1947 Alumna Makes Surprise Visit Back to Campus

The ESU Office of Alumni Engagement welcomed Marjorie Fairchild Gunster ’47 back to her alma mater on October 11, 2021.

Fairchild Gunster, 96, was surprised by her daughter Carolyn Gunster, who planned the visit. Carolyn was joined by her sister Doreen, and Marjorie’s great granddaughter Connie, who is a current student at ESU.

Marjorie was a Physical Education major, and was involved in many clubs and sports, including the women’s basketball team. She was delighted to meet Dr. Gary Gray, ESU’s director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and see the basketball facility. Along her tour she visited familiar buildings and saw how much the campus has changed over the years.

With tears in her eyes, she reminisced and told stories of her time at ESU and how they were “the four best years of her life.” She said she formed many lifelong friendships and created wonderful memories she will never forget.

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Just Released: Fall-Winter 2021 Alumni Herald

Brimming with alumni news, Class Notes, campus happenings and Warrior athletic updates, the Alumni Herald keeps every Warrior in touch with their alma mater. READ THE ALUMNI HERALD.

We are always looking for stories from ESU alumni about their career, travels, and success. If you have a story to share, whether it be about yourself or a fellow alumni, consider sharing it with us! Submit your story idea. 

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Madelon Powers Gallery to Present Transfiguration: Woven Forms

East Stroudsburg University’s Madelon Powers Gallery will present Transfiguration: Woven Forms by Jennifer Zackin from February 2 – March 4. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday.

A reception for the artist will take place Wednesday, February 2 from 4 – 6 p.m. in the gallery located in the university’s Fine and Performing Arts Center, Normal and Marguerite streets. Both the exhibit and reception are open to the public at no cost.

Transfiguration: Woven Forms presents new sculptural works created by Jennifer Zackin during the pandemic. In this body of work, Zackin takes a deeper dive into her Vortex Weavings. Mathematically speaking, a vortex is a three-dimensional ring or doughnut shaped-object around which energy can flow. As it spins, a vortex forms through its central axis. This pattern can be found throughout the universe in hurricanes, galaxies, and atoms.

In the 7 Chairs series, featured in this exhibit, Zackin uses late 20th century lawn furniture and three tractor seat stools as armatures for imaginary 3-dimensional landscapes woven from materials including colorful rope and scraps of fabric and become gravity-defying underwater-like worlds, mountain ranges, escape hatches, and refuges.

The artist’s ongoing Vortex works are woven with various materials – often cotton rope – on large cube-shaped looms. For the current exhibition, Zackin has created Phoenix, a 44”x44” loom onto which she has woven a fabric made from her own old clothing, piecing together bits and scraps to create a new, cohesive, multidimensional form. 

Visitors to the gallery are invited to bring an article of clothing to be woven into a community Vortex project. Over the course of the exhibition, through the interweaving of parts of our personal history, a unique collective fabric will begin to emerge. 

For the last 22 years, Jennifer Zackin has been integrating public art, sculpture, installation, performance, collaboration, ceremony, photography, video, collage and drawing into acts of reverence and reciprocity. Her work has been exhibited in national and international museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Conn.; Spertus Museum, Chicago, Ill.; Rose Museum, Mass.; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Texas; The Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Mass.; and the Zacheta National Art Gallery, Warsaw, Poland. For more information about Zackin including commissions visit jenniferzackin.com.

For more information about the exhibition or reception, email Darlene Farris-LaBar, professor and chair of art + design and gallery director at dfarris@esu.edu or call (570) 422-3813.

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East Stroudsburg University Assistant Professor Receives Book of the Year Award

Margaret Mullan, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at East Stroudsburg University, received the Single Authored Book of the Year Award for the National Communication Association Communication Ethics Division. Dr. Mullan won the award for her book Seeking Communion as Healing Dialogue: Gabriel Marcel’s Philosophy for Today.

“It is a great honor to have received this award for this project,” Mullan said. “Everyone continues to struggle to find places and words for dialogue. In this project I was simply trying to identify some ways to start the dialogue.” Her book received high endorsements from significant scholars in the field of communication in the study of communication ethics, philosophy of communication and of dialogue. Among top national scholars who reviewed Mullan’s book for endorsements before publication, Dr. Michael Hyde, who stands out in the NCA Communication Ethics Division for his many contributions to and publications in the study of ethical dimensions of communications, notes “This book is a valuable addition to the growing scholarly literature in communication ethics.”

