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“Realizing the Dream”: Celebrating First-Generation College Students

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

Contact:  Mary Ellen Hamer, Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc., (317) 236-6090 Click here for full release

INDIANAPOLIS, October 31, 2018 – Realizing a dream takes commitment, hard work, and, most often, a helping hand from family and others.  And that’s exactly what 30 students from Indiana’s private, non-profit colleges and universities are being celebrated for this Saturday evening, November 3, at the 29th annual “Realizing the Dream” banquet.

Now sophomores, they have realized the dream of being the first in their families to go to college, have been selected by their colleges for outstanding achievement in the freshman year, and are successfully advancing towards completing their bachelor’s degrees.

Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the event recognizes first-generation students attending ICI campuses, along with their inspirational teachers and families.  The event is being held at the Sheraton Indianapolis at Keystone Crossing, with a reception at 6:00 p.m. and an awards dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Each honored student will receive a $2,500 check to help with college costs, and each student’s selected “most influential” teacher/mentor will receive a $1,000 professional development grant.  One out of every three students on ICI campuses is first-generation. Generous financial aid provided by the campuses themselves, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all students in Indiana.

The keynote speaker for the evening is Trine University alum, and board chair, Rick James.  James began working at Auburn Foundry after he graduated from high school.  He learned all aspects of foundry operation and in 1989 he and a partner founded Metal Technologies Inc., that today has sales in excess of $500 million and more than 1,100 employees.

“We are so grateful to the Lilly Endowment for making this inspirational program possible,” says David W. Wantz, ICI president & CEO.  “We are proud, too, that because of the higher graduation rates of our ICI colleges and universities, these students are significantly more likely to realize the dream of completing their degrees in four years.”  

Independent Colleges of Indiana serves as the collective voice for the state’s 30 private, nonprofit colleges and universitiesICI member institutions enroll almost 100,000 students (approximately 17 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 32 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available

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