Harvest of Hope Strengthens Safety Net

Written by Ed Osborn

harvest of hopeWillimantic, CT (10/16/2017) —The Windham Area Interfaith Ministry is bracing itself for a challenging year. Between state funding cuts and a persistent, if not growing, need for services, WAIM expects to continue to be a safety net for those who are unable to receive help elsewhere.

One of the ways WAIM raises funds to support its mission is through a variety of special events, including the upcoming Harvest of Hope on October 21 from 5-8 pm., co-hosted by Willimantic Waste Paper Co. This special evening will offer wine selections by High Spirits and tasty Cafemantic hors d’ouevres in the beautiful setting of the Spring Hill Inn, 957 Storrs Rd., Storrs. The Earl MacDonald Jazz Trio will perform and there will be a silent auction.

“So many people depend on WAIM, so we have to do all we can to assure that they get the help they need when they need it most,” says WAIM Board Chair and event organizer, Jodi Walenciewecz. “The Harvest of Hope is a fun way to support a great cause. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Tickets are available at waimct.org or call (860) 456-7270 x11. This promises to be another outstanding evening. Please come to support the mission of WAIM.

Students Get a Higher Edge at Eastern

Written by Jolene Potter

HIgher Edge StudentsWILLIMANTIC, CT –The college-readiness nonprofit organization Higher Edge and Eastern Connecticut State University celebrated their ongoing partnership on Oct. 5 with a gala in the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Higher Edge is devoted to assisting low-income and first-generation students through enrollment, retention and graduation from college. To help meet these goals they opened a satellite office on the Eastern campus last October.

Gilbert Bonafé

Gilbert Bonafé

Higher Edge utilizes a community-based approach to college access and success in order to ensure that Windham-area students attain the advantages of a higher education. The organization was originally considering a location in downtown Willimantic, but identified Eastern as a prime location to reach as many students as possible. The satellite office is located in Knight House, which happens to be between Windham High School and Windham Technical High School.

Ninety-five percent of Higher Edge students come from racial and ethnic backgrounds; 90 percent are first-generation college students; and more than half come from single-parent households. Ninety-eight percent of Higher Edge students enroll in college directly following high school graduation – they attend Eastern more than any other college.

“Eastern has been a powerful support system for Higher Edge,” said Gilbert Bonafé, director of the Higher Edge satellite office. “Eastern has repeatedly helped us engage with the community and meet our goals of access and success in higher education for our students.”

The Higher Edge approach is two-pronged: helping students to navigate the college application process and financial aid paperwork (Access); and supporting them academically through graduation (Success). The College Access Program (CAP) is the first step toward putting students on the path to success. Through one-on-one advising, students learn to navigate the application process. Together, advisors and students work to identify academic interests and potential careers, participate in personalized SAT preparation, craft and polish application essays, and complete applications for colleges, financial aid and scholarships.

Knight Houe-Higher Edge Headquarters

Knight House-Higher Edge Headquarters

“As a first-generation college student I did not know where to start in terms of applying for college,” said Windham High School senior Ailin Cuevas-Gonzalez. “The individually focused assistance and mentoring has helped me through every step of applying for college, particularly with my college essay. I am hoping to major in engineering or environmental science.”

“If it wasn’t for this program I would be lost,” said Windham High School senior Yeni Lopez. “Gilbert has been a huge help with my college essay, FAFSA and my application. Higher Edge is committed to helping us. My dream is to become a pediatric nurse.”

The help for Higher Edge students does not stop after they are admitted to college. Higher Edge has worked with Eastern to support students continually throughout their education with the Success Program, which supports students who completed the College Access Program and have enrolled in college. Students are advised and mentored on their campuses for up to six years, with a continued focuses on academic, financial and career guidance.

“Completing CAP and continuing in the Success Program at Eastern is the best decision I have ever made,” said Eastern student and first-year social work major Luzmerry Llanos. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and Higher Edge helped me through every step of getting to college. I am thankful for the continued time, energy and help from the Success Program. I want to work with individuals with special needs and I have a lot of opportunities to do that here.”

