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Center for Academic Programs to hold alumni award ceremony and reception (Released: 11/1/95)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Six University of Connecticut graduates will receive awards during the Center for Academic Programs first annual alumni award ceremony and reception Friday at 3 p.m. in the Alumni House.

Alumni from the center s Upward Bound and Student Support Services Program (formerly known as the Connecticut Pre-Collegiate Enrichment Program and the Committee for the Education of Minority Students) will call attention to the importance of the programs.

We want to bring the alumni together to discuss how important the programs are and show how our alumni have contributed to the community and public sector, said Petra Clark-Dufner, a counselor for the Center for Academic Programs (CAP).

CAP originated at UConn in 1967 to work with high school and college students, many from low-income backgrounds and the first in their families to attend college. The center receives both federal funds and University financial support to provide a variety of services, such as counseling and academic advising, tutorial assistance, skill development workshops and summer academic enrichment programs.

One of the honorees is Alex J. Martinez, a civil litigation lawyer with Barr and LaCava in Stamford. Martinez, a 1990 graduate, recalls his uneasiness about entering the Student Support Services" (SSS) pre- collegiate summer program.

I remember receiving my admission letter from the University and I was told in order to be accepted I would have to enroll in CAP s SSS program, he says. It was tough for me as a high school senior to sacrifice six weeks of my summer to complete the program.

Martinez is quick to credit the program for his success.

Whatever I accomplish in the workplace and whatever I do in the community is a reflection of CAP, he said.

Other recipients will include John G. Gwynn of East Hartford, Marlyn Maramba of New Haven, Dennis C. Mink of Cromwell, Enid M. Rey of Hartford and Scott L. Terrell of Stamford. Four of the six are UConn graduates; Mink graduated from Tufts and Rey graduated from Mount Holyoke College.

The success of the alumni is important to students, said Maria D. Martinez, CAP's executive director. Alumni need to serve as role models for students in the program, she said.

It is very inspirational to see people who were once in my shoes become successful, added Shelley Goode, a third-semester CAP student.

To reiterate the importance of the programs, Julia Tower, director of Educational Services for the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations, will deliver the keynote address on educational opportunity as a human right.

Every human being has the right to be educated, Martinez said. Depriving someone an education is a human rights violation because you are not letting them prepare for what the world has to offer.

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