BMCC’s Out-in-Two program celebrated 34 inductees—the largest cohort in its history—with a ceremony and buffet luncheon on March 23 in Richard Harris Terrace.
The program’s expansion from 25 inductees in Fall 2014 was made possible by donations from the BMCC Foundation and other donors.
That growth will continue, said President Antonio Pérez in his opening remarks.
He welcomed special guests including Stuart Post, who was at the ceremony representing Stephen Meringoff and the Meringoff Family Foundation, which has pledged a gift of $125,000 per year to the Out-in-Two program for the next three years, or $375,000 total.
That amount, the president said, will be matched by the Derfner Foundation and its trustee Jay Lieberman, for a total gift, over three years, of $750,000.
“Thanks to the generosity of donors like the Meringoff Family Foundation and Derfner Foundation, we will be able to support Out-in-Two scholars than ever before; more than 120 scholars over the next three years,” said the president.
He next welcomed special guest Lauren McGrail of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation, “which is also considering support for this impactful program,” he said.
Senior Vice President Karrin Wilks congratulated the inductees, and emphasized the importance of their volunteer service efforts. “The world needs smart, tenacious leaders to make a difference in our communities,” she said.
Dean Erwin Wong quoted the American Indian proverb, “If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with a group,” and reminded the inductees that their Out-in-Two network would be a resource throughout their academic and professional careers.
Out-in-Two Club President Randy Ramphal shared his experience volunteering with Meals on Wheels and visiting college campuses with fellow Out-in-Two members, as they planned their next steps after graduating from BMCC.
Senior academic advisor Mary Quezada, who co-coordinates the program with academic advisor Chris Pierre, told the group they would be provided with time management and study skills workshops, and Pierre encouraged them to become critical thinkers, “which also means being willing to seek academic support when you need it,” he said.
90% success rate
The new cohort of 34 Out-in-Two students is the largest in the program’s history.
Qualifying applicants must submit an essay as well as being first-time freshmen enrolled in a degree program, carrying at least 15 credits per semester and earning a GPA of at least 3.0, said Mary Quezada.
The new cohort’s group photo took a little longer than usual, as family and friends of the inductees took turns getting their shots of the scholars holding their plaques.
In addition to workshops and volunteer projects, the Out-in-Two scholars will explore New York together, attending Broadway plays and museums. Each participant will meet regularly with a dedicated academic advisor, and receive a $1,600 tuition credit for three consecutive semesters.
The financial support provided by Out-in-Two enables scholars to work fewer hours in jobs outside their full-time class schedule. It also helps defray the cost of textbooks, transportation to campus and other expenses.
Results show that the program model works: Over 90% of the Out-in-Two scholars graduate in two years and go on to four-year colleges, a dramatically higher rate than the national average.
Thirty-one percent of full-time community college students take three years to complete their associate degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.