Michael J. Maune, a sophomore at Anderson University, was recently honored as an outstanding first-generation student during a banquet entitled “Realizing the Dream,” sponsored by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Maune is a native of St. Leon, Ind. He was honored with students from 32 independent college campuses and universities throughout Indiana. Maune is majoring in English. Made possible by a grant to the Independent Colleges of Indiana from the Lilly Endowment, “Realizing the Dream” recognizes the triumphs of first-generation students in their first year of college.
The student honorees are Indiana high school graduates who subsequently demonstrated superior academic performance during their freshman year and exhibited leadership in campus or community activities. A $1,000 grant will be mailed to each of the 32 institutions to be deposited into the student’s account and applied toward the cost of his/her education.
The program also celebrates the roles played by teachers and parents in shaping student aspirations for a college education. After being chosen by their college, the students then name the elementary or secondary teacher who most influenced them to attend college. These teachers will receive a $1,000 professional development award. Maune selected Patricia A Schnecker, a teacher at East Central High School in St. Leon.
The speaker during this year’s ‘Realizing the Dream” banquet was Mr. Olgen Williams, Executive Director of the Christtamore House Family and Community Center.
Dr. Louis C. Gatto, director of the program, praised the accomplishments of those honored in past years. According to Dr. Gatto, “recently completed studies of the previous classes reveal an 89% graduation rate, which is almost double the national collegiate graduation rate. There is no better incentive than this success story to encourage college attendance by others who do not have the benefit of a family college tradition.”
Since 1989, “Realizing the Dream” has honored high-achieving first-generation students from independent colleges and universities in Indiana as well as the elementary or high school teachers who have inspired them. The program was conceived and developed by three former first-generation college generations: William C. Bonifield, William DuBois, Jr. and Dr. Louis C. Gatto.
Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, theology and nursing.
— Diana Buickel is a student writer in the Office of University Communications.