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Oregon Universities Celebrate First Annual National GEAR UP Da

Kristin Strommer, GEAR UP Communications Specialist (Kristin_strommer@ous.edu / 541-346-5730)
Stephanie Carnahan, GEAR UP Project Director (stephanie_carnahan@ous.edu / 541-346-5761)

[Eugene – September 18, 2009]:  The Oregon University System announced today the celebration of the First Annual National GEAR UP Day at Western Oregon University (WOU) and Eastern Oregon University (EOU). This day commemorates 10 years of success for the transformative Gaining Early Awareness and Education for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a federal college access program created during the Clinton Administration. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income students across the United States.

GEAR UP Day events took place simultaneously on the WOU and EOU campuses.WOU hosted students and staff of Taft 7-12 High School (Lincoln City), treating them to lunch and to presentations by Oregon GEAR UP Project Director Stephanie Carnahan as well as WOU Associate Provost David McDonald.  Students also participated in sessions on college preparation, overcoming obstacles to higher education, and college and career planning. 

EOU brought students and staff from Stanfield Secondary School to the campus for an address from Colleen Johnson, La Grande’s mayor, who officially proclaimed September 18, 2009, to be National GEAR UP Day on the EOU campus and encouraged citizens to join her in celebrating one of “our Nation’s most successful college access programs.”  Students also learned about college admissions in a session with EOU representatives Les Balsiger and Tyler Dubsky, participated in a modified college class with faculty member Tawnya Lubbes, and received special EOU T-shirts and backpacks to take home. 

Oregon GEAR UP was established in 2002, supporting college readiness initiatives in low-income serving middle and high schools across the state.  Schools participating in GEAR UP have developed a wide variety of programs designed to increase the college-going rates of their graduates – including the expansion of college preparatory classes and the strengthening of relationships between school districts and colleges. National GEAR UP Day is a time to celebrate these accomplishments in the local community. Stephanie Carnahan said, “The Oregon GEAR UP family is delighted to commemorate National GEAR UP Day with two of our higher education partners, and to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of staff in GEAR UP schools.  Together, we are making a real difference for low-income youth in our state.”

For more information about Oregon GEAR UP, visit http://gearup.ous.edu.  To learn more about the national GEAR UP program, please contact the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships at 202-530-1135 or www.edpartnerships.org.

Oregon GEAR UP is a federally-funded program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enroll and succeed in college. The program is administered by the Oregon University System.

Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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