The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which began at Stony Brook University in 1968, celebrated its 45th anniversary on March 29 at MIST Harlem in New York City. For 45 years EOP has been “Making Excellence Available” to all, providing access, academic support and additional financial assistance to make higher education conceivable for thousands of underrepresented students.
Since its launch, the EOP/AIM (Advancement on Individual Merit) program at Stony Brook has helped more than 5,000 students receive their undergraduate degrees. On March 29, University administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the program’s history — from its first director, Professor Aaron W. Godfrey from SBU’s Latin and Classical Studies, to current director Cheryl Hamilton, who has brought 20 strong years of academic excellence to the program — and honor its many alumni, who over the years have become trailblazers, leaders and educators.
The EOP/AIM Gala also paid tribute to Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., MD, who was honored with a Champion Award for his unprecedented support of the EOP/AIM program and its mission. H. Carl McCall, Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees, also received a Champion Award for his personal support of the program and his outstanding vision to increase support for EOP on a statewide level. McCall was not able to attend the celebration, but Joel Pierre-Louis, Secretary of the SUNY Board of Trustees, accepted the award on his behalf.
“The EOP program staff members at Stony Brook University are a committed and dedicated group of people who truly care for their students,” said President Stanley. “I will continue to advocate for additional funds in order to support the program.”
Bergre Escorbores, BA ’00, Principal of Brentwood South Middle School, served as master of ceremonies, with opening remarks made by Charles Robbins, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Colleges at Stony Brook University, and Robert James, former Associate Provost for Opportunity Programs, SUNY Systems Administration. Frederick K. Brewington, Esq, a distinguished expert in civil rights litigation, community advocate and adjunct professor at Touro College, gave the keynote address.
EOP/AIM provides access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students who have the potential to succeed in college, but whose high school academic programs have not fully prepared them to pursue college education successfully. The primary mission of EOP/AIM is to facilitate the recruitment, enrollment, retention and graduation of these students. This is accomplished by providing EOP/AIM students with an array of educationally related support services. The office is located in the Melville Library.