Campus community celebrates the Center for Access & Success

A Wednesday ribbon cutting and open house in Mooney building gave faculty, staff, family and friends an opportunity to tour the new home of four Elon University programs that collectively serve underrepresented students from pre-kindergarten through college.

From left: Associate Professor Terry Tomasek (director of the Elon Academy), Associate Professor Jean Rattigan-Rohr (founder of the Village Project and director of the center), Janelle Rouse (director of Collegiate Start @Elon), Professor Deborah Long (interim School of Education dean and former director of the Elon Academy), Esther Freeman (director of the Watson & Odyssey Program), Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, and Marcus Elliott (associate director of the Watson & Odyssey Program).
Dozens of people celebrated on Wednesday the ribbon cutting of an Elon University initiative that has helped hundreds of young people in recent years gain access to critical resources in their pursuit of a college education.

The Elon University Center for Access & Success formally opened on the third floor of Mooney building with an open house and remarks by Elon University President Leo M. Lambert and Associate Professor Jean Rattigan-Rohr, the center’s director.

The center includes offices for the “It Takes a Village” Project, the Elon Academy, Collegiate Start @Elon, and the Watson and Odyssey Scholars Program. The four programs help students from all backgrounds gain access to and achieve success in higher education, primarily from the Elon University and surrounding communities.

“We know that education is extremely influential in helping to shape future prospects for most of us,” Rohr said during the Aug. 20, 2014, program. “Yet limited access to higher education is the only reality for far too many capabale students across this nation, especially those saddled with the burden of poverty and lack of access to opportunities.

“It is our hope that the work done in this center will indeed create various opportunities for many students in our communities.”

The “It Takes a Village” Project serves children from pre-kindergarten through middle school with remediation and enrichment to help children struggling to read. It also offers GED/ESL support to area village parents.

At the high school level, the Elon Academy is a college access and success program for academically promising high school students in the Alamance County community who demonstrate a financial need and/or no family history of college. The Academy provides academic, emotional, social and financial support to scholars and families to and through college.

Elon University faculty and staff who work with the four programs encompassed by the Center for Access & Success.
The Collegiate Start @Elon offers a dual enrollment program designed to provide high school seniors from the Alamance County community with the opportunity to simultaneously enroll in both high school and college courses, and receive dual high school and college credit.

At Elon University, the Watson and Odyssey Program assists students who are poised to take advantage of an Elon education but for whom this possibility might not be an option for financial reasons. The four-year program empowers students through peer and administrative support to ensure that they have the opportunity to fully participate in the many college experiences and contribute to the intellectual and social climate of the university.

“The mission here is to create synergy, to start with young children and think about their progression all the way to graduate school,” Lambert said. “We can never forget how important investments in our children and in public education are to a free society.”

Lambert thanked many people whose support of the center’s programs led to their success, including Edna ’44 and Doug Noiles, leaders at LabCorp Inc., and members of Elon University’s Board of Trustees and Board of of Visitors.

Rohr also asked those in the room and across campus to consider partnerships with the center. “I’m a firm believer in the ‘village’ concept,” said Rohr, who founded the “It Takes a Village” Project. “I have seen that we are indeed stronger together. … And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can not do this work alone and that we could not have gone this far by ourselves.”