New fund allows SOAR students to 'Reach for the Stars'

September 27, 2010

Students in CASL's Student Outreach and Academic Resources (SOAR) program found themselves with additional resources available this year as they began the academic year.

The "Reach for the Stars Fund" was developed by UM-Dearborn CASL alumna Deborah Taylor, '70, in honor of her grandmother Elizabeth Power Clute and provides funding in three major areas, all of which will empower students and prepare them for their fulfilling careers. Previously in 1992 Taylor established a scholarship to assist returning women students in honor of her mother, Velda Taylor.

"Elizabeth Clute was a powerful woman who thought creatively and outside of the box, said Taylor. "She balanced it all as a wife and mother who knew how to give love and support living through the turbulence of two world wars and the Great Depression all while maintaining her sense of humor - she would want all people to reach for the stars."

"This fund will provide our SOAR students with so many additional opportunities," said Ellen Judge-Gonzalez, director, SOAR Program. "It will allow us to fulfill a long wish list in a number of crucial areas that will advance the learning experience and future prospects for our students."

First, critical difference funding is available for students that have a distinct need that is impacting their ability to finish their degree. Students also have the opportunity to apply for funds that foster creative thinking with an emphasis on developing projects that focus on giving back to the community. Finally, SOAR students will be able to locate mentors and participate in leadership development opportunities.

"This fund will allow SOAR students to develop into individuals marked with integrity, independence and leadership skills," said Taylor. "In honoring my grandmother, who was a strong woman far ahead of her time, I'm interested in inspiring the students with my maternal family life experiences and encouraging them to take charge of their future while putting creative ideas in practice for the betterment of others."

The mission of the SOAR program is to increase access to post-secondary education for non-traditional adult learners in the metro area experiencing socioeconomic challenges. The program facilitates admission to the university using a holistic model and retains admitted students by offering a wide range of academic, financial, and personal support

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