January 21, 2020

Pilot Program is Now Official for Inclusive Higher Education Initiative for Non-Degree Seeking Students with Intellectual Disabilities

(L-R, sitting in front) RAM Initiative students Nate Seagraves, Olivia Riehl, and Emily Scott pictured with Program Director and Professor of Kinesiology Monica Lepore (standing).RAM Initiative Program is accepting applications!

As the spring semester begins, West Chester University proudly announces that its RAM (Real Achievement Matters) Initiative Pilot for Non-Degree Seeking Students with Intellectual Disabilities is official! With WCU meeting its fundraising goal of $50,000 by the established deadline, the Lubert Family Foundation promises to match $50,000 in grant funds. Fueled by the total $100,000 needed to transform the pilot into a full-fledged program, the RAM Initiative promises to thrive at WCU. The University has now launched efforts to raise the next $50,000 installment needed to meet the second $50,000 match from the Lubert Family Foundation for 2021.

“Our deepest appreciation goes out to Mr. Ira Lubert for recognizing this program as a worthwhile investment,” wrote Deputy Provost Jeffery Osgood to the families of Emily, Nate, and Olivia — the three students currently enrolled in the RAM Initiative Program. “We will continue to work to raise funds for the program in subsequent years, so we can realize the full potential of the Lubert Family Charitable Foundation’s generous match challenge.” 

In November, Mr. Lubert made a surprise call to the University indicating that he and the Lubert Family Charitable Foundation would support the initiative by