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TRIO programs celebrate anniversaries at MCTC

Five TRIO Programs Celebrate Big Anniversaries at MCTC; Celebration Recognizes 40 Years of Accomplishments

TRIO anniversaryWhen Jon Westby returned from his tour in Vietnam in 1971, businesses were just beginning to proactively hire veterans. One year later MCTC—then known as Metropolitan State Junior College—received a federal grant to assist returning veterans with academic skills and job training. Jon was hired to work with the brand-new Veterans Upward Bound program in 1972.

On Oct. 15, TRIO celebrated the 40th anniversary of Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), as well as the anniversaries of four other TRIO programs housed on the MCTC campus. These TRIO programs serve roughly 4,200 individuals each year, most of whom are low-income and first generation college students. The anniversary celebration drew nearly 100 people including included MCTC’s deans, vice presidents and President Phil Davis; alumni from the TRIO programs; current students and, by way of pre-recorded video, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Ellison had to cancel his attendance of the event due to the federal government budget discussions.

“TRIO has been bringing results to young people—all of whom are the first person in their family to get a college degree—for 40 years,” said Ellison in his video recorded in his Minneapolis neighborhood. “I am absolutely your staunch and unrelenting supporter.”

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, although unable to attend, made an unforgettable and irreplaceable gesture. “Whereas the five TRIO programs at Minneapolis Community and Technical College are an integral part of the education of low-income, first generation and students with disabilities, helping them to gain access to higher education and to remain in school…now, therefore, I, R.T. Rybak, Mayor of the City of Minneapolis, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2013 as TRIO Day in the City of Minneapolis.”

TRIO anniversary

The event featured two TRIO alumni who spoke of their experience in their respective programs. TRIO Starting Point alum Kariim Adam graduated from MCTC in 2011 with his Associate in Science degree in Human Services. “I came from Somalia. I had been out of school for 22 years, and I have four children. When I started at MCTC, everything looked different to me,” said Kariim. “I needed a lot of advice. With TRIO, I found peace of mind. For the first time I was able to imagine myself graduating.” Kariim transferred to St. Mary's University after graduating from MCTC. “When I arrived at St. Mary’s the first thing I did was ask my advisor where the TRIO office was.”


Tim Moore is a veteran of the Iraq War. He joined Veteran’s Upward Bound (VUB) with 30 years of military service under his belt, and spoke to the rapt audience. “The strangest thing I did when I got to TRIO was to learn how to ask for help,” said Tim. “VUB was a refuge. It helped me find my focus.” Tim is now pursuing a master’s degree in education, and intends to teach math.

After working with VUB for 40 years, Jon Westby retired from MCTC earlier this year. Alumni of VUB gave him a standing ovation during the presentation. Other TRIO employees recognized for their years of assisting students, familiarity with academic processes and patience include Jennifer Brookins-King, director of

TRIO Starting Point; Joy Wise, director of VUB; Jon Stein, advisor for VUB and Shirley Sanders, director of TRIO High School Upward Bound. Other key players at MCTC’s TRIO offices include Janet Tauer, director of the Educational Opportunity Center; and Nasreen Mohammed, director of Educational Talent Search.

TRIO’s anniversary celebration was featured in MCTC’s spring Groove magazine. Click here to read the article on page 4.

Photo: Five MCTC TRIO programs celebrate anniversaries in 2013. Click here for a full-sized image

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