“I can always count on Higher Edge for continued guidance and support,” said junior social work major Elizabeth Rodriguez. “Whenever I am unsure what to do I can still count on them to help me make an action plan to accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed clinical social worker.”

Eastern Breaks Into List of Top 25 Public Regional Universities

Written by Ed Osborn

eastern_front_entranceFor the first time, Eastern Connecticut State University made the list of the top 25 regional public universities in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern was the highest ranked university among the four Connecticut state universities. The annual rankings were released on Sept. 12.

•Theatre students perform Cervantes' "Pedro, The Great Pretender," as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern's new Fine Arts Instructional Center

• Theatre students perform Cervantes’ “Pedro, The Great Pretender,” as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked on the basis of 16 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

•Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono '17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

• Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono ’17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

“I am gratified to see Eastern ranked in the top 25 public institutions in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges report,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Our commitment to high standards, our focus on providing students with personal attention, and the introduction of new academic programs have resulted in our favorable ranking. Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college.  These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of 1,389 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2017 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 10.

For the past 33 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy to Host Town Hall on August 13

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy will hold a town hall meeting at Eastern Connecticut State University this Sunday, Aug. 13, from 5:15-7 p.m. The event is being held in the Concert Hall of the new Fine Arts Instructional Center (FAIC).  The FAIC is the second building north of the main entrance on the west side of High Street. Free parking is available in the Cervantes and Shakespeare parking garages.  (Click here for a campus map)  We hope you can join us. Please RSVP to RSVP_Connecticut@Murphy.Senate.Gov; please include your name and town.

 

Eastern Receives Generous Davis Foundation Grant

Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines

Written by Michael Rouleau

•A peer mentor tutors a student in the Writing Center in Eastern's J. Eugene Smith Library:

• A peer mentor tutors a fellow student in the Writing Center in Eastern’s J. Eugene Smith Library

WILLIMANTIC, CT (07/18/2017) The Davis Educational Foundation has awarded Eastern Connecticut State University a $200,000 grant to develop its “Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines” initiative. The two-year project aims to strengthen first- and second-year students’ analytical thinking, reading and writing skills by enhancing faculty approaches to teaching critical thinking. The project also aims to improve teaching and learning assessment, as well as better link Eastern’s discussion-oriented First Year Program with its level-two Writing Program – two programs that all Eastern students pass through regardless of major.

“In the past it was assumed that students develop higher-order thinking skills as a cumulative result to degree completion,” explained David Pellegrini, project director and theatre professor. “But today, educational researchers have found that intentional instruction focused on critical reading and writing best ensures that students graduate with the skills they need in competitive and ever-evolving career landscapes. Moreover, this emphasis on critical thinking must begin at the very beginning of a student’s college experience.”

While the grant will be distributed over a two-year period, university officials plan to make the “Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines” program a sustained component of Eastern’s liberal arts curriculum.

•Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi is one of the key faculty members involved in the Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines program. He will participate in the Critical Thinking Task Force and review curriculum

• Psychology Professor Peter Bachiochi is one of the key faculty members involved in the Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines program. He will participate in the Critical Thinking Task Force and review curriculum

Beginning in fall 2017, a faculty-led Critical Thinking Task Force will convene with expert consultants in the field of college-level critical thinking pedagogy and assessment. Faculty workshops will be developed and best practices will be shared among colleagues and with students in a process that will transform how critical thinking is taught in each academic discipline at Eastern.

“Critical Reading and Writing across the Disciplines” is connected to two longstanding Eastern programs: the First Year Liberal Arts Introduction (FYI 100) and the Writing Program. To assist them in becoming engaged in the intellectual life of the university, first-year students enroll in one of many discussion-oriented FYI courses that explore a broad, contemporary theme developed from the expertise of the instructor. From there, students take their major’s designated Writing Intensive (WI) course.

