The Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program at Lehman College Recognized as 2015 Excelencia in Education’s Examples of Excelencia Finalist For Top National Programs at Increasing Latino College Success

Choice Excelenica 2015

Dr. Annette Hernández & Vice President Reine Sarmiento receive Examples of Excelencia Finalist Award.

The nationally prestigious educational advocacy organization, Excelencia in Education, recognized the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program at Lehman College as one of the country’s top twenty programs at increasing Latino success. SEEK was selected as a 2015 Examples of Excelencia Finalist in the Bachelor Level category of a national competition. Excelencia in Education used a multi-step, result-driven process and a committee of national experts to select from among 265 programs nominated from 30 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The Excelencia in Education award ceremony was attended by elected officials and higher education leaders from across the nation. Lehman College’s SEEK Director, Dr. Annette Hernández, and Vice President and Associate Provost Reine Sarmiento represented the college at the September 22 ceremonies at the Washington D.C. Mayflower Hotel. This is the 10th year that Excelencia in Education has identified and recognized America’s best programs that demonstrate through data and evidence that they improve Latino college success.

TheSEEK program at Lehman College supports about 855 full-time undergraduates and enrolls 225 freshman each year; 73% are Latino. Over the last eight years, the Program implemented a number of strategies that they believe contributed to improved outcomes in retention, performance, graduation and other areas.

Examples include: from 2007 to 2012 there was a 21% increase (from 67% to 88%) in the first-year retention rate of SEEK Latino students and a 29% increase in second-year retention rates; the average cumulative GPA for entering cohorts from 2007-2013 rose from 2.46 to 2.97; SEEK’s six-year graduation rate for Latinos increased from 29% (cohort 2007) to 43% (cohort 2008). In another SEEK program initiative, Reaching into the Science Experience (RISE), SEEK students interested in STEM and health careers were provided with science-focused supplemental academic support services, including year-round science preparation workshops. RISE participants earned satisfactory grades in challenging science courses at a rate of 74% compared to a 41% satisfactory grade rate for students in the same science courses in previous cohorts who did not have RISE preparation.

Examples of Excelencia was presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and sponsored by ACT, Comcast NBCUniversal, Telemundo, Univision, DeVry Education Group, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the Edwin Gould Foundation, PG&E Corporation, and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Complete descriptions of 2015 Examples of Excelencia programs, including metrics of their success, are available in the 2015 What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education Compendium.

According to the prominent non-profit organization, Examples of Excelencia was inspired by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s 1999 Convening of Latino Youth, a historic, first-ever White House gathering that resulted in the publication, “What Works for Latino Youth.”

To recognize this year’s anniversary, former secretary of state Clinton produced a special video tribute that premiered during the September 22 ceremony. “This program is near and dear to me.” says Clinton in the video message.

Below is the letter from Excelencia in Education informing the Lehman SEEK Program of their Example of Excelencia Finalist award.

Dear Ms. Hernandez,

Congratulations on being recognized as a 2015 finalist for Examples of Excelencia. This year we received 265 nominations from programs in 30 states plus Washington DC & Puerto Rico! Your program was one out of only 5 finalists in the Baccalaureate category. Given the quality of the finalists, the Examples selection committee had a difficult task in selecting only one program for recognition. While your program was not selected as this year’s Example, please know we were impressed with your program’s impact on Latino student success. Thank you for your dedication and focus to serving Latino students. We learned a lot about your efforts and we are committed to sharing your good work with others who are also focused on improving Latino student success across the country.

As a distinguished finalist we hope you will join us and others to celebrate Latino student success at our annual fall events: Celebración de Excelencia and the Accelerating Latino Student Success (ALASS) workshop.

At Celebración de Excelencia, to be held Tuesday, September 22nd 2015, we will use our national platform to publicly announce your role as a finalist along with the 2015 Examples of Excelencia. We will also release the 2015 edition of the What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education Compendium, followed by a reception to celebrate your work. The event will be held at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036 in partnership with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC).

The following day, our ALASS workshop gives you the opportunity to learn more about effective strategies being used at colleges and community-based organizations across the country and to network with various professionals that share your passion for Latino students. The ALASS workshop will also be at the Mayflower hotel from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm on Wednesday, September 23rd 2015.

Please RSVP for these two great events and reserve your hotel room now by following this link.

The Early registration rate deadline ends today August 3rd; because your program was identified as an Examples finalist this year, we will extend this rate to you through the first week of September in hopes that you will join us.

Thank you for what you are doing to improve the academic achievement of Latino students and for playing an important role in Examples of Excelencia’s mission to support and promote practices like yours.

We look forward to seeing you in DC!