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EOF Builds Confidence to Succeed

Marking a decade, Empowerment Conference provides first-year scholars with the skills to achieve

Posted in: Homepage News, University

student standing with fist raised at EOF
Feeling the power to succeed.

Capping rigorous summer academies preparing incoming students for college, Montclair State University hosted the 10th annual statewide Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Empowerment Conference to support the newest class of EOF scholars with the transition to college.

More than 550 scholars came to Montclair State University on July 28 to hear from motivational speaker and Montclair alumnus Michael Spence ’14 on the importance of intentionally pursuing their personal and professional goals. Participants also took part in workshops designed by Montclair’s Future College Graduate Academy to help these highly motivated students from diverse and historically denied backgrounds succeed, open doors and know that they belong.

“The conference allowed for multiple EOF programs in New Jersey to connect scholars from all the different schools,” said Montclair’s EOF Director Dr. Rahjaun Gordon, “providing multiple breakout sessions, a talent showcase and powerful keynote that scholars were able to enjoy but also learn skills related to navigating college.”

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Experiencing the support and motivational talks help EOF scholars feel empowered to persevere and succeed.
For the past 54 years, New Jersey’s EOF programs have supported generations of scholars from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds.
EOF attendees standing, holding cell phones up
At Montclair State University, a summer academy and year-round support gives EOF scholars the skills, resources and counseling that enable students to persist and to graduate at rates that exceed state and national benchmarks.
The conference keynote was given by Montclair alumnus and motivational speaker Michael Spence ’14.
Michael Spence walking on stage as students hold cell phone LED lights up
More than 550 students – from Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Georgian Court University, Hudson County Community College, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Passaic County Community College, Ramapo College of New Jersey and Rider University – react to the presentation.
student in the audience cheering
The EOF four-year graduation rate at Montclair is the highest in the history of the program; a key factor being the first-year scholars successfully completing the rigorous six-week summer academy. The statewide conference is one of the culminating retention activities.
student at EOF smiling for camera
Feeling inspired.

Photos by University Photographer Mike Peters.

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