Posse Founder Deborah Bial to deliver 2016 Commencement address at Centre

Posted by Centre News in News 20 Nov 2015

bialheaderDeborah Bial, a MacArthur “genius grant” recipient and founder and president of the Posse Foundation, will deliver the 2016 Commencement address at Centre College on Sunday, May 22.

Her appearance will have particular meaning to the Posse Scholars in the Class of 2016. They are the 10th group of Posse Scholars to graduate from the College.

Posse is a college-access program for talented high school leaders from underrepresented urban populations. It recruits students starting in their junior year, works with them during their senior year to prepare them for academically challenging college environments, then sends them in groups of 10—by then carefully developed into their own support system called a Posse—to 55 mostly liberal arts colleges throughout the country.

Centre’s Posse students are from Boston. The Posse Foundation also recruits students in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, the San Francisco Bay area and Washington, D.C. The partnering colleges provide scholarships and mentoring.

Bial founded Posse in 1989, when she was just 23, after talking with a student who had dropped out of college after his first semester. He said that he probably would not have left school if he’d had his “posse” with him. She realized then the importance of a support system—as well as the need to help students learn to navigate college’s many challenges—if they were to succeed.

She holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.A. and Ed.D. from Harvard University. She received the MacArthur grant in 2007. The College will award her an honorary degree during the ceremony.

Beth Glazier-McDonald, H.W. Stodghill Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and associate academic dean of the College, will give the baccalaureate sermon prior to Centre’s 193rd commencement.

by Diane Johnson
November 20, 2015

Photo courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation