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Upward Bound marks 50 years of success at Southern University

6/27/2015

 

The Upward Bound program at Southern University is marking 50 years of helping thousands of students in Baton Rouge and around the state to get a jump-start on access to higher education.

The federally-funded college opportunity program was designed in 1965 to motivate and supports students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree.

The Upward Bound TRIO began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty." The Educational Opportunity Act of 1964 established an experimental program known as Upward Bound. Then, in 1965, the Higher Education Act created Talent Search. Finally, another program, Special Services for Disadvantaged Students (later known as Student Support Services), was launched in 1968.

Together, the "trio" of federally-funded programs encouraged access to higher education for low-income students.

Every summer you can see dozens of middle and high school students in their brightly colored TRIO T-shirts on the campus, living in the dorms and attending academic classes in buildings across the Baton Rouge campus.

The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.

Upward Bound projects provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages.

The 50-year-old Upward Bound project here at Southern University also offers resources on developing healthy decision-making skills, exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) career opportunities, understanding the democratic and legislative process through Positive Action Committee organizations, and researching colleges and universities in the federal "Find the Fit" program.

Some of the notable Upward Bound Alumni include: Sylvia Weatherspoon (Co-anchor of WBRZ News 2 Louisiana); Eric Lewis (Fellow at Building Excellent Schools); John Michael Guidry (First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge); Cleo Fields (Former Louisiana U.S. Congressman and State Senator); Brian Mitchell (former NFL Running Back); Tony Clayton (Attorney, Prosecutor and current member of the SU Board of Supervisors) and Kenneth McFarland (Young Leader's Academy Program Manager).