Tag Archives: college

Sneak Peek of the Commencement Challenge Finalists

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by: Lauren Paige

Starting on Monday the public will have a chance to weigh in on the six finalists in the Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek of the schools today.

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Over the past few weeks students from the six finalist schools worked with Get Schooled to create a short three minute video demonstrating how their school best meets the criteria of the Commencement Challenge.  We’ll debut those videos and a short essay by each school on Monday morning on WhiteHouse.gov/Commencement.  Visitors to the site will have a chance to rate each finalist on a scale of 1-5 and President Obama will choose one of the top three highest rated schools to visit and deliver the commencement address.  Be sure to check back Monday morning to weigh in on the finalists!

Lauren Paige is Director of Special Projects for White House Communications.

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President Obama Signs Largest Reform Of Student Aid In 40 Years

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Great Battle Pitting the Interests of the Banks and Financial Institutions Against the Interests of Students

President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 during a signing ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College March 30, 2010 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Souza, White House)

Today at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the last step on health reform that provided fixes for some elements and which improved upon the core health reforms by increasing tax credits for the middle class, investing in community health centers, and strengthening efforts to fight waste and fraud.

But the legislation also include another major priority of the President’s that was often overshadowed by the health reform debate, as he explained: “But what’s gotten overlooked amid all the hoopla, all the drama of last week, is what happened in education — when a great battle pitting the interests of the banks and financial institutions against the interests of students finally came to an end.” The President was referring to reform of student loans to make higher education more affordable, allowing students to get loans without relying on large banks as unnecessary middlemen, and saving American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years.

The President explained that the government will reinvest the savings back into education by upgrading community colleges, increasing Pell Grants, and making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans. Brian Levine from the Middle Class Task Force explains how the Income Based Repayment program will benefit students and help borrowers avoid unmanageable debt burdens here. The Act will also invest savings in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

Joined by Dr. Jill Biden, who spoke on the boost for community colleges in a video here earlier today, the President explained that this law takes another important step to invest in the country’s future through education:

For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions. Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families. But we’re also doing something more.

From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future. And two pillars of that foundation are health care and education, and each has long suffered from problems that we chose to kick down the road.

With the bill I signed last week, we finally undertook meaningful reform of our health care system. With this bill, and other steps we’ve pursued over the last year, we are finally undertaking meaningful reform in our higher education system. So this week, we can rightly say the foundation on which America’s future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago.

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First Lady Michelle Obama To Deliver Three Commencement Addresses

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama gave inspiration and encouragement in her commencement speech to the Class of 2009, the first to attend four full years at UC's newest campus in Merced.

Three colleges will host First Lady Michelle Obama as their commencement speaker. The White House announced the colleges selected on Tuesday:

On May 8th, the First Lady will address the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Established more than 130 years ago, the University began as the only state-supported institution of higher education for African Americans in Arkansas. Like many of the nation’s more than one-hundred historically black colleges and universities, the University has played a special role in enabling young people from many walks of life to further their education. While the University offers many different areas of study, it remains dedicated to the mission of providing educational opportunities to under-served communities particularly in the Arkansas Delta region. It is one of a small number of HBCUs that also are land-grant institutions and thus have a long history of preparing students for fields in agriculture, farming, and engineering. The University currently boasts an enrollment of more than 3500 students.

On May 16th, The George Washington University will host their graduation ceremonies in Washington DC. Mrs. Obama is scheduled to address this group provided the student body, faculty and staff complete the 100,000 hours of community service required during the 2009-2010 academic year. Mrs. Obama issued the challenge for these service hours in exchange for her commencement visit in September of 2009, during the first National Day of Service and Remembrance, which was the culmination of President Barack Obama’s “United We Serve” summer service initiative.

On June 11th, Mrs. Obama will address the Anacostia Senior High School Commencement, a DC public school that Mrs. Obama visited in the spring of 2009 in conjunction with her Women of Excellence event and her early mentoring activities as First Lady.

In 2009, Mrs. Obama spoke to the University of California, Merced’s first full senior class. She also addressed the Washington Math and Science Tech Public Charter High School Graduation in Washington DC.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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President Obama: Strengthening America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama signs an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama signed an executive order strengthening the capacity of and increasing the access to Federal funding for the nations historically black colleges and universities.

Obama says these schools have felt the pain of the recession most acutely because they enroll a higher proportion of low and middle-income students. He’s calling for increased funding for historically black colleges in his proposed budget.

President Obama says historically black colleges and universities still play a vital role and their success is crucial to a better future for all Americans. He’ll speak at the commencement ceremony for one of these institutions, Hampton University in Virginia, this spring.

The executive order is below:

Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Members of Virginia State University's Trojan Explosion Marching Band carry their drums through the Grand Foyer before performing at the White House. The band then watched as President Barack Obama signed an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Feb. 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Recognizing What Historically Black Colleges and Universities Mean to America

Written by William Jawando, Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement (cross-posted from WhiteHouse.gov)

“As I stood watching the Virginia State University drum-line perform in the White House this week (likely the first time an HBCU drum-line has ever performed at the White House), I was reminded of how far we have come as a nation and hopeful about where we are heading. The nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities have served our nation since 1837. They educated freed slaves, giving them the priceless gift of a mind filled with world’s possibilities. Today, this noble goal of our HBCUs continues as they unveil for their students the world of possibilities for themselves, their communities and our nation.

