Past Presidents Unite for 40th Anniversary of MO-KAN-NE

Picture courtesy of Ce Merrigan
Pictured left to right (front row) are Linda Todoroff, Melanie Bailey, Kathleen Greene, Deltha Q. Colvin, Starlyn Gipson, Jimmi Smith, Ruby Stewart, Celerstine Johnson, Lora Boyer; (back row) Trent Ball, Corinne Nilsen, Valdis Zalite, Kaye Monk-Morgan, Mike Conley, Lloyd Beasley, Stephen Colbert, Brian Moore, Vaughn Robertson, Mario Ramos, Denise Lloyd-McDowell, Jan Rosenblum, Ce Merrigan.

May 7, 2018

On April 4-6, 2018, the MO-KAN-NE (Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska) Chapter of the Educational Opportunity Association (EOA) celebrated its 40th Anniversary at their Annual Conference. The theme of the conference was "Inspiring Educational Excellence, Honoring a Devoted Legacy." In honor of the conference theme, 23 past presidents attended and MO-KAN-NE held a Past Presidents’ Luncheon to acknowledge and thank them for their part in building a great legacy. A panel discussion of past presidents gave insight into challenges and successes during their leadership, what they thought were important attributes of a good leader, and pertinent issues at the time. The panelists also spoke about how others supported and guided them as they excelled in leadership. It was a unique and memorable experience marked with gratitude.

Current MO-KAN-NE President Julie Cayton, Associate Director of Student Support Services at Emporia State University, shared that this event demonstrated that the one’s legacy is genuinely grounded in offering yourself and making a meaningful, lasting and energizing contribution to humanity by serving a cause greater than your own. "The legacy of the MO-KAN-NE Chapter’s 40-year history comes from the contributions of many dedicated individuals demonstrating their passionate mission," Cayton said. "Our Chapter is strong, focused, and leads in its ability to harness the collective strengths of its members in moving forward the work of educational opportunity programs and protecting the precious opportunities necessary to our students reaching their greatest potential."

Here is what some of the other Past Presidents had to say about the event.

"Remembering the past is important—the continuing growth of an organization and the members understanding why MO-KAN-NE must continue to develop and grow is critical. We must continue to build on the past or we will fail." — Deltha Q. Colvin, 1980-1981

"I was deeply moved by the opportunity to reunite with MO-KAN-NE past presidents and be among the current leadership. My heart was full of gratitude to be in the company of professionals committed to advocacy for low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities. In the words of Marian Wright-Edelman, ‘We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make, which overtime, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.’ What I experienced at the 2018 Conference was an accumulation of small daily differences that over time made a big difference in the lives of TRIO professionals and students. #LongLiveTRIO. Thank you for adding to the treasure chest of my heart." — Denise Lloyd-McDowell, 1995-1996

"You need to know your past history to know your future history." — Jan Rosenblum, 1996-1997

"The Past Presidents' Luncheon was an awesome event! Being among many of our Chapter's past presidents is an experience that I will always treasure!" — Kathleen Greene, 1999-2000

"Toward the end of the luncheon, Jimmi Smith commented on the iconic [EOA] conference venue, The Abby. He said, ‘We had a secret weapon to get people involved; it was Vaughn Robertson.’ I never knew that Jimmi, my boss at the time, felt that way about my involvement with TRIO. I have always said all I want to do is work. That kind statement from my mentor to the MO-KAN-NE family reinforced all I have tried to do during my career in higher education." — Vaughn Robertson, 2001-2002

"I struggled with attending MO-KAN-NE this year because of other obligations, both at home and professionally, but I came at the request of a couple of past presidents and I am so glad that I did. It was truly an honor to stand among some of the greats of our community—the originals! It was both affirming and challenging. I am one of them… yet I have so much more to do." — Kaye Monk-Morgan, 2004-2005

"It was truly an honor to be recognized for my past service to the Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska Association during the 40th annual professional development conference. I had a wonderful time reconnecting and reminiscing with my former colleagues and friends, while meeting new people as well." — Ruby C. Stewart, 2005-2006