“By convening and providing training for instructors of FYI 100 and level-two WI courses, this project will forge meaningful connections between modes of instruction, evaluation and assessment to enhance the development of critical thinking competencies for students from freshman to sophomore year,” added Pellegrini.

“One advantage of a small liberal arts college is that faculty are able to come together to jointly plan programs,” said Provost Dimitrios Pachis, speaking to the collaborative nature of the project. “In line with the interdisciplinary nature of our liberal arts curriculum, this project draws on the interests and expertise of faculty from nearly all of our major programs.”

“We are honored to receive this significant grant from the Davis Educational Foundation, which is recognized for its support of innovative programs at New England colleges and universities,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “We are very grateful to the foundation’s trustees for this grant, which will strengthen the core academic skills of all Eastern students. As a liberal arts institution, we keenly understand the importance of developing strong reading and writing skills in our students, regardless of their major. This grant will allow us to significantly improve our first-year program, increasing student learning from freshman to sophomore year while improving student learning outcomes and retention and graduation rates.”

The Davis Educational Foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc.

Eastern Named a ‘Great College to Work For’ for Eighth Time

Written by Michael Rouleau

2013GCWF_4CsingularWILLIMANTIC, CT (07/17/2017) Eastern Connecticut State University has again been named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education, a top trade publication for colleges and universities. Released today by The Chronicle, the results are based on a survey of 232 colleges and universities. This is the eighth time Eastern has received “Great Colleges” distinction since it first began participating in the program in 2009.

Only 79 of the institutions that applied for the program achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition this year. Eastern was also named to the national Great Colleges “Honor Roll,” one of only 42 institutions named to this exclusive club. This is the third year in a row that Eastern has been named to the honor roll. Eastern was also the only public four-year university or college in New England to gain “Great Colleges” distinction.

The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For survey is the largest and most comprehensive workplace study in higher education. Now in its 10th year, it recognizes the colleges that get top ratings from their employees on workforce practices and policies.

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was employee feedback.

Eastern won honors in six survey categories this year: Collaborative Governance; Compensation and Benefits; Facilities, Workspaces, and Security; Confidence in Senior Leadership; Teaching Environment; and Tenure Clarity and Process.

“It is gratifying to know that our employees continue to value the positive working atmosphere we share on our campus,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “The ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ recognition is not only a symbol of the common purpose found among our faculty and staff, it represents the welcoming and supportive environment that our students experience every day.

“To know that Eastern has consistently received this honor – winning ‘Great Colleges’ recognition in each of the eight years we have participated – is an indication that our commitment to campus unity is an enduring value firmly embedded in our culture.”

“Ten years in, the ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ distinction is well-known by academic jobseekers as a sign that an institution’s employees are valued and given opportunities for growth even when they face financial constraints,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Any college or university that’s on the list is showing that they emphasize one of their most valuable assets: their faculty and staff.”

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide. “It’s easier to be a great workplace during good times, but it’s when times are tough that the commitment to workplace quality really gets tested,” said Richard K. Boyer, principal and managing partner of ModernThink LLC. “Those institutions that measure up during times of economic hardship reinforce their already strong cultures and put even more distance between them and their peer institutions for whom they compete for talent.”

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About Eastern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 23 other states and 20 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 64 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 26th top public university in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2017 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded “Green Campus” status by the U.S. Green Building Council seven years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.

About The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education is dedicated to serving the higher-education community with insights, understanding, and intellectual engagement. Academic leaders and professionals from around the world trust The Chronicle’s analysis and in-depth exploration to make informed decisions.

About ModernThink LLC

As a research and consulting leader in workplace issues, ModernThink has supported a wide variety of “Best Place to Work” initiatives. Through these programs, the firm has gained substantial survey and industry expertise, including specific insight into higher education. ModernThink knows what it takes to build a great place to work and shares that know-how with its clients. The ModernThink team of organizational development experts is dedicated to helping colleges follow through and capitalize on feedback from employees and benchmark data from peers to drive meaningful change at their institutions. Learn more at http://www.modernthink.com.

