Notre Dame de Namur University Selected To Receive $100,000 Grant From CIC/Walmart Foundation To Help First-Generation Students Succeed In College

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NDNU was one of only 20 universities to receive the highly-competitive, two-year, $100,000 grants from the CIC program, which is funded by a $3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation and is intended to support institutions that are already heavily committed to serving first-generation students. Another 10 universities received $50,000 awards.

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“We are extremely grateful to CIC and the Walmart Foundation for this grant to support NDNU’s first-generation students said NDNU President Judith Maxwell Greig.

Notre Dame de Namur University has been chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges to receive a $100,000 grant from the CIC/Walmart College Success Awards program to help fund NDNU's "Gen-I" Program, which uses multiple strategies to provide academic support for first-generation students.

First generation students often lack the resources and academic preparation of students whose parents attended or graduated from college and, as a result, often have a more difficult time adjusting to college life," said NDNU President Judith Maxwell Greig. "It has always been part of NDNU's mission to provide access to students who otherwise would not be able to receive a college education and this has always meant finding ways to help them make that transition so they could succeed and graduate. This grant will enable NDNU to greatly expand the services it has available for first-generation students."

NDNU's multi-pronged Gen-I program includes a variety of targeted activities to increase the number of first-generation students who successfully make the often- difficult transition from freshman to sophomore year. These include instruction in critical personal strategies such as time management, financial literacy, stress management, etc.; a student skills pre-assessment and counseling regarding courses appropriate to these skill levels; a learning strategies course to teach them study skills; a peer mentor program in which incoming first-generation students are paired with third-year first-generation students; and outreach newsletters and campus presentations for parents of first-generation students.

Gen-I participants who successfully complete all program activities and achieve at least a 2.5 grade point average during their freshman year will be named Gen I Scholars and be awarded $1,500 scholarships for their sophomore years, over and above the financial aid awards for which these students would normally qualify.

“The 20 colleges and universities selected for the initial awards in 2008 have done a great job in rising to the challenges of retaining and graduating first-generation students," said Walmart Foundation President Margaret McKenna. "The Walmart Foundation is proud to provide the opportunity for an additional 30 institutions to participate in the program and contribute to the growing body of knowledge on how best to support these students."

In announcing the award winners, CIC President Richard Ekman said, "We are delighted by the recognition that this second grant from the Walmart Foundation gives to the role played by nonprofit private colleges in educating first-generation students. Much attention has been focused recently on higher education as a key to making the United States workforce stronger and the country more competitive in the 21st century world economy. As the federal government and philanthropic leaders call for increased degree completion in higher education, small and mid-sized private institutions are an underutilized resource in this effort. Private colleges also enroll comparable or higher percentages of lower-income and first-generation students to public institutions and they require far less subsidy by state governments to succeed in meeting these national goals. Most importantly, nonprofit private institutions have moved beyond a focus on access to a record of unmatched success in retaining and graduating low-income and first-generation students."

The 20 $100,000 award winners are:

Alma College, MI; Alverno College, WI; Berea College, KY; Catawba College, NC; Clark Atlanta University, GA; College of Notre Dame of Maryland; DePaul University, IL; Elizabethtown College, PA; Franklin College, IN; Guilford College, NC; Lynchburg College, VA; Mars Hill College, NC; Mercyhurst College, PA; Mills College, CA; Notre Dame de Namur University, CA; Rosemont College, PA; Stetson University, FL; Stevenson University, MD; Thomas College, ME; and University of St. Francis,IL.
The 10 $50,000 award winners are:

Cardinal Stritch University, WI; Chaminade University of Honolulu, HI; Defiance College, OH; Emmanuel College, MA; Eureka College, IL; Heritage University, WA; McKendree University, IL; Saint Augustine's College, NC; Wabash College, IN; and Woodbury University, CA.

About The Council of Independent Colleges
The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of more than 600 independent, liberal arts colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education's contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One DuPont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit

About Notre Dame de Namur University
Notre Dame de Namur University is an independent Catholic, coeducational institution serving more than 1600 students. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, Belgium in 1851 and chartered by the state in 1868, NDNU maintains a strong commitment to social justice and community engagement. The University is fully accredited and offers 21 liberal arts and career preparation undergraduate programs, and 12 graduate degrees and 7 credentials. The 50-acre campus is located in Belmont, just south of San Francisco. For more information on Notre Dame de Namur University visit

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