"This was one of the most meaningful events I've ever attended at a MO-KAN-NE conference. It was so wonderful to see camaraderie, friendship, and respect each past president had for the others. I was delighted to see and be able to thank those venerable past presidents who encouraged, supported and guided me when I took the helm." — Ce Merrigan, 2006-2007

"I felt honored to participate in the Past Presidents’ Luncheon. My take away was: here are the people whose strong shoulders I stood on to serve our chapter, now I offer my shoulders and my hand to support the upcoming leaders and legends." — Trent Ball, 2009-2010

"Seeing all of the past presidents I have looked up to for so long reminded me of the rich history and experience MO-KAN-NE has to offer!" — Corinne Nilsen, 2016-2017

Students Celebrate National TRIO Day 2018

March 16, 2018

TRIO Day began on February 24, 1986, when a congressional resolution (H. Con. Res. 278) declared that Saturday, February 28, 1986, should be designated as "National TRIO Day" to commemorate the annual achievements of the Federal TRIO programs.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

The University of Connecticut's Center for Academic Programs Celebrates Their 50th Anniversary

January 29, 2018

On October 28, 2017, the University of Connecticut's Center for Academic Programs (CAP) celebrated 50 years of Changing Lives through Educational Access with a gala on the Storrs campus.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Campuses Celebrate First-Generation Students

November 22 2017

Here are just some of the activities that occurred around the country on November 8, 2017. Check out #celebratefirstgen on social media to learn even more!

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Capitol Hill Celebrates First-Generation College Students

November 13, 2017

On November 8, 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education, in partnership with NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, hosted the first annual celebration of First-Generation College Students on Capitol Hill.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Morehead State University TRIO Program Helps Incarcerated Students

November 2, 2017

Any criminal conviction puts significant barriers before those wanting to improve their lives. It also reduces the pool of job candidates unnecessarily, according to two women who are working to help former inmates become college-bound students.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

McNair: From Limited Opportunities to Undreamed-of Careers

October 10, 2017

Despite a childhood of limited opportunity, Davarian Baldwin dreamed that he could become a politician or lawyer with predictable success.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Helping Veterans Make the Most of the G.I. Education Bill

July 21, 2017

Julia Gusse can't tell you much about her service in the United States Air Force. She had top-secret clearance.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Upward Bound Director of 40 Years Finishes His Career Defending Wittenberg University Program

June 14, 2017

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, said the Roman philosopher Seneca. And Eddie Chambers, Upward Bound program director for 40 years at Wittenberg University, was plenty prepared on March 22nd when he landed in Chicago and glanced at his cell phone before making his connecting flight back home to Ohio.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Penn State's Talent Search Program: Strengthening Schools, Students

May 15, 2017

To sense the passion that Christal Graham-Jones has for her job as a Talent Search counselor, one only has to look at what she calls her "wall of fame," outside her office door at Sharon High School in Pennsylvania.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

TRIO Student Testifies Before Congress

March 31, 2017

Living in Greenville all my life helped me believe in the American Dream. But belief isn't enough. You also need hard work.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

TRIO Helped Homeless Student Succeed; She Helped Shake Up the System

March 14, 2017

After her first year of college, Jessica McCormick got the dreaded letter from the dean: pull your grades up or you'll be dismissed.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

Book Club Blazes Pathways to Leadership

February 27, 2017

"There's something special that happens when you get a group of powerful women in a room... and shut the door," wrote Andrea Wong in the forward of her book, "Secrets of Powerful Women: Leading Change for a New Generation."

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

From Homelessness to Entrepreneurship with TRIO as the Spark

January 26, 2017

Ten years ago Hunter Lin was 11 years-old and working two jobs in China. Today he's a graduate nursing student at Johns Hopkins University and founder of a biomedical start-up company that hopes to launch technology at the end of 2017 to change how diseases are diagnosed around in the world. He credits TRIO with giving him a chance.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.

As Actress Viola Davis' Star Soars, Others Recall Upward Bound Beginnings

January 3, 2017

When internationally-acclaimed actress Viola Davis gains her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Jan. 5, two special people will be among the many around the world cheering her on: Her older sister, Deloris Grant, and the sisters' earliest acting coach, Ron Stetson.The federal Upward Bound program links all three.

You may view this post in its entirety by clicking here.