SU to celebrate success of WellsLink scholars in Parents Weekend ceremony
SU to celebrate success of WellsLink scholars in Parents Weekend ceremonySeptember 25, 2006Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
All members of the Syracuse University and Central New York communities are invited to participate in an afternoon of music, spirituality and inspiration on Friday, Sept. 29, as SU celebrates the success of the 2005 students of the WellsLink Program and welcomes its 2006 students. The WellsLink Transition Ceremony, to be held at 4 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel, is one of the key annual events of this initiative, which builds academic and leadership excellence among first-year students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.
The transition ceremony, which honors WellsLink students who have successfully completed their first year, has much to celebrate this year: 57 of the 58 students who participated in WellsLink last year have returned to SU to begin their sophomore year, a retention rate of more than 98 percent; the 2006 cohort consists of 62 students, a record number for the program. The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), which organizes WellsLink, will hold this year’s Transition Ceremony during Parents Weekend to maximize parents’ opportunities to celebrate their students’ success. This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Les Brown, a renowned speaker, author and television personality.
“We are proud of the Office of Multicultural Affairs staff who organize this program and work with WellsLink students, and I am most proud of the students themselves,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs, after whom the program was named by OMA. “As these students celebrate, they, too, should be proud of their outstanding success in one of the premiere first-year programs at Syracuse University.”
The WellsLink Program, now in its fourth year, is an initiative for first-year students of color, with a focus on academic and social mentoring. It is one of several University programs designed to enhance scholarly excellence and support for students. To be eligible for WellsLink, students cannot be served by the University’s other state- or federally funded retention programs, or by the Athletics Department’s academic support services. Named in honor of Wells’ 30-years-and-counting contribution to retention at SU, the program provides its students with academic counseling and mentoring, teaches life skills, and connects students with successful leaders from all walks of life. It is administered by OMA, with support from the Career Services and Undergraduate Studies offices and several other academic and administrative units.
Offerings for WellsLink students include:
- the Leadership Capital series, which brings together this year’s and past years’ WellsLink students for in-depth presentations by experts on such topics as financial aid, budgeting, internships and avoiding student debt;
- social and academic events designed to create profound relationships among first-year students and their peers, faculty, staff and upper-division students;
- staff support from Paul Buckley, associate director of OMA; Tae-Sun Kim, assistant director of OMA; and a graduate assistant who aids in academic and retention counseling;
- assistance from a peer leader, a student of upper-division standing who is matched with each WellsLink student to serve as a guide and mentor throughout the first-year experience, and to help students become academically and culturally acclimated to a successful University lifestyle;
- OMA-sponsored tutoring, group meetings and other services; and
- faculty mentors, who serve as resources to WellsLink students in their sophomore year.
“In hearing Les Brown as the keynote speaker, our students and families will experience the emphasis on excellence that defines the WellsLink program and Syracuse University’s vision for Scholarship in Action,” says Buckley. “Brown’s hunger for self-education and his intolerance for mediocrity set a strong example for all who desire to use their learning experience as a force for social good.”
Brown, who was born in the low-income Liberty City section of Miami, was hampered early in his life by a poor education, but he has gone on to become an authority on harnessing human potential. His career path has included stints as a morning deejay, broadcast manager, activist, community leader, political commentator, state legislator and leading speaker, author and television personality. He has been honored by the National Speakers Association and was named one of the World’s Top Five Speakers by Toastmasters International in 1992. He has authored two bestselling books, “Live Your Dreams” (1994, Harper) and “It’s Not Over Until You Win” (1998, Simon & Schuster), and his speeches are intended to inspire his audience to new levels of achievement.
For more information on the WellsLink Program or the transition ceremony, contact Buckley at 443-9676.