Guests attending this White House event left with a glow not unlike that of January 20, 2009, but they also left with a resolve to do the work that will be necessary to ensure all students have access to a high quality education and armed with the tools they need to reach for the American Dream.

When the President reflected on some of the legends that have matriculated through HBCU’s – Thurgood Marshall, Dr. Martin Luther King, WEB Dubois -I thought about how important and critically necessary these institutions have been to the fabric of our nation. I was reminded of the tremendous legacy of HBCUs and that when we invest in our young people at these schools we are preparing the way for the next King, Marshall, and Dubois.

President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to these institutions not just with this event, but also through his budget. The 2011 budget calls for $98 million in new money for HBCUs, including a commitment of $850 million over ten years. These are resources the schools can use however they see fit to build their capacity to deliver a quality education to their students. For the students, this year’s budget calls for an increase in the Pell Grant program, raising it to $5,710 annually. More than 50 percent of the students attending HBCUs qualify for Pell Grants and other forms of support. This is important because, as President Obama said, one in two students at HBCUs are the first in their family to attend college, and HBCUs continue to educate many students who often times would not be able to go to college for financial reasons.

The HBCU presidents and other guests present nodded in agreement as the President talked about the need to increase access and completion at HBCUs and the critical role they play. President Obama believes we must continue investing and supporting HBCUs as part of meeting his mission to develop a world-class education system in America. This is not just for the benefit of African Americans, but as we work to compete with our neighbors around this globe, it is to the benefit of all Americans.

Often in Washington we get mired in partisan debate and lose track of what’s really important. Education. Access to opportunity. A fair and living wage. These are things that matter and can make a difference in the lives of people no matter who they are, what they look like or where they are from. We were reminded of these truly American values this week, and for that I am eternally grateful. Now let’s get to work!”

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President Obama Calls for New Steps to Prepare Children for College and Careers

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Obama outlines new steps to better prepare Americas children for college and the workplace at a meeting with the National Governors Association . The President is calling for a redesigned Elementary and Secondary Education Act that includes a comprehensive, new vision to help states successfully transition to and implement college- and career-ready standards by improving teacher preparation and development, upgrading classroom instruction, and supporting high-quality assessments.
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Little-Known Black History Fact: Mary Alexander & Coca-Cola

Posted by BuellBoy

Mary Alexander in Coco-Cola in 1955

Mary Alexander in Coco-Cola ad in 1955

The year 1955 was like a dream come true for Mary Alexander of Ocala, Florida. She was a junior at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia concentrating on her studies when her dorm mother insisted that she go to a local audition for a Coca-Cola promotion on campus. Little did Alexander know that she would become the first Black woman to be featured in a Coca-Cola ad – the first non-athlete, that is.

Coming to the city of Atlanta from her meager farmhouse beginnings in Ball Play, Alabama, Alexander never thought she could compete against the candidates from Spelman and Morris Brown College.

Alexander’s first ad was published in Ebony magazine that same year, along with several black newspapers. She would continue working with the company, shooting another 15 ads. Overall, Alexander would earn about $1,500 modeling for Coke, even though no one knew her name. By the way, she finally gained her father’s approval when she brought a check home for $600.

It was only because a family friend who saw the ad in her home took a copy back to Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta that Coke found their black beauty. After all these years, a name would be put to the face.

Coca-Cola recognized Alexander for being a pioneer in the company’s efforts to reach more African-Americans. Several of the ads she appeared in are on display in the new World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta. They also held a reception in her honor.

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Academy Launches College Oscar® Watch Party Contest on Campuses Nationwide

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the launch of its first College Oscar Watch Party Contest on campuses nationwide. Participation is open to undergraduates from any college or university in the United States that offers a B.A., B.S. or equivalent degree.

Individual party organizers or groups of up to four organizers who register with the Academy will be responsible for organizing their respective parties and submitting recap materials after the event. A registration form is available for download at www.oscars.org. The deadline for registration is Friday, February 19, 2010.

Entrants will post up to 10 photos of their Oscar watch party on http://www.flickr.com and up to five minutes of video footage on http://www.YouTube.com, and submit URLs and a description of no more than 500 words to marketing@oscars.org. The Academy will select the best Oscar watch party based on the following criteria: enthusiasm (i.e., number of attendees, how the event was publicized); creativity (i.e., themes, decorations, food); and guest involvement (i.e., games, activities). The deadline to submit post-event materials is Monday, March 15, 2010.

The organizers of the grand prize-winning party, to be revealed later in the month, will each receive two red carpet bleacher seats at the 83rd Academy Awards® in 2011. Photos and/or video of the winning party will be posted on the Academy’s Facebook page. Organizers of two runner-up parties will also receive acknowledgment on the site, as well as official Oscar prize packages.

For a complete list of rules and regulations for the College Oscar Watch Party Contest, please visit www.oscars.org/watchpartycontest.

44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars® Main PageBack to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars® Main Page

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