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Chester Higher Education Council Showcases the College Access Center of Delaware County

April 15, 2013

CU President Michelle Howard-Vital and CHEC Director Juliani Ghana at the recent meeting of The Development Committee of Chester Higher Education Education Council (CHEC)

CU President Michelle Howard-Vital and CHEC Director Juliani Ghana at the recent meeting of The Development Committee of Chester Higher Education Education Council (CHEC)

On Friday April 12, CU President Vital participated in an Open House event designed to showcase The College Access Center of Delaware County to the community, elected officials, funders and potential partners.  The College Access Center was established in 2009 as a result of the establishment of the Chester Higher Education Council, a 501(C)(3) organization formed by the presidents of Cheyney University, Delaware County Community College, Penn State Brandywine, Swarthmore College, Widener University and Neumann College.  The Open House was hosted by the Chester Higher Education Council’s Development Committee.  

Among the approximately sixty guests in attendance with CU President Vital were Dr. Rosalie M. Mirenda, President of Neumann University; Dr. Jerome S. Parker, President of Delaware County Community College and CHEC Chairman; Dr. James T. Harris III, President of Widener University; The Honorable John Linder, Mayor of Chester;  Ann Schmeig, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey; Steven Bell, Upper Darby High School; and a leadership team from TD Bank led by Tom Shoemaker, Market President.   

Located on the Widener University campus, the Center was established to serve Chester and county high school students and adults who aspire to a college education by providing free college preparation services.   Each year the Center serves more than 500 visitors and enrolls approximately 50 students in its Road Map program which offers intensive college preparation for 9th through 12th graders and includes a Parents Academy.  In describing the Road Map to College Program Center Director Julani Ghana said, "There is no program like this anywhere in the country - on a beautiful college campus.  Our cohort of 25-40 students know from working with us that college is a real possibility for them. This collaborative community partnership is here to offer homework help, SAT preparation, and male achievement programs."  

In turn, students and parents shared their success stories about the invaluable assistance that the CHEC program has provided through its Road Map to College program, tutoring and homework help, and college prep counseling sessions.  Student Taiwon Johnson said "Now I know what to do to achieve my life."      

In recent years the Center has organized a Teen Parent Back to School Night, Male Achievers Conference, a National College Fair at the Philadelphia Convention Center, and First Year Student Experiences Panel, among other activities.  These invaluable services are provided with the collaboration and support of partners including the  Chester Upland School District, The Blue Print Program, Chester Youth Collaborative, Chester Education Foundation, Strong Cities, Strong Communities Educational Task Force; Harrah’s Scholarship Committee, Crozer Wellness Center, the United Way, the Claneil Foundation and the Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Memorial Fund. 

Cheyney University Director of Admissions, Dr. Eric Hilton, serves on the Advisory Committee; University Advancement and External Relations Vice President Nancy L. Jones and Assistant Vice President for Sponsored Programs Larry Green serve on the Development Committee. 

The Open House was a kickoff of an awareness and capacity building campaign to culminate in the Center’s fifth anniversary to be celebrated in January 2014.