish, publicize, or disclose that PPII to any other party for any purpose. Exclusions may apply to researchers who have obtained authorization from the University of Colorado Institutional Review Board to produce human subject research records in de-identified form. All researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement indicating their understanding of the use restrictions for PPII found in this collection. Contact

Biographical / Historical

Since 1873, when the first honors program was tested at Wesleyan, there has scarcely been a major college or university that has not considered, offered in its catalogue, or actually tried some sort of honors approach at one time or another. In 1943, special programs for the superior student were reported to be in effect in 150 of 200 schools approved by the Association of American Universities.

The Inter-University Committee on the Superior Student (ICSS) was organized prior to the national flurry of educational efforts after the USSR became the first nation to put an artificial satellite into orbit around the earth. A conference of 48 prominent American Educators was called at the University of Colorado for June, 1957. Funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to the Universities Honors Program, the conference produced a ten page statement which called for maximum encouragement of the nation’s gifted scholars, the creation of a central clearing house for honors programs, additional conferences on the superior student, and more research in the “area of high talent and ability.”

As a result of that conference the Carnegie Corporation provided $125,000 for the proposed Inter-university Committee on the Superior Student to advance these recommendations. The grant was awarded Jan., 1958. Joseph W. Cohen was appointed as director of the ICSS and it opened its national offices at the University of Colorado, Feb. 1.

ICSS did much to stimulate nationwide discussion of fundamental problems of the superior student and honors programs. It collected and disseminated data, planned state, regional and national meetings and coordinated consulting activities. The ICSS was also instrumental in getting the Educational Research Information Center (E.R.I.C.) set up in the United States Office of Education. Dr. Philip Mitterling succeeded Joseph Cohen as director in 1963. In 1965, the ICSS was succeeded by as association of honors administrators and faculty, the National Collegiate Honors Council, headed by Dr. Walter Weir, who had served for the last three years as associate director of the ICSS.

The collection consists of the complete files of the Inter-University Committee on the Superior Student and contains administrative records and correspondence, survey and research data, conference material, education publications, information on honors programs of American institutions of higher learning. The collection is an excellent source of information on honors programs attempted at various educational institutions and reflects a time of controversy and great soul searching in the world of American education between 1957 and 1965.


78 linear feet (52 boxes and 3 volumes)

Language of Materials



The ICCS was organized in 1957 as a result of a national conference of 48 American educators at the University of Colorado. The conferees called for a greater use of talent and a central clearing house for honors programs at American colleges and universities. The ICCS collected and disseminated information and conducted conferences. The collection contains administrative files, honors surveys, research material and publications.

Data entry by Mathew Marquardt and ASpace upload by Jennifer Sanchez 2023.
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States