Lycoming College awarded $110,000 grant to develop summer bridge program for first-year students

Lycoming College secured a two-year, $110,000 grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation to implement the Lycoming Summer Academy (LSA) bridge program in support of the College’s continued commitment to creating avenues of access and support for students. Lycoming was chosen as a grant recipient due to the compelling nature of LSA, and as such, joins the ranks of other Booth Ferris grantees including Bard College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Franklin & Marshall College. The program will launch in August 2018.

LSA builds on Lycoming’s long tradition of educating first-generation college students, recognizing that being academically capable is sometimes not enough to thrive in higher education, and that support systems are needed to ensure success. Contributions to the Campaign for a Greater Lycoming currently total in excess of $51 million, and this grant was awarded as part of the campaign’s $65 million fundraising effort to Fuel a New Generation of Warriors.

The program will bring 30 of the College’s incoming freshmen to campus for a two-week, pre-semester experience to help them smoothly transition to a higher education atmosphere. The students will be provided with relational support and community building that will continue throughout their first year via small student cohort groups, each of which will be mentored by a faculty member and a successful junior student. Additionally, students will take two, one-credit courses organized around engaging topics and focused on building skills for academic success. Students will also take a half-credit professional development course taught by Lycoming’s academic discipline-based career advisors.

Program components will also include off-campus experiential learning opportunities that emphasize critical analysis, mathematical skills and journaling, as well as community building activities through Lycoming’s Outdoor Leadership and Education program.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Lycoming graduates its students at rates that are five percentage points higher than predicted, based on students’ backgrounds. “With this grant, we will leverage our successful experience in furthering student outcomes to improve upon this record and, even more, to increase the level of academic achievements of all students so that they not only graduate, but have the opportunity to truly excel during their academic careers and beyond,” said Philip Sprunger, Ph.D., provost and dean, Lycoming College. “The LSA program will provide a foundation upon which students can build successes, taking advantage of the full complement of rigorous and high-impact experiential education that Lycoming offers, including individually tailored internships, undergraduate research and study abroad coordinated through our Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences.”

The LSA program will take place just prior to the start of the academic year, and all LSA students will receive a $750 first-year scholarship upon completion of the summer experience.

The Booth Ferris Foundation was established in 1957 under the wills of Willis H. Booth and his wife, Chancie Ferris Booth. Since that time, the foundation has contributed approximately $281 million to worthy organizations for a variety of charitable purposes, including education and the arts. The Higher Education Program of the Booth Ferris Foundation provides capacity building support for institutions of higher education in the northeastern United States.