St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf partners with Posse Foundation

StOlaf470x325St. Olaf College is one of the newest institutions to join the Posse Foundation, a college access and youth leadership development program that partners with 48 of the most selective colleges and universities in the country.

For the past 25 years, the Posse Foundation has sought out public high school students  with strong leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college admission processes. Posse extends to these students the opportunity to pursue their academic and personal goals by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams — or “posses” — of 10 students. After a year of mentoring, the posses are presented to some of the top colleges in the nation and awarded four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.

“Other highly regarded liberal arts colleges, like ours, have had great success working with Posse,” says St. Olaf President David R. Anderson ’74. “I am optimistic that we will, too.”

The program was developed by Deborah Bial, whose innovative efforts earned her a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. By creating a more comprehensive college access program, Bial hoped to not only expand the applicant pool of more selective colleges, but to create, in the process, a more interactive multicultural community on campuses.

Since first sending five students to Vanderbilt University in 1989, the Posse Foundation has supported nearly 4,900 scholars and maintained a graduation rate of 90 percent — significantly above the national average.

St. Olaf’s collaboration with the program will begin in the fall of 2014, when the college admits its first posse of 10 students from the Chicago area. The campus posse liaison, Dean of Students Rosalyn Eaton-Neeb ‘87, will be responsible for fostering a relationship between campus and the incoming students. Over the course of their undergraduate career, the posse will continue to meet with each other, their liaison, and their chosen faculty mentors, while simultaneously serving as leaders for multicultural understanding and awareness within the St. Olaf community.