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During the past thirty-five years, about 3,500 students have participated in the Educational Advancement Program at UT. The EAP serves students who are first-generation, low-income, or have physical or learning disabilities.

The EAP will celebrate its thirty-fifth anniversary at the university with several events, including an invitation-only reunion brunch on December 5; a spring semester public lecture by Arnold Mitchem, president emeritus of the Council for Opportunity in Education; and a journal chronicling the program’s history at UT.

“Access is a key priority at UT, and part of our mission as a land grant university,” said EAP Director Ronald McFadden. “We’re proud that the EAP contributes to that mission and has, over the years, provided services that have been emulated in other university-wide support programs.”

The EAP is part of the federal TRIO programs—federal outreach and student services programs created by the Higher Education Act of 1965 “to help Americans overcome class and social barriers to higher education.”

UT’s EAP offers smaller course sections in general math and chemistry, as well as tutoring, academic coaching and counseling, career planning, graduate school preparatory activities, life skill workshops, cultural enrichment experiences, and assistance with study abroad opportunities.

The December 5 celebration will bring about 100 alumni of the program to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Knoxville for the reunion brunch.

At that event, Bob Booker, local historian and former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, will talk about TRIO’s contribution to the advancement of the civil rights movement. Current students and alumni will offer testimonials from UT’s EAP. The celebration will also include recognition of the Ronald McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program grant, which was active at UT from 1989 to 2008, serving more than 600 students.

“EAP embodies the formula to success,” said Kenneth Merriweather, a third-year UT law student who participated in the EAP while he was an undergraduate. Merriweather clerked at the Knox County District Attorney Office during the summer, and he’s now externing at the Knox County Public Defender Office. He also has “given back to the program that gave so much to me” by serving as an EAP tutor and working with area school students in the Upward Bound program.

“The program gave me individualized attention for personal and educational issues,” he said, adding that he benefited greatly from attending EAP workshops. “The financial literacy workshop taught me how to manage and maintain a certain level of income that I desired while not going deep into debt or having to take a job working the graveyard shift. The workshops also helped me with writing skills, personal skills, goal-setting skills, and, most importantly, time management skills.”

To learn more about the Educational Advancement Program, visit the website.

C O N T A C T:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,