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Former Low-Income, First-Generation Students Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Their Professions

September 20, 2017

Five former students who were either low-income and/or first in their family to attend college were honored today for remarkable contributions to their professions. They include a state attorney general, business leaders, a U.S. attorney special assistant, and a researcher. The Council for Opportunity in Education recognized the five as 2017 National TRIO Achievers, so named for the federal TRIO college access and support programs that have been helping low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in college against all odds for more than 50 years.

"These former TRIO program participants have distinguished themselves and are making remarkable contributions in their chosen professions," said Maureen Hoyler, president, Council for Opportunity in Education. "It is an honor to congratulate them on their accomplishments and acknowledge how TRIO has helped make a difference in their lives."

The recipient awardees are:

  • Hector Balderas, Upward Bound and Student Support Services, New Mexico Highlands University Attorney General, New Mexico
  • Timothy Granfield, Upward Bound, University of New Hampshire, Director/AVP, Strategy, Planning & Operations, Corporate Finance, Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Tamara P. Nash, Talent Search and Student Support Services, Wayne State College, Special Assistant United States Attorney, State of South Dakota
  • David Pérez Jiménez, Student Support Services, University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. Assistant Research Scientist and Associate Director, Institute for Psychological Research, University of Puerto Rico
  • Simon K. Shannon, McNair Scholars Program, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, 3M Company

Dmitri Stockton, former chairman, president, and CEO of GE Asset Management, received the Council's Lifetime Service Award. The award honors individuals who are committed to helping students overcome class, social, academic and cultural barriers to succeed in college. Stockton participated in the Upward Bound program while in high school in Virginia.

TRIO began with the Upward Bound program in 1964 as a key element of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty; the program motivated and tutored low-income, first-generation high school students in families where neither parent held a college degree. By the end of the 1960s, three signature TRIO programs — Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Talent Search — were in place to help disadvantaged middle and high school students access and succeed in college. Today there are seven programs, still under the name TRIO, supporting American students from different backgrounds. Among the millions of TRIO program alumni are Oscar award winner Viola Davis; best-selling author Wil Haygood; ABC Primetime host John Quinones; Congresswoman Gwendolynne Moore; Democratic National Committee Interim Chairperson Donna Brazile; former astronaut José Hernández, and a varied list of judges, scientists, politicians, actors, musicians, scholars, inventors and entrepreneurs.