Rhode Island College Upward Bound Program's Beginnings
The national Upward Bound Programs were first created in 1965 through Congressional Legislation as a response to the civil rights movement. Funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Upward Bound has survived through the years and is now one of the two most senior educational programs sponsored by the federal government. Following the success of the pilot projects, the number of Upward Bound programs expanded from 18 to 220 in 1966. Currently, more than 750 projects exist in the country.
Rhode Island College was one of the first public institutions of higher education to receive funding in 1966 to establish an Upward Bound program. The philosophy of the College's Upward Bound Program was first conceived by Dr. John A. Finger, an educator who believed that the nation should education "all of the children of all of the people." Three others joined Dr. Finger to create and administer the initial program offered at the College: Dr. Raymond W. Houghton, Dr. Maureen T. Lapan, and Dr. Thomas Lavery. They possessed the force of intellect, the professional integrity, the requisite perspiration, dedication, and most importantly, the compassion to see that ideal through to fruition. Thus, 52 students who "were not succeeding, had no seeming hope of going on, and whose parents met the poverty criteria" were enrolled into the first Upward Bound Class.
Rhode Island College Upward Bound Program – Summer 1968
From that first year to the present, Upward Bound has been a continuous presence on the campus of Rhode Island College, and while there have been changes made in the program, it has remained remarkably steady in funding and it has preserved the spirit of the "founders of the Program." It continues to be the only Upward Bound Program in the State, and currently 150 students participate each year.