By Jared Valdez, PA Humanities Council
In late August, the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterans Upward Bound (Penn VUB) program held its graduation ceremony honoring the accomplishments of the Class of 2018. Twenty-four veterans completed the rigorous academic program which provides preparation for the challenges of postsecondary education. Program Director Diane Sandefur read personal profiles of each graduate as they received the certificates, including details about their military service. U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans also addressed the group.
Humanities experiences that reinforce classroom studies play a large role in Penn VUB’s curriculum, and during the ceremony many students described those experiences as highlights of the program. With the support of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the veterans have been able to take trips to theaters, museums, and historical sites that relate thematically to their coursework.
This fall the graduates head off to regional colleges including Chestnut Hill College, Stockton College, LaSalle University, and the Community College of Philadelphia. Penn VUB reports that the success rate for its graduates is high—most go on to enroll in postsecondary courses. The program teaches important academic skills that help make this possible but, perhaps more importantly, it builds confidence in the veterans’ own abilities.