On March 18, students, faculty and staff involved in minority recruitment and mentoring gathered for lunch in the Science Building to discuss how well the program was working. Barbara Williams introduced Tara Hurt, university archivist and head of special collections in the library, who provided a fascinating presentation on the history of Eastern.
Hurt's slide show documented Eastern's growth, from its humble beginnings as a Normal School on the third floor of the Willimantic Savings Institute building in 1889 to the several names changes of principals and presidents the school has undergone to the world class university that Eastern is today.
Tim Swanson, chair of the Department of Physical Sciences and a faculty member for nearly 45 years, shared cost comparisons to attend Eastern from when he arrived in 1966 to 2011. In 1964, 470 full time students enrolled at Willimantic State Teachers College. Today, 4,417 full time students study at Eastern. In 1966, tuition at Willimantic State Teachers College was $1,160. Today, it is $8,350.
Several mentees were on hand, including Winthrop Hall Director Amilcah Gomes, whose mentor is Sociology Professor Dennis Canterbury, and Yolanda Sazo, assistant director of financial aid whose mentor is Margaret Hebert, director of the Tutoring Center and STEP/CAP. Hebert organized the luncheon as chair of the committee. Sazo, who has worked for six years at Eastern, said she was glad to have been part of the mentoring program. "The minority mentoring program helps guide you into your career and educational goals."