Published by Rowman & Littlefield, Seeking Communion as Healing Dialogue: Gabriel Marcel’s Philosophy for Today, discusses society’s problems with interpersonal communication, arguing that these issues are more deeply rooted in problems in “being.” Dr. Mullan draws on the work of Gabriel Marcel to explore the meaning of body, of being with, and of being at all in today’s world, answering questions about why we are often unable to dialogue with the people around us, why we feel disconnected and alone even in an increasingly technological world, and how these changing technologies expose and sometimes exacerbate our weak connections to others. Engaging Marcel’s reflective method and theory of communion, Mullan explores how we seek communion amid technology and proposes that Marcel’s reflections are generative contributions to the understanding and study of communication, offering a way to seek healing dialogue in present day. Scholars of communication, philosophy, conflict studies, and media studies will find this book particularly useful.

The National Communication Association advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. The purpose of the NCA Ethics Division is to promote research and teaching relating to ethical issues and standards in all aspects of human communication and to encourage educational programs that examine communication ethics.

To learn more about studying communication at ESU visit esu.edu/communication.

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ESU Honored Scholarship, Award Winners at Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration Event

Photo from left to right: Carly Adams, Taylor Black, Keichelle Lewis, and Tammy McNeil.

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania announced the winners of the 2022 Boddie Scholarships, Juliana V. Bolt Art Contest, and Martin Luther King Jr. awards. The recipients were recognized during the 25th annual virtual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Monday, January 17.
Boddie Scholarship Recipients

The Mary Gertrude Smith Boddie Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to undergraduate students of color at ESU. In 1904, Ms. Boddie was the first African-American student to graduate from what was then known as East Stroudsburg State Normal School, which ultimately became East Stroudsburg University in 1983. The students who apply for this scholarship are asked to describe, in essay form, their commitment to social justice through community and university involvement.

The Mary Gertrude Smith Boddie Scholarship recipients are: Carley Adams, a sophomore psychology major from North Wales, Pa.; Taylor Brielle Black, an undeclared sophomore from Abington, Pa.; Keichelle Lewis, a senior exercise science major from Philadelphia, Pa.; and Tammy McNeil, a senior psychology major from Easton, Pa.  Each of the four students will receive a $3,460 scholarship award for the spring 2022 semester.

Adams, a student-athlete on the women’s basketball team, attributes her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion to her parents, an interracial couple who raised their children in a place where differences were beautiful. She chose to attend ESU because of the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion knowing it would be an extension of her family’s values. In high school she attended a service trip to the Dominican Republic and says “it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.” Adams says her goal during her time at ESU is to gather the necessary skills to find a career that will allow her to advocate for the underserved.

Black moved around a lot as a child, and her stability came from her mother who did whatever she had to do to provide for her children, even if that meant moving from the suburbs to the city. Upon reflecting on her childhood, Black says, “I had become adaptable, flexible, and resilient. I learned important lessons that I will benefit from in the future.” Now at ESU, Black is determined to make the most of her college experience by participating in student organizations, attending events, volunteering, and keeping good grades.

Lewis, a first generation college student, has a passion for medicine and helping others which she attributes to her grandmother, a nursing aid. “I remember as a young child going to work with her and how compassionately she cared for her patients,” Lewis recalled. She has attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Baltimore and works at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. At Jefferson she has worked in a variety departments and with several programs including the hospital call center, OBGYN, a mommy and me program that helps pregnant women with opioid addiction, and the exercise and sport medicine department.  At ESU, Lewis is the head resident for operations, treasurer for the Black Student Union, and the vice president of the National Council of Negro Women. Upon graduation this May, she hopes to continue her education to become a nurse practitioner.

McNeil began her college journey at ESU. She was a member of the University Honors Program and involved in several student organizations. But she missed her family. She returned to the Lehigh Valley and attended Northampton Community College where she became a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was on the Dean’s List. Her father passed away shortly after she returned home. He taught her about education, leadership, and as a federal police chief, about community service. His death, along with the work her mother does in the mental health field, inspired her career path. After completing her associate degree, McNeil came back to ESU to study psychology. McNeil is a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, PerfectKnits club, the Women of Color Initiative, the Psychology Association, and Psi Chi Honor Society. She’s a research intern at the Center for Multicultural Affairs and Inclusive Education, a peer tutor, and a large classroom assistant.  Through her co-curricular activities, McNeil says “ESU grew my passion for working with young adults.” McNeil plans to continue her education upon graduation this May. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Award Recipients

The Martin Luther King Jr. Award recipients exemplify characteristics of Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence, equality, justice, cultural diversity and respect for humanity. Awards were presented to an ESU student, faculty member, and a member of the local community.

