Martin Luther King Jr. Ed Center to Open at SUNY New Paltz

NEW PALTZ — The new Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Center, the latest addition to the Minority Recruitment Program’s Scholar’s Mentorship Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, will open its doors for the first time on Thursday, February 25. The new center will permit the program to provide a more formal setting for expanding the academic support and development of students who participate in the Scholar’s Mentorship Program.

The Minority Recruitment Program Task Force was founded in 1973 as a way to assist generally admitted students of color in achieving a positive transition to campus life. In 1989-90, the Scholar’s Mentorship Program was developed as one project of the Task Force. The program has two goals. First, it encourages high academic achievement. Second, it seeks to create a support network to facilitate the retention and persistence of generally admitted African-American, Asian, Latino and Native American students.

The Scholar’s Mentorship Program matches generally admitted freshmen of color with a faculty/staff mentor and with a peer mentor. The relationships between the incoming students and their mentors often last throughout their entire career at SUNY New Paltz. Currently, the program serves 211 students, or proteges (freshmen to seniors), and involves 50 faculty and staff mentors representing 25 academic and administrative departments throughout SUNY New Paltz. In addition to the mentoring relationships, proteges also may participate in academic skill- enhancement courses, at-risk workshops, a scholarship program and cultural and social events.

“The primary purpose of the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Center will be to provide more structured and formal academic support to students involved in the program,” said Nat Chioke Williams, the Center’s first director. The Center will feature a computer lab, a study lounge and classroom space. Specifically, the Center has 12 computers, classroom space for up to 30 students and a TV/VCR for educational audio- visual materials. “Although a somewhat modest beginning,” said Williams, “future plans for the Center include upgrading existing and purchasing additional computers, coordinating a summer internship program and a community service program, organizing lecture series and student peer presentations, and developing a resource library that would include Graduate Record Exam preparatory software for students interested in attending graduate school.”

The opening of the MLK Jr. Educational Center will be marked by a reception held in College Hall F-43 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Because of limited space, the reception will be by invitation. Persons interested in attending should call Nat Chioke Williams, at 257-2762. Those who want more information or to become involved with the Scholar’s Mentorship Program should call the program director, Dr. Margaret Wade- Lewis, at 257-2760.