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SUNY Erie's Men of Merit celebrates grads of Summer Bridge Program

Article by: Michael Farrell

BUFFALO—Before the start of SUNY Erie Community College’s fall semester, members of its Men of Merit Program—established to foster excellence, distinction and integrity in the school’s male African-American, Hispanic and Native American students—gathered at a luncheon inside its City Campus Statler Dining Room to honor the graduating class of its first annual Summer Bridge Program.

The eight-week program matched students (pictured above with John Elmore and Men of Merit Program Coordinator Marvin Wilson, Ph.D.) with paid employment across City Campus, as well as weekly enrichment activities and workshops presented by professionals in the community. Over the course of the summer months, students learned about such things as workplace skills, stress management and financial empowerment from representatives from the Buffalo Urban League, Buffalo Public Schools and SUNY Erie; and participated in weekly “Barbershop Roundtable” discussions, attended with community men of color to permit students to reflect on life’s experiences in a safe and confidential forum.

The SUNY Erie- and Bak USA-sponsored luncheon celebrated the participating students’ success, and featured inspirational words from the day’s speaker, attorney, author and SUNY Erie trustee, John Elmore.

SUNY Erie's Men of Merit program provides ambitious minority male students the chance to pursue excellence through a wide array of services designed to maximize academic success; and the opportunity to chart a course to graduation often hindered by poverty, crime and unemployment within local and national minority communities. Members have access to advisers, mentors and leaders—from both ECC and the school’s extended community—who strive to prepare students for college success. 

Program members also have access to a support network comprised of vital ECC-guided services like academic readiness workshops, crisis counseling and career development necessary to achieve their desired goals. With this backing and a strict adherence to the aforementioned program tenants of excellence, distinction and integrity, members are guided to stay in college, advance academically and serve their community as they become the men they aim to be.

For more information on ECC’s Men of Merit Program, please call (716) 851-1939 or email wilsonma@ecc.edu.

Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state’s SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC’s faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.

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