Faith Dorsey, a senior majoring in English with a secondary education concentration from Easton, Pa., has been selected to receive the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Award. Jessica Santiago, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the Warrior Success Advising and Retention programs, is the recipient of the 2022 Faculty/Staff Award, and Dr. Marilyn Brown, community outreach coordinator at the First Baptist Church of East Stroudsburg, is the recipient of the Community Award.

Dorsey is a leader who fights for social justice with her intellect and actions in a way that influences others with her respect for humanity and willingness to embrace a challenge. While writing lesson plans for her future English class, Dorsey encouraged her students to explore their identity while also integrating deep and difficult concepts for young people in the public education system. She wrote her lessons in a way to fully educate the students so they can be internally and externally emancipated while staying within the alignment to the structures of her discipline.

Dorsey is a member of the College of Education Dean’s Advisory Council, a tutor in the ESU Writing Studio, a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, and a student representative on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and has served as a tutor for the Upward Bound program. She presented a paper, “Exploration of African American English,” at the English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities Fall 2020 Conference, and her University Honors Program thesis is titled “The Newest Edition of Oppression: Examining the School-to-Prison Pipeline.”

Dr. Santiago has committed herself to the support and advocacy of underrepresented students at ESU since 2010. She has served as a counselor in student support services, an academic success coach (assisting in coordinating the Early Start Summer Bridge Program), and advised exploratory studies students (conducting my success seminars, and supervised, trained and monitored all FYE mentors). She taught in the First Year Experience program and her current position includes identifying at risk students who face institutional and attitudinal barriers to success and assists with retention initiatives. Her dissertation title supports her passion and interest in serving these important students, “Latino Student in Higher Education: Correlations Between Campus Resources, Reliable Factors and Gender.” She presents at national conferences on the topic of student success and student mentoring development.

One of her greatest impacts comes from her work with student peer mentors. She finds ESU students who themselves have a calling to be of help, who understand from personal experience the challenges of entering university-level education, but who have had success and can serve as role models to their younger peers. Dr. Santiago personally trains, develops, and closely supervises these mentors. As a result, they have turned out to be a tremendous resource for student success.

Dr. Brown is the community outreach coordinator at the First Baptist Church of East Stroudsburg, the CEO of Mrs. Dr. Marilyn M. Brown LLC, a consultation company that facilitates workshops and promotes spiritual, emotional, and academic education, and a community activist.

While living in Staten Island, New York she was a member of Community Board #1 as well as Youth Services Chair for eight years and she founded Girl Scout Troop #5363 – the first troop within Staten Island to have a woman of color as a troop leader. Brown was an active participant in establishing Eagle Academy School for Young Men of S.I., the only all male public school in District 31.

Having been raised in a single-parent household, Brown has a deep passion for children as well as single parents.

She has worked for the City of New York for the last 20 years; five as an NYPD police officer, and 15 as an appointed certified special education teacher. Currently she serves as the peer mediator facilitator/behavior specialist focusing on conflict resolutions. Brown’s educational expertise is attributed to working in Title I schools, with students with disabilities, and facilitating workshops regarding courageous conversations. She initiated and facilitated multiple groups to address concerns from families and teachers for social and emotional support during COVID-19 remote learning.

Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in child psychology from Medgar Evers College, a master’s degrees in special education, childhood education, and second master’s degree in school building and school leadership from Touro College, and a doctorate in special education with an emphasis on childhood and adolescent trauma and PTSD from North Central University. She counsels adults and children who have suffered traumas due to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

Juliana V. Bolt Art Contest

Entries for the Juliana V. Bolt Art Contest were received from 26 students representing Pocono Mountain High School East, Pocono Mountain High School West, and Stroudsburg High School. The first place award was given to Emma Strauch of Stroudsburg High School; second place was given to Emma Zauck of Stroudsburg High School; and Sampson Metzgar of Stroudsburg High School received third place. Orion Flelix of Pocono Mountain West High School and Abigale Bunje of Pocono Mountain East High School each received honorable mention. 

To watch the 25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, to see this year’s Juliana V. Bolt Art Contest submissions, and to make a donation to the Boddie Scholarship visit esu.edu/mlk.

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ESU Awarded $5 Million National Science Foundation Grant for Continued Scholarships and Research

Photo: left to right: Dr. Margaret Ball, ESU interim provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Kristin Noblet, ESU associate professor of mathematics; Dr. Olivia Carducci, ESU professor and chair of mathematics; Kimberly Maricle, 2021 ESU biochemistry graduate; Dr. Danielle Ringhoff, NCC assistant professor of chemistry; and Dr. Karen H. Bearce, NCC interim vice president of academic affairs.

In 2016, East Stroudsburg University (ESU) received its largest single grant ever awarded from the National Science Foundation (NSF) totaling $4 million to help transfer students complete their education at ESU in the fields of Science Technology and Math (STEM). 

