Skidmore honored for increasing access
There she was on stage in Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, with a spectacular view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline behind her. Before her, more than 400 guests at the third annual CollegeBound Initiative (CBI) Celebration of the Young Women’s Leadership Network. She told the audience that as a foster child in the Bronx she had felt as if “the odds were stacked against me.” But then fortune smiled on her when a CBI counselor arrived at her school and put her on a path to Skidmore College, which she says “forever changed my world.”
A psychology and women’s studies double-major at Skidmore, Autumn Bush ’07 is one of 30 students from high-need public schools in New York City who’ve attended Skidmore since 2001, thanks to CBI—and to Skidmore aid and scholarship packages totaling nearly $9 million. Virtually all of the CBI students came to Skidmore through the College’s nationally recognized Opportunity Program (Higher Education Opportunity Program or Academic Opportunity Program).
After the showing of this inspiring Autumn Bush video,
Skidmore’s Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Mary Lou Bates stepped forward to accept a CBI award for the College’s “commitment to educational access for underrepresented students.” Bates said, “Our relationship with CBI and the Young Women’s Leadership Network schools has been a longstanding and rich one. Most importantly, 90 percent of the 30 CBI students at Skidmore have graduated or are on track to graduate. And this year, it looks as if another six CBI students are enrolling in Skidmore’s class of 2017.”
Also receiving CBI awards were the Bezos Family Foundation, for “helping youth put education into action,” and Chair and Managing Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners Bayo Ogunlesi for his “personal commitment to education.”
Trustees Susan Beckerman ‘67 (l) Linda Toohey,
Mary Lou Bates, Trustee Wilma Stein Tisch ‘48,
Marie Glotzbach, Andrew Hughes ‘92, and Kim
In her remarks, Bates lauded the CBI students’ contributions to the Skidmore and Saratoga Springs communities—as facilitators in Skidmore’s pioneering Intergroup Relations program, head residents in the residence halls, leaders in mediation training, peer educators in the freshman Scribner Seminars, and volunteers with various agencies off campus. She also pointed to their postcollege success in graduate schools and in business, educational, and human-service professions.
Associate Dean of Student Affairs Susan Layden, who has overseen Skidmore’s opportunity programs for many years, sees CBI’s “mission of increasing college enrollment and degree attainment for students from low-income backgrounds” as a “perfect fit with the mission of access and achievement that is at the center of the College’s opportunity programs. We couldn't ask for a better partner than CBI-YWLN— it is a true leader in access work. It’s truly gratifying that many CBI students continue to be actively involved in issues of access and academic excellence after graduating from Skidmore.”
Bush is a prime example of that: she’s currently working as a development assistant at CBI while pursuing a master’s in social work. She says, “Skidmore works very hard to make sure that every student who graduates leaves fully rounded. It pushes everyone to really take the “creative thought matters” motto to heart, and to figure out ways to be active participants in their communities and make a difference in the world at large.”
Other Skidmore people at the event included Founder and President of YWLN and CBI, Ann Rubenstein Tisch, mother of Sarah Rose Tisch ’16; Skidmore trustees Wilma Stein Tisch ’48, Susan Gottlieb Beckerman ’67, Linda Toohey (current board chair), Andrew Hughes ’92, and Maria Markowitz; Lecturer in Theater Marie Glotzbach, whose husband Philip Glotzbach has been Skidmore’s president since 2003; Campaign Director Kim Verstandig; Assistant Director of Admissions Teshika Hatch ’11; Juan De Jesus ’05; and incoming CBI students Karina Gonzales ’17, Rafael Gonzales ’17, and Isabel Rojas ’17.
The nonprofit Young Women’s Leadership Network helps low-income youth to break the cycle of poverty through education. Its CollegeBound Initiative places full-time college guidance counselors in public schools to work with every student. Since its inception, CBI has sent just under 5,000 students to college, and CBI counselors have generated nearly $70 million in financial aid for its students. YWLN also supports a network of five all-girls public schools in New York City, with affiliate girls’ schools nationwide.