NCICU awards grant for Elon Academy and Multicultural Center programs

An organization that represents private colleges and universities in North Carolina has awarded Elon University a grant of $20,000 to fund programs for rising first-year college students in the Elon Academy, the Watson Scholarship Program and the Odyssey Scholarship Program.

The grant from North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities will support the Elon University Summer Bridge Programs. The programs ensure a successful transition to college for students whose potential outweigh their financial circumstances.

NCICU grants were awarded to private institutions in North Carolina to assist in developing new or enhancing existing college access and success programs.

This gift is part of Ever Elon: The Campaign for the Future of Our University, which to date has raised $87 million toward the $100 million goal.

The specifics of the Elon University Summer Bridge Programs:

The Elon University Summer Bridge Team will design, implement, and assess the summer bridge program. The team includes Darris Means, Elon Academy assistant Director; Lauren Flinn, Multicultural Center assistant director; two Elon Academy college students; and two Watson/Odyssey students. The college students will recruit, select, and train other college students to serve as peer leaders in the Watson/Odyssey Orientation Program and at the “First in the Family” Retreat.

The “First in the Family” Retreat will provide tools, resources, and materials to assist Elon Academy students with a successful transition into their freshman year of college and with their future success as college students. Centered around Kathleen Cushman’s First in the Family: Advice about College from First-Generation Students, participants will prepare for the challenges and dilemmas of beginning college as a first-generation student.

The Watson/Odyssey Orientation Program will welcome 28 first-year Watson/Odyssey scholars to Elon’s campus for a week of cohort development, diversity education and transition to college workshops led by the Multicultural Center, Elon Academy, faculty and first-generation student mentors.

About North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities:

The mission of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education. NCICU is comprised of North Carolina’s 36 private, non-profit liberal arts, comprehensive, and research colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. They also provide research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conduct staff development opportunities and coordinate collaborative programs.

About the Elon Academy:

In 2007, in collaboration with the Alamance-Burlington School System, Elon University established the Elon Academy, a three-year intensive college access program for academically promising high school students with significant financial need and/or no family history of college. Its mission is to inspire students to pursue and earn a postsecondary degree and to assume leadership roles in their communities. The program includes three 4-week residential summer experiences and year-round monthly Saturday programs on Elon’s campus. The program continues to provide support for students through their college education. For more information, visit

About the Watson and Odyssey Scholarship Program:

Watson and Odyssey Scholars bring powerful and unique experiences, perspectives, and leadership to Elon University. The scholarship program harnesses the great potential of these scholars and provides them with peer and administrative support so they can excel and impact Elon’s campus. As members of the Odyssey and Watson programs, students participate as cohorts in a four-year curriculum supported by Elon University’s Multicultural Center. The curriculum serves the academic, social, personal and financial needs of each cohort. The themes for each year are: Identity and Acclimation (first year), Active Leadership (second year), Global Perspective of Social Justice (third year) and Personal and Professional Development (fourth year).

For more information, visit

The Watson Program, two cohorts of eight students per year, consists of scholarship recipients of The Leon and Lorraine Watson North Carolina Scholarship.

The Odyssey Program, a cohort of eight to ten students per year, consists of recipients of The Honorable Thad Eure North Carolina Achievement Scholarship, The John L. Georgeo Scholarship, The Margaret Ann Hall Scholarship, The Mac Mahon Family Scholarship and The Susan Scholarship.