Today, at a press conference with community college partners, ESU announced a second NSF grant of nearly $5 million ($4,982,181), the largest grant in the University’s history, to continue the University’s work on that original grant which was dubbed Clear Path. This new iteration of the grant –Clear Path 2 (CP2) – provides scholarships of up to $10,000 a year for 135 students to support the timely completion of their STEM associate and subsequent STEM bachelor’s degrees through the implementation of an evidence-based, sustainable, transferrable program that maximizes student success. The grant is a partnership among ESU and Northampton Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Luzerne Community College, and Community College of Morris.

In addition to millions of dollars in scholarships, the Clear Path grant supports students with proactive developmental advocacy holistic advising, cohort activities, peer mentoring and tutoring and mentor mediated online education that fosters development of traits associated with academic success.

“ESU is proud to note that 79 students have graduated in STEM fields thanks to the initial Clear Path grant,” said Margaret Ball D.M.A., interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at ESU. “To receive this award again, in an increased amount, is a reflection on the professors’ collective and individual commitment to recruiting and supporting students, including women and students of color who are often disenfranchised from pursuing a career in the sciences.”

Scores of community college students going into STEM fields will be able to transfer to ESU and graduate on time with minimal debt, according to Dr. Ball. 

“Building upon the success of CP1, CP2 has selected successful program components that can be assessed and scaled and applied beyond the Clear Path team,” said T. Michelle Jones-Wilson, Ph.D., professor and department chair of chemistry and biochemistry at ESU and principal investigator for the grant. “Through CP2 programing and intervention we will increase associate degree completion to greater than 90% with effective advising and scholar support. We’ll maintain a 90% program retention rate with a 2.8 GPA minimum, reduce the transfer deficit through Clear Path programming, and increase underrepresented populations by employing methods that support diverse populations.”

“This grant will allow our team to better understand how identified success predictors affect STEM student retention and degree completion,” said Olivia Carducci, Ph.D. professor and department chair of mathematics at ESU and a co-principal investigator of the grant. “We will mathematically model what we deem a causal path towards success and create research-based student support structures building upon and advancing the science of teaching and learning.”

The principal investigators for CP2 are Dr. T. Michelle Jones-Wilson, professor and department chair of chemistry and biochemistry at ESU; Dr. Olivia Carducci, professor and department chair of mathematics at ESU; Dr. Danielle Ringhoff, assistant professor of chemistry at Northampton Community College; Joanne Z. Bruno, J.D., ESU’s former provost and vice president of academic affairs; and Dr. Kristin Noblet, assistant professor of mathematics at ESU.  For more information about the Clear Path scholarship visit esu.edu/clear_path.

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ESU’s Autism Education Center wins John Wilson Memorial Award

East Stroudsburg University’s Autism Education Center was honored with the John Wilson Memorial Award of Excellence during the Pennsylvania Council for Exception Children (PaCEC) annual conference in October. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, faculty were not able to attend, and so on December 9 a small ceremony was held on ESU’s campus. Dr. Gina Scala, professor and chair of the special education and rehabilitation department, represented PaCEC and presented the award to Dr. Rachel Wolf, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and director of ESU’s Autism Education Center, and Dr. Rachel Chapman, coordinator of the ESU Autism Education Center.

The award, named in memory of Dr. John Wilson, a lifelong special education professional and exceptional member of PaCEC, recognizes an educator, parent, organization or institution that represents the contributions of Dr. Wilson, educating children and youth with exceptionalities and/or gifts and talents.

ESU’s Autism Education Center was selected as this year’s award recipient because of the extensive programing and resources the center continued to offer during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Many places were only able to do the very minimum during such challenging times,” Dr. Scala said. “ESU’s Autism Education Center continued to be a leader in engagement. They have earned this honor.”

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Holiday Happy Hour with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Alumni Chapter

The ESU Wilkes Barre/Scranton Chapter is ready to celebrate the holiday season with their fellow ESU alumni, friends, and family. Join the celebration at Porkiez Bar and Grill on Friday, December 17, 2021, from 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

ESU Wilkes Barre/Scranton Alumni Holiday Happy Hour
December 17, 2021
6 p.m.–8 p.m.


Porkiez Bar and Grill
731 Dunmore St.
Throop, PA 18512  

Free appetizers, cash bar

This event is planned by the ESU Office of Alumni Engagement, Elizabeth Luchansky O’Brien ’01, Corey Hair Wimmer ’03 and all members of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Alumni Chapter. For more information on how to get involved and to help with the chapter, contact Corey Hair Wimmer at corey.wimmer@gmail.com.

