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Annual NEED HBCU College Tour Unites CU Undergrads and High School Students From Pittsburgh

June 29, 2012

The recent NEED gathering of Pittsburgh high school and Cheyney University students. NEED chairman, the late Sylvester Pace, is second from the left.

The recent NEED gathering of Pittsburgh high school and Cheyney University students. NEED chairman, the late Sylvester Pace, is second from the left.

Sylvester Pace, a CU alum, was active with NEED, a full-service college-access program and student mentoring program based in Pittsburgh. NEED provides scholarships, annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tours, access to College & Career Education training programs, and the AAMMI mentoring program, to name a few. This April, Mr. Pace was on CU's campus with two busloads of high school juniors and volunteers.  Unfortunately, it was his last visit to Cheyney University.  He passed away  on June 8.

Recently, Mr. Pace sent a letter to express his appreciation to Cheyney University staff and the participating CU students who had once been in the NEED program. "The NEED HBCU Educational Tour is a rite of passage for 10th and 11th graders that is also an invaluable learning experience outside of the classroom.  The Educational Tour allows students to gain firsthand knowledge about approximately 14 HBCUs in the Eastern and Southeastern United States.

"On Friday, April 6, 2012 we had the opportunity to bring approximately 130 talented high school students to the campus of Cheyney University.  I would be remiss if we did not recognize Mr. Gregory Benjamin, who was very instrumental in making our annual visit to Wolf Country a huge success. In addition, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Beta Gamma Chapter also played an annual role in hosting.  Last but not least, over a dozen CU students from Pittsburgh were in attendance to give testimonies about their Cheyney experience. I was extremely proud of these students from Pittsburgh who represented the University extremely well."

According to Gregory Benjamin, Director of Alumni Relations, "The NEED students who chose Cheyeny University become a very tight group.  Sylvester Pace and his Pittsburgh colleagues take on a lot of responsibility for these students - including transporting them and their possessions to and from campus every year, mentoring them, and making them feel a part of the CU family.  As the years pass, the Pittsburgh students grow up and begin to give support to the new students, just as they received support when they were young. NEED college advisors assist students during and after the trip, encouraging them in their efforts and talking to them about career exploration, college awareness, college selection, college preparation, scholarship search and education plans." 

Since its founding in 1963, NEED has supported over 19,000 deserving young people by providing nearly $20 million in grants. NEED’s resources play an important role in encouraging access through financial and counseling assistance to those who are the neediest students. The average NEED recipient has an unmet need of $8,285. This past fiscal year NEED provided over 700 scholarships and grants to students.

NEED’s HBCU Educational Tour is unique because in addition to visiting established HBCUs such as Alabama State, Bennett, Cheyney, Clark Atlanta, Howard, Johnson C. Smith, Lincoln, Morehouse, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central, Spellman, Tuskegee, Virginia State, and Winston Salem; the tour supplements classroom learning by providing students with hands-on learning experiences at historically significant sites including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, The Rosa Parks Museum, the Woolworth Counter in Greensboro, the Ebenezer Baptist Church and many more.

Mr. Pace is survived by his wife Rhonda and two daughters.