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VP to share personal story at National TRIO Day Feb. 9

Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell will talk about being an alumnus of the Upward Bound Program during a National TRIO Day program this week.

The UT vice president for student affairs will be one of the keynote speakers at “TRIO: Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” Saturday, Feb. 9.

Cockrell

The event to express appreciation for TRIO programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Owens Community College in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Building.

“The Upward Bound Program truly saved my life,” Cockrell said. “My many identities include first-generation and low-income. My father is one of eight children, and my mother is one of 13.

“My father was the youngest; therefore, he had to drop out of school in third grade to take care of my aging grandparents. My mother did not finish high school because my grandparents were unable to provide financial support. As a result, both of my parents worked in factories for 30-plus years to support my siblings and I.”

Cockrell and his brothers and sisters all attended Upward Bound, one of several programs included in TRIO, a federally funded, college-based educational opportunity to motivate and support students from low-income backgrounds.

“The program introduced me to a world of possibilities and provided me with the tools and skills to be successful in my post-secondary endeavors,” he said. “I credit my success as a higher education practitioner to the Upward Bound Program. I hope my message will inspire students to take advantage of all the resources the program has to offer.”

The University of Toledo offers TRIO Student Support Services, a well-established retention program dedicated to increasing graduation rates with a special emphasis on first-generation and Pell Grant-eligible students.

“TRIO helps students who are normally underrepresented and not familiar with the college-going experience to navigate the system,” said Robin Stone, director of UT TRIO Student Support Services.

“For millions of students from low-income families who strive to be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college, seven federally funded programs called TRIO are making a world of difference,” Dr. Pamela Rogers, director of the UT Upward Bound Program, said. “UT has a 52-year history with federal TRIO grants beginning with Upward Bound, which helps 100 low-income, first-generation college students with disabilities prepare for higher education each year.”

The University’s Upward Bound Program is one of 974 in the country that provides instruction and tutoring in literature, composition, mathematics and science after school, on Saturdays, and during the summer. Since 2017, UT also has offered a TRIO Upward Bound Math Science Program.

Continuing to serve these students is at the foundation of TRIO.

“TRIO Student Support Services serves the same population at the college level,” Stone said. “UT TRIO is one of 1,069 in the United States and serves 160 students each year.

“We want students to know that the pursuit of a college degree was never meant to be done alone,” Stone said. “Continue to make TRIO part of your journey.”

Patton

In addition to Cockrell, Diana Patton, CEO of Diana R. Patton Consulting LLC, will speak at the TRIO event. She is the author of “Inspiration in My Shoes,” a 2016 memoir that chronicles overcoming abuse, racism and heartache.

“Diana Patton will talk about unconscious behavior and acting out. She will discuss how to grow beyond what we have been programmed to do and how each of us, students and educators, can groom tomorrow’s leaders,” Stone said.

Patton speaks on leadership, emotional intelligence, diversity, inclusion and equity, as well as trauma-informed care. She serves on the UT College of Health and Human Services Board and the UT Paralegal Advisory Board.

The National TRIO Day event is sponsored by The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Lourdes University and Owens Community College.

For more information on National TRIO Day or UT TRIO Student Services, visit the UT TRIO Student Support Services’ website.