FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) has long been applauded for its efforts in expanding the university’s ability to provide access to underrepresented groups, seeing minority enrollment increase more than 156 percent during Chancellor Michael A. Wartell’s tenure. In August 2006 Chancellor Wartell appointed IPFW’s first Diversity Officer, Associate Vice Chancellor Kenneth C. Christmon. Since that time Christmon has advanced the focus and support of student programs to allow students from low-income and first-generation families the opportunity to pursue their academic dreams. Christmon was recently honored with his third Seeds for Success bronze acorn award from Purdue University.
The Seeds for Success award recognizes those in the university community who have received more than $1 million in grants for programs in the past year. Christmon’s award recognizes the $1.2 million Student Support Services TRIO grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), which was awarded in September 2010 to IPFW.
“IPFW strives to focus on enrollment growth and initiatives that expand our university’s ability to provide access to underrepresented groups,” said Wartell. “Ken’s leadership with the TRIO Student Support Services grant has allowed IPFW to assist and develop these students and increase the instance of graduation. We are extremely proud of how he advances the mission of student learning at the university.”
The Student Support Services grant, which is disbursed equally over five years, is designed to assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress toward the successful completion of their college education.
“It’s all about ‘Getting to Graduation.’ This grant funding helps IPFW provide enhanced support services and coaching to bolster these students’ abilities toward graduation,” said George McClellan, vice chancellor for student affairs. “The grant will allow us to help 140 low-income and first-generation students achieve the American Dream: a college education.”
TRIO’s Student Support Services program provides academic support services such as academic advising, degree planning, tutoring, financial aid counseling, study skills assistance, and career exploration.
“We have a proven track record in our efforts to attract, retain, and graduate students who are in need of additional support to navigate the rigors of a college curriculum,” said Christmon. “The Seeds for Success award reflects the opportunities for student engagement and support services available here at IPFW.”
Christmon’s third bronze acorn award marks the first time IPFW has received a Student Support Services (SSS) TRIO grant, but it is not the first time that IPFW has received a TRIO grant. The DOE federal TRIO programs include eight unique programs, all designed to assist disadvantaged students. SSS is one of those eight. Also among the eight is Upward Bound, a program that provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. IPFW has twice been awarded TRIO grants in excess of $1 million for its Upward Bound program, in 2004 and again in 2008, for which Christmon received two other Seeds for Success awards.
Roxanne Gregg, director of IPFW’s TRIO Upward Bound program, says the university has come a long way in providing a variety of programming, academic prep, education, and financial literacy to students. “All the TRIO programs are very collaborative. We want our students to have access to every opportunity available to them,” said Gregg. “Now we are able to address both precollege programming [with Upward Bound] and support retention in challenged student populations [with SSS].”
“We are stewards of the university,” says Christmon. “We must do our due diligence to provide a support system for our most challenged student population. Together we will create the culture, climate, and vision to retain and graduate all our students.”
For more information about the Student Support Services TRIO program or about the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at IPFW, contact Christmon at 260-481-6921, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the Seeds for Success awards, visit the website.