President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Kenyon President Sean Decatur and other invited college presidents to a White House conference on Thursday, Jan. 16, aimed at increasing higher-education opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students.
The White House event is intended to launch a plan of action, and Decatur arrived with a commitment to fine tune and coordinate existing Kenyon mentorship programs to improve college preparation, academic success, and post-graduate achievement. A mentorship model with a focus on transitions from high school to college, from year-to-year in college, and then into productive careers could well serve as a higher-education template.
Kenyon will introduce a sustained financial aid program to spur participation in off-campus internships that are often out of reach for economically disadvantaged students.
“At Kenyon we’re determined to enhance and expand our mentorship programs to the advantage of secondary-school students who face obstacles getting into college and finding success after they arrive,” Decatur said. “We expect positive results and we will monitor and evaluate our programs to that end. I appreciate the energy, leadership, and commitment that President Obama and his team bring to this project.”
“Our goal is help provide a level playing field for all young people who dream about a college education and to help them reach graduation and a fulfilling and rewarding life afterwards.”
Kenyon intends to increase its graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students as well as create an aggressive alumni mentoring program that will put students in contact with successful alumni and build relationships that will lead to professional success after graduation.
Kenyon offers a constellation of advancement and mentorship opportunities:
The commitment that Decatur carries to the White House includes the pursuit of goals to increase the Kenyon enrollment of high school students who participate in the KAP, Camp Four Scholars and Young Writers programs; boost voluntary participation in the REACH program; encourage study-abroad opportunities; and build support and add financial aid for internships. The College will study and evaluate the effectiveness of its programs.