CC Celebrates Inaugural Cohort of Stroud Scholars

Nineteen high school seniors from various schools around the Pikes Peak region are the first group to complete the Stroud Scholars college preparatory program at Colorado College, named after two of the first Black students to graduate from the institution in 1931. The scholars were honored at a college signing day event May 1 at Bemis Great Hall.

The students who completed the free, three-year program are from Colorado Springs school districts 2, 11, 8, and 20. These students can earn admission to CC with significant financial aid and scholarships or another chosen college or university.

“This inaugural cohort was in their first year of high school when COVID hit,” says Jim Burke, director of CC’s Summer Session. “And I believe the Stroud Scholars program contributed to these students’ success by offering summer coursework and academic-year mentoring that provided them with the essential tools to excel and thrive in a college environment. Their success serves as a reminder of the transformative power of education and the importance of programs like Stroud Scholars that help pave the way for greater access to higher education.”

Four of the students have decided to enroll with Colorado College this fall. Twelve students have chosen four-year programs across Colorado and the U.S., including historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.  Two students will enroll in two-year programs in Colorado Springs and one student expects to enroll in college following a military enlistment.

Taking a wider view, the Colorado Department of Higher Education's most recent report details a college-going rate of 49.9 percent of students in Colorado enrolling in a two-or-four-year program after graduating, with persisting race and ethnicity enrollment gaps.

“It's not lost on us that over 90% of our Stroud Scholars are moving on to a two-or-four-year degree,” added Burke. “Over the three years with these scholars, we've supported their academic progression and cultivated their college-readiness, moving some students onto a college-bound track and helping other students expand their understanding of which colleges are within reach. With such a high percentage of scholars enrolling in degree programs after high school, I see Colorado College continuing to make an impact on our community, across Colorado Springs and across the state.” 

The Stroud Scholars program prepares students for selective college environments by working with high promise youth to provide academic preparation, mentorship, and guidance navigating admissions and financial aid processes to CC and beyond. Over three summers, beginning before their sophomore year, the students receive two-to-three weeks of college readiness coursework focusing on quantitative reasoning and composition skills.

The Stroud Scholars program honors the legacy of two of the earliest Black students to graduate from Colorado College, siblings Kelley Dolphus Stroud '31 and Effie Stroud '31 who persevered through discrimination yet excelled in education and in their lives.

“As we celebrate these scholars' next steps after high school, we also celebrate the agency they've developed throughout the program. These young adults have learned that college experience is important to them, due in part to their time at CC, and have chosen the communities and institutions that best fit them and their goals. Their agency, aspiration, and achievement of goals is a sign of success for the Stroud Scholars Program, and we are excited to cheer them along their next academic journey,” says Burke.



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