Wilkes University Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary Of Upward Bound Program

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Wilkes Receives $1.9 Million Grant From the U.S. Dept. of Education

The Upward Bound program at Wilkes University is celebrating 50 years of helping Luzerne County high school students achieve academic success. A $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education – the largest in the program’s history at Wilkes – will ensure the program continues its mission for the next five years.

The grant will help fund the program, which prepares high school students for college. Currently, the Upward Bound program serves 125 students from northeast Pennsylvania. It is the longest-running Upward Bound program in the state.

“The Wilkes Upward Bound program broadens access to higher education, exemplifying our commitment to educating students for lifelong success,” said University President Patrick F. Leahy. “The grant from the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the value of our program and allows us to continue the important work of preparing local students for a successful college experience.”

Upward Bound primarily supports students from low-income families, or those would are the first in their family to attend college.

“Ninety-nine percent of our Upward Bound students pursue a college education,” said Tom Thomas, dean of University College at Wilkes University. “This highly successful program makes educational opportunity a reality for hundreds of families every year in the greater Wilkes-Barre area.”

The backbone of Upward Bound is a six-week residential program held each summer. Students live in Wilkes residence halls while attending full days of classes and activities. Students also participate in an evening program, where weekly classes occur during the traditional academic year.

Both formats help students grow academically and socially by providing academic classes, career exploration, tutoring and college preparation, including financial aid and SAT guidance. College credit is available for specific courses.

There are more than 1,200 graduates of the program including Olympian Maurice Peoples ’69, actor Ted Sod ’69 and doctor and pharmacist, Dr. Annette Antolik Hudler ’82. Dawn Harding, director of the Wilkes Upward Bound program, is also a graduate.

“Upward Bound was instrumental in helping me apply to college, while providing the personal and academic confidence I needed to succeed,” said Harding. “To help other students benefit from this remarkable program is very rewarding.”

For more information on Upward Bound, visit www.wilkes.edu/upwardbound.

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