Before coming to DePauw for an official interview, new University President Brian Casey visited the campus. He toured the facility with some kids who were part of an organization called The Posse Foundation.
Casey was impressed by the enthusiasm and fervor the students showed for the school. He told the Banner Graphic, in an interview last week, how excited he is to have a group of "Posse" kids attending DePauw.
He went on to explain the name of the group, which was a result of one student saying he wished he had his "posse" (slang for a group of friends) with him.
The program itself is designed around promising minority students attending universities.
Twenty years ago, an education specialist named Deborah Bial noted that these students were failing.
She helped create an innovative program called The Posse Foundation which identifies, recruits and trains student leaders from urban public high schools to form multi-cultural teams called "posses." These kids attend an intensive recruitment and pre-college training program for eight months.
The teams of 10-12 students enroll together at top-tier colleges and universities nationwide to pursue academic programs. It is scholarship program.
DePauw is one of the schools to partner with the program. They have been part of the program since 1996 when they became the first college in the nation to host two Posse groups from large cities.
This year Posse groups from Chicago (72 students) will head to DePauw, Carleton College in Minnesota, Oberlin College in Ohio, Pomona College in California, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
The graduation rate of those participating in the Posse program is 90 percent.
According to the foundation's Web site, www.possefoundation.org, "the concept of a Posse works for both students and college campuses, and is rooted in the belief that a small diverse group of talented students -- a Posse -- carefully selected and trained can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development."
The program goes to the next level as well. They provide scholars with the tools and opportunities they need to be eligible for the most competitive and career enhancing jobs and internships by giving them key components through an Internship Program, the Alumni Career Network and Career Counseling Services.
The Posse Program has had great success over the past years placing 2,200 students into 28 colleges and universities. Over $220 million in scholarships have been awarded to students in the program.