Discusses Impact of Mentorship on Student Success

This blog post from SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards recently appeared on the Citizen IBM blog site, which can be viewed here

An IBM mentor meets with her Excelsior Academy student protégéMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. –In business and in education, much of one’s success can be traced to fruitful relationships and partnerships. At a recent event in Newburgh, New York, the 50 students of Excelsior Academy – the new P-TECH model school housed at the North campus of Newburgh Free Academy – were introduced to the IBM mentors who will help guide them through their innovative program. Excelsior Academy is one of 16 new P-TECH schools that has opened across New York State this year. Each new school leverages public-private partnerships among school districts, community colleges and corporate sponsors.

The mentor-protégé relationship is essentially important to Excelsior students, who over time will turn to their mentors for guidance, advice, support and encouragement. Similarly, the partnership between the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, IBM and SUNY Orange will create seamless pathways for students to move from the halls of Newburgh Free Academy to the classrooms at SUNY Orange and ultimately, into a productive job with IBM or another of the many employers within the Hudson Valley.

Since its inception, SUNY Orange has supported students with the types of programs
and services that have helped them adjust to academic life, achieve success in the classroom and prepare for life after college. Much of the time, the key ingredient to a student’s success is the advisor or professor who takes the time to engage with and guide the student.

Throughout my many conversations with SUNY Orange alumni, their stories about their time at the College typically follow one of two themes – recollections of a professor or staff member who mentored and encouraged them, or how the College’s challenging academics made subsequent study at a four-year institution easier. This combination of personal engagement and academic rigor, at all levels of education, is so valuable to young people anxious to succeed.

SUNY Orange (originally Orange County Community College) was founded in 1950 by a handful of community leaders committed to providing local access to higher education. Access to education is just one part of a young person’s formula for achievement. The value of mentorship to a young man or woman cannot be overstated. Mentorship is a catalyst for success. Mentors become role models, advisors, counselors and friends. I also foresee IBM’s mentors at Excelsior Academy helping students build that all-important network of professional contacts and relationships that will benefit them long after they’ve graduated and entered the workforce.

We at SUNY Orange value our role as an educational leader and valued partner within the community. By working with the Newburgh Enlarged City School District and IBM, we will provide Excelsior Academy students with the tools and support they need to succeed academically and prepare for productive careers after graduation. And when our graduates become productive members of our local communities, we all win.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940