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New program allows for personal involvement in the lives of current students

Lafayette’s Posse program will receive additional support this year thanks to a new program called Posse Pard-ners. Alumni will have the opportunity to play a role in the education of individual students on campus.

Posse Pard-ners comes as result of the involvement of the Judith C. White Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit headed by Jeffrey Kovner ’66. The foundation established a $250,000 endowment to promote and enhance diversity at Lafayette. For every $1 the foundation donates, Kovner challenged the College to raise $3. The result should be more than $1 million for the Posse program. This would help pay for the $70,000 annual administrative costs.

One of the ways that Lafayette is meeting this fund raising challenge is through Posse Pard-ners. Through the program, alumni are given a personal opportunity to invest in the lives of Lafayette Posse Scholars. By “adopting” a student, donating money becomes more of a personal experience.

John Leone, associate director for major gifts, is excited about the program.

“This is a unique way to involve alumni while opening up the opportunity for a Lafayette education to people who might not have had the chance,” he says. “Alumni will serve as financial and supportive partners with individual scholars.”

Posse Pard-ners also involves alumni in helping the College reach its goals of enhancing diversity, he adds.

Alumni who already have become part of the program include Kovner, Roger Mumford ’78, Lynne Kizis ’84, Dee Jacob ’74, Robert Jacob ’74, Bob Wolin ’69, Sylvia Weaver ’75, Linda Graziano Powers ’79, Leo & Stacey Helmers ’87, David S. White ’67, Douglas R. Marvin ’69, Todd ’88 & Scott ’85 Van Cleef, Glen Kienz ’75, and David Taschler ’75.

The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits, and trains student leaders from public high schools to form multicultural teams called “Posses.” These teams are then prepared through an intensive Pre-Collegiate Training Program for enrollment at top-tier colleges and universities nationwide to pursue their academic careers and to help promote cross-cultural communication on campus.

Founded in 1989, the Posse Foundation was brought to Lafayette on a trial basis in the fall of 2002 and found amazing success. Since then roughly 10 posse students from New York have come to Lafayette each year. There are currently 34 returning students for New York’s posse and a new first-year posse of 12 members. A Washington, D.C., posse of 10 students was brought to campus beginning in the fall of 2006. The D.C. posse will have 11 first-year students joining it this year.

There will be a dinner in the spring semester for students, Pard-ners, faculty, and administration. The program will allow the students and alumni to cultivate personal relationships depending on the interest of both parties.

There are hopes to start a Posse Pard-ners program for the Washington, D.C. posse in the future.

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