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Dr. Gary R. Gray Announces Retirement as ESU Director of Athletics

Dr. Gary R. Gray announced on Wednesday that he will be retiring from his position as East Stroudsburg University’s Director of Athletics, effective January 28, 2022.

Dr. Gray came to ESU four years ago and brought with him more than 22 years of experience as a director of athletics and more than four decades of insight into athletics and education – as an administrator, coach, tenured faculty member and primary and secondary educator. Dr. Gray previously served as Director of Athletics at Alaska Fairbanks from 2012 through 2017, and he hit the ground running, leading ESU’s athletic department to attain many accomplishments during his tenure.

“It is with very mixed emotions that I announce today my retirement from the world of NCAA Division II athletics, effective January 28, 2022,” said Dr. Gray. “I have had the pleasure of leading three wonderful Division II programs since 1994 (minus about 18 months in the 1998-99 time frame). My past four years have been spent at one of the top Division II programs in the entire country. I will definitely miss all of the wonderful coaches, staff, and student-athletes that make up the Warriors Athletics program. They excel at the very highest level of Division II, and it has been a joy to be a small part of this program, the largest program in the largest conference in Division II.”

I want to thank both former President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., who hired me, and Interim President Kenneth Long, who kept me, as Director of Athletics of this historic and amazing program. They are both great leaders who have inspired me to want to work hard to help advance the program. We have attracted many fine coaches, staff, and student-athletes, and I am very confident the program will continue on its upward trajectory. It has been an honor to serve.”

Dr. Gray was instrumental in: expanding the athletics scholarship budgets at the University and Foundation levels in each of the past four years; managing to balance the athletics budget each year; expanding ESU’s camps and clinics model which now includes camps and clinics year-round and not just in the summer; adding two emerging sports for women at ESU (wrestling and acrobatics & tumbling); adding several new graduate assistant positions to the department; expanding the roster sizes in most sports; developing ESU’s athletics speaker series, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in College Athletics:  A Call to Action;” and helping ESU athletics to achieve the highest total of community service hours in the PSAC during fiscal year 2019 with 8,704 hours.

Under his leadership, a full-time coaching position was developed for men’s and women’s cross country, and women’s lacrosse gained a full-time assistant coach position. Several ESU teams advanced to the NCAA Division II final sites in their respective sports including field hockey (3 times), women’s lacrosse (2 times) and men’s basketball; as well as NCAA postseason appearances by several other sports, and national qualifying performances by student-athletes in men’s wrestling and men’s and women’s track and field. Additionally, ESU placed in the top 15 percent in the Learfield Directors’ Cup national standings in NCAA Division II and had a fourth-place ranking (of 18 member institutions) in the PSAC’s Dixon Trophy competition.

Many facility enhancements have also occurred under Dr. Gray’s watch, including: Creekview Park baseball and softball fields; new artificial turf at Eiler-Martin Stadium and Whitenight Field; new sound systems at Eiler-Martin Stadium, Whitenight Field, and Koehler Fieldhouse; three new locker rooms in Koehler Fieldhouse and one at Whitenight Field; refurbishing and rebranding of the floor in Koehler Fieldhouse; new four-sided digital scoreboard in Koehler Fieldhouse; new heating and air conditioning system in Koehler Fieldhouse arena; long-awaited painting of bleacher seating at Eiler-Martin Stadium; two new batting cages in Koehler Fieldhouse; new shot clocks at Koehler Fieldhouse and Whitenight Field; improved strength training areas and equipment in Koehler Fieldhouse; new furniture in Koehler Fieldhouse conference room and all coaches’ offices; and new football offices.

Dr. Gray, along with the ESU athletic department, provided leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consistently focusing on the health and well-being ESU student-athletes during a most unprecedented time.

An Interim Athletic Director will be named shortly.

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Madelon Powers Gallery to Present Artwork from Northampton Community College Faculty

East Stroudsburg University’s Madelon Powers Gallery will feature a collection of artwork from 20 faculty members from Northampton Community College, November 11-December 15. 

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday.  The gallery will close Wednesday, November 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday and reopen on Monday, November 29.

A reception for the artists will be held Wednesday, November 17 from 5 – 7 p.m. in the gallery, located in the university’s Fine & Performing Arts Center, Normal and Marguerite streets. Both the exhibit and reception are open to the public at no cost.

Faculty members from ESU’s art + design department will be exhibiting their work at Northampton Community College’s Monroe Campus Art Gallery during the upcoming spring semester. This faculty art exhibition exchange will celebrate the departments’ ongoing relationship and affiliations as they work together and partner to promote student success.

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