View Online: http://easternct.meritpages.com/news/eastern-named-a–great-college-to-work-for–for-eighth-time/691

Former Washington Post Publisher Addresses Eastern Graduates

Written by Ed Osborn

                                                     Eastern Graduates 1,238 at XL Center

David Graham

David Graham

Hartford, CT — Former Washington Post Publisher Donald Graham told the graduates at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 127th Commencement exercises to “treasure this college. Eastern has given you a wonderful education . . . once you are making a living, give something back so that you can help Eastern continue to be great in the future.”

The annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 17, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,180 undergraduates and 58 graduate students received their diplomas.

Graham also told the graduates, “Throughout our history, American leaders have stood up in times of peril — during the American Revolution, during the Civil War, confronting Hitler, standing up to Communism, and advancing civil and women’s rights.  At some time in your life, you will be asked to stand up for what is right, and I know you will answer the call.” Noting that the American political system has worked very well for more than 200 years, Graham said, “Future politicians will say, ‘I will fight for you.’  That’s fine. But ask them, ‘What will you do when you are done fighting?’”

Commencement 2017 Crowd_7167The commencement speaker also received an honorary degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises. Graham is chairman of Graham Holdings Co., formerly the Washington Post Co. A graduate of Harvard College, he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving as an information specialist with the First Cavalry Division from 1967-68.  He later served as a patrolman on the Washington, D.C., police force before joining the staff at the Washington Post in 1971 as a reporter.  Graham assumed the position of publisher of the Washington Post in 1979, following in the footsteps of his mother, Katherine Graham, who led the newspaper following her husband Philip Graham’s passing in 1963. In 1991, Donald Graham took over leadership as chief executive officer of the Washington Post Co.

Commencement 2017 Nunez and BabyIn 2013, Graham and his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amanda Bennett, joined Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Henry R. Munoz III, chairman of Munoz & Company, to co-found TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund that helps undocumented immigrant youth get access to a college education. Since its founding, TheDream.US has raised $91 million in scholarship funds, providing financial support to 1,700 college students nationwide. Graham also co-founded and served as chairman of the District of Columbia College Access Program; he remains a member of the board.  The program has helped double the number of District of Columbia public high school students going on to college and has helped triple the number graduating from college.

Commencement 2017 Nunez Shakes HandOther speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Nunez; Matt Fleury, chair of the Board of Regents for Higher Education; Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and University System; and Senior Class President Abigail Caselli, who delivered the Senior Class Address. Other members of the platform party included Willimantic Mayor Ernie Eldridge; Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Ellen Lang ’81, president of the ECSU Alumni Association; Father Larry LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

Commencement 2017 BEST BalloonNunez told the graduates she was confident they would impact the world in three ways,  first as professionals in the workforce, equipped with “. . . a highly desired set of skills” sought by the majority of American employers — “analytical thinking, teamwork and communication skills, the broad intellectual and social competencies available through a liberal arts education.” Nunez also urged the graduates to give back to their communities, quoting Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, who once said, “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”

Waving BESTLastly, Nunez encouraged the Eastern seniors to “. . . exercise your duties and rights as American citizens. Our nation remains a beacon of freedom and a guiding light for other nations to follow, not because of our military might or our economic power, but because of the political, religious and personal freedoms we enjoy.”

Commencement 2017 Four LadiesNoting those freedoms must be protected, Eastern’s president went on to say, “Being a citizen of this great nation is clearly an investment of time, but it is the only way we can protect the freedoms we hold dear. Never abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen to someone else.  Be willing to question the status quo.  And stand up for the values you believe in.”

Commencement 2017 FamiliesMore than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. As Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 163 of the state’s 169 towns. Approximately 85 percent of graduates stay in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Commencement 2017 Student PresidentSenior Class President Abigail Caselli presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez — an annual Class of 2017 scholarship — and thanked her classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. “To a room filled with the next great doctors, nurses, actors and actresses, genetic counselors, presidents of universities, human resource managers and professors, just to name a few of the success stories to be written about my fellow graduates, I encourage you to use the opportunities that Eastern has given you and make the world around you better.  As someone once said, ‘Service is the highest form of leadership.’ May each of you find and share that leadership within you.”

Matt Fleury, president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center, spoke on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. “Today is a significant milestone for you,” he said. “We are proud of your accomplishments and applaud the many sacrifices you have made to get here. Your journey to this point was not easy, but for that reason, it is so much more satisfying. Whatever path you have chosen, you can make a difference.”Commencement 2017 SelfiesMark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, also spoke to the graduates. “You have come a very long way since the first day you arrived at Eastern,” said Ojakian. “Life will take you in many different directions after you leave here tonight. The road in front of you is undefined. But I am hopeful that our state and our nation will be in a better place — as you become your future.”Commencement 2017 Christina

Commencement 2017 Foot GuardFrom the Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard in attendance, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet, this year’s graduation ceremonies again reflected Eastern’s Commencement traditions.

Commencemetn 2017 SingersUniversity Senate President Maryanne Clifford presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Abigail Perreira and Kristin Uschkureit sang “America the Beautiful”; Senior Leigha Grushkin gave the invocation; and Environmental Earth Science Professor Peter Drzewiecki was recognized as the 2017 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

Eastern Presents Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Awards

Written by Dwight Bachman

Left to right, Sierra Colon, Carlos Hernandez and Gloria Bent

Left to right, Sierra Colon, Carlos Hernandez and Gloria Bent

WILLIMANTIC, CT (04/24/2017) Willimantic, CT- Sierra Colon, a political science major from Wethersfield, CT, and president of the Organization of Latin American Students at Eastern Connecticut State University; Carlos Hernandez, a member of the maintenance staff at Eastern; and Gloria Bent, past president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, have been named recipients of Eastern’s 2017 Cesar Chavez Distinguished Service Award.

The awards, presented on April 19 in the Student Center Theatre, recognize individuals who best exemplify the teachings of Chavez, the late labor leader and human rights activist who advocated for fairness, equity and justice for farm workers. The awards also recognize individuals who have performed extraordinary service in support of the Latin-American community by either developing or contributing to programs or activities that focus on positive development of minority youth and/or foster minority educational opportunities and advancement.

“I think Cesar Chavez would look at our three award recipients and see three people who focus their time on

Eastern President Elsa Nunez

Eastern President Elsa Nunez

meeting the needs of others,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Sierra Colon, Carlos Hernandez and Gloria Bent have demonstrated exemplary leadership in service to the Latin American community, the Eastern campus and the community-at-large. They remind us of our own responsibility to serve others, so that everyone may share in the American Dream.”

In addition to serving as president of OLAS, Colon ’17 has been a resident assistant and has also served as a student orientation counselor, peer mentor and tutor for elementary students in Willimantic. This past summer, she was awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship from the U.S. State Department, which allowed her to complete a two-month internship in Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked on agriculture reform and social justice issues. Colon has also secured an internship with the Department of Environmental and Energy Projection. She has advocated for affordable tuition at meetings hosted by state representatives. Graduating with honors, Colon plans to attend graduate school, focusing on higher education and policy reform.

Hernandez came to Eastern 31 years ago, while working part time at the post office. Over the years, he has supervised numerous students while serving as a mover, carpenter, painter and landscaper.

In Willimantic, Hernandez has visited halfway homes operated by Windham Area Interfaith Ministry) to donate clothes and talk with people transitioning from prison. He and his wife have served as foster parents for neglected children, and have adopted and raised five children.

Gloria Bent is a member of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters of Northeastern Connecticut, and the immediate past president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut. She has been active in the league for 11 years, encouraging citizen participation in all levels of government through education and advocacy.

A resident of Mansfield for more than 40 years, Bent has served for four years on Mansfield Advocates for Children and two years on Mansfield’s Advisory Committee on the Needs of Persons with Disabilities. She earned a diploma in nursing from Saint Joseph Infirmary School of Nursing in Atlanta, GA, and a bachelor of arts from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, where she majored in religious studies and minored in women’s studies.

Former Washington Post Publisher to Deliver Eastern’s Commencement Address

Written by Ed Osborn

Donald Graham

Donald Graham

Willimantic, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University announced today that Donald E. Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post, will receive an honorary degree at the University’s 127th Commencement on May 16 at the XL Center in Hartford. Graham will also deliver the Commencement Address.

Graham is chairman of Graham Holdings Co., formerly the Washington Post Co. A graduate of Harvard College, he is a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving as an information specialist with the First Cavalry Division from 1967-68.

He later served as a patrolman on the Washington, D.C., police force before joining the staff at the Washington Post in 1971 as a reporter.  Graham assumed the position of publisher of the Washington Post in 1979, following in the footsteps of his mother, Katherine Graham, who led the newspaper following her husband Philip Graham’s passing in 1963. In 1991, Donald Graham took over leadership as chief executive officer of the Washington Post Co.

In addition to his duties with Graham Holdings, Graham is a trustee of the Federal City Council. He also has served as a director of the College Success Foundation, KIPP-DC, The Summit Fund of Washington and Facebook, and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

In 2013, Graham and his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amanda Bennett, joined Carlos Gutierrez, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Henry R. Munoz III, chairman of Munoz & Company, to co-found TheDream.US, a national scholarship fund that helps undocumented immigrant youth get access to a college education.

Since its founding, TheDream.US has raised $91 million in scholarship funds, providing financial support to 1,700 college students nationwide.

Through the support of Graham and the staff at TheDream.US, 47 students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (DACA) enrolled at Eastern in the fall of 2016. These “Opportunity Scholars” are receiving four-year scholarships from TheDream.US, which will cover their tuition, fees, room and board to attend Eastern and earn their bachelor’s degree.

Mr. Graham also co-founded and served as chairman of the District of Columbia College Access Program; he remains a member of the board.  The program has helped double the number of District of Columbia public high school students going on to college and has helped triple the number graduating from college.

Windham Public Schools Announce Partnership with Eastern and QVCC

Written by Ed Osborn

Willimantic, CT —  Windham Public Schools, Eastern Connecticut State University and Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) are embarking on a new educational partnership in Willimantic that will extend postsecondary options to Windham High School students and those seeking a college education in the greater Windham community.

Under the partnership, QVCC classes will now be available at Windham High School. Community members interested in continuing their education will have the benefit of taking foundational QVCC courses at the high school, along with a selection of Eastern courses.

In the past few years, Windham Public Schools has been proactive in establishing college and career partnership programs for Windham students, including the Windham High Incentive Program (WHIP) with Eastern, and Windham Early College Opportunity Program established with QVCC and industry partners.

Patricia Garcia, superintendent of Windham Public Schools said, “We are very pleased to expand our relationship with Eastern on behalf of our students.  The university is a resource that can change the lives of our Windham students through learning opportunities and college experience.”

QVCC President Carlee Drummer said, “QVCC has been serving the residents of Willimantic since 1986. This new partnership underscores the commitment to provide an accessible and affordable education to students of all ages seeking to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be productive global citizens in the 21st century.”

With input from Windham High School officials and pending approval by the Windham School’s Board of Education, college-level courses offered by Eastern and QVCC will enable eligible Windham High School students the opportunity to earn valuable college credits while completing their high school degrees. The program will be based on a model Eastern currently has in place at Norwich Free Academy, where it offers dual-credit courses that enable Norwich-area students to earn high school and college credits at the same time.

“We are encouraged by this partnership with Windham Public Schools and Quinebaug Valley Community College to provide access to higher education for Windham High School students,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Not only will college students and other community residents have access to courses offered by QVCC and Eastern, we are pleased to provide Windham High School students with opportunities to earn high school and college credits.”

Registration details and information on course offerings and tuition costs will be available as soon as the program is formalized and approved by the Windham School Board of Education and the first schedule of classes is announced.