Supporting Improved Campus Climate and Student Success

Ensuring that first-generation students are welcomed and nurtured on college campuses is a core ambition of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. To that end, the Fund’s trustees recently awarded grants to five institutions to improve campus climates and smooth pathways to success for students.

The trustees awarded:

$100,000 to Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia, to support administrative leadership that can program, train and assess the university’s inclusiveness and diversity efforts. In the past year, Hollins has held listening sessions with students, conducted training for faculty and provided workshops for student affairs staff and student leaders. A campus climate assessment confirmed the need to step up inclusivity efforts to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse campus community. The grant will support those efforts.

$26,000 to Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia, to support diversity and inclusiveness training for faculty and staff at the college in Appalachia. In addition to group workshops and training, employees will be encouraged to engage in followup activities – with financial support provided – to broaden the conversation around diversity and inclusion across campus.

$100,000 to Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland, to support a strategy to increase the comfort level – and thus the performance – of low-wealth, first-generation students. Washington College has instituted a cohort approach to first-generation students intended to foster camaraderie and social supports, as well as academic supports. Complete with summer programs, the initiative seeks to ensure student retention, support academic performance and improve the campus climate.

$101,000 to Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, to support women, minorities and first-generation students in the sciences at the small, private college in central Florida. The sciences constitute the fastest growing program at the college. With support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the school will integrate advising, career planning, mentoring, and high impact educational practices such as internships, to help students create academic pathways that lead to success after graduation.

$52,750 to Bluefield College, Bluefield, Virginia, to provide targeted supports for first-year, first generation students at the small (800 students) college in rural Virginia.