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College of Mount Saint Vincent Selected to Receive $100,000 Wal-Mart College Success Award


Riverdale, NY – The College of Mount Saint Vincent has been selected by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to receive the Wal-Mart College Success Award—a $100,000 grant to help build on the College’s demonstrated successes in enrolling, retaining, and graduating first-generation college students. The College of Mount Saint Vincent was one of only 20 colleges selected through a highly competitive application process to receive the award, which is intended to help institutions that are already deeply committed to the education of first-generation students.

“We have the pleasure of being one of the twenty most diverse colleges and universities in the United States—public and private combined.  A majority of our students are in the first generation of their families to attend college. In that sense, we make possible the American dream,” said Charles L. Flynn, Jr., President of the College.

The College of Mount Saint Vincent Wal-Mart Scholars program will focus primarily on first-generation commuter students, a population with needs that differ from those of other first-generation students. Each student will be matched with a commuter assistant—a student who serves as a resource, role model, and peer advisor. Students will also participate in community-building and educational activities designed specifically for the commuter population. The college will help parents support these first-generation students by offering subsidized orientations, workshops, and regular mailings.

“CIC was delighted that 217 institutions—more than a third of its membership—applied for the grants. More importantly, we were amazed at the outstanding quality of their programs—truly a testament to the efforts of private colleges to ensure the success of first-generation students,” said CIC President Richard Ekman in announcing the awards. “These awards will help strengthen those programs and also provide recognition that their work is important,” Ekman added.

“Wal-Mart is proud to support programs that enable first generation students to succeed in college,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “Wal-Mart’s partnership with CIC identifies institutions committed to the success of first generation students and will help identify and share effective programs.”

The 19 additional winners are:  Adrian College (MI), Bay Path College (MA), Bellarmine University (KY), California Lutheran University, Carroll University (WI), College of Idaho, College of Saint Benedict (MN), College of St. Scholastica (MN), Florida Memorial University, Illinois College, Juniata College (PA), Kalamazoo College (MI), Lesley University (MA), Manchester College (IN), North Central College (IL), Ripon College (WI), St. Edward’s University (TX), Wartburg College (IA), and Wiley College (TX).

Nationwide, at all colleges and universities, only 24 percent of first-generation students succeed in earning a bachelor’s degree compared with 68 percent of students whose parents received a bachelor’s degree.  The colleges that have been selected for the Wal-Mart College Success Awards have developed programs that result in higher percentages of graduates among their first-generation college students than the national average, and many graduate first-generation students at the same rate as all other students.

The Wal-Mart College Success Awards program is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges and made possible by a generous grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.

For more information about the Wal-Mart College Success Awards and the programs of the 20 winners, visit the CIC website here.