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The Upward Bound (UB) staff at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) is preparing a celebration in honor of the program’s 50th anniversary. The celebration is Tuesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. The event will take place in NEO’s Fine Arts Auditorium. UB programs from Crowder College, Independence Community College and Missouri Southern State University will all be in attendance. Upward Bound is a federally funded program aimed at assisting high school students who are low income and or first generation, prepare for college. The UB program emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration’s War on Poverty.

In 1965, Talent Search, the second outreach program, was created as part of the Higher Education Act. In 1968, Student Support Services, which was originally known as Special Services for Disadvantaged Students, was authorized by the Higher Education Amendments and became the third in a series of educational opportunity programs. By the late 1960’s, the term “TRIO” was coined to describe these federal programs, according to the organization’s website.

The UB program began at NEO in 1999. “We are extremely honored and excited to have a national TRiO achiever, Senator Pittman, inspire and motivate our students to aim high with their educational careers. We look forward to hosting the other UB programs on our campus and help celebrate 50 great years of Upward Bound on a national level. This program has been life-changing in a positive way for many perhaps the most famous being Oprah Winfrey. Many students grow through our program academically, personally, and culturally which is amusing to witness,” said Director of Upward Bound, Elsie Grover.

Senator Anastasia Pittman will serve as the keynote speaker for the evening. Pittman is from Miami, Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations in 1999 from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in education and behavioral science from Langston University in 2002. She was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2006. In 2013, Pittman was selected to lead the Legislative Black Caucus of the Oklahoma Legislature.

The evening will kick off with team building activities followed by dinner and a group photo. The anniversary ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. with a welcome by NEO President Dr. Jeff Hale followed by remarks from UB achievers from each school and Pittman’s keynote address. The event will be followed by a reception and dance in the Fine Arts Auditorium. For more information, contact Elsie Grover at elsie.grover@neo.edu or call 918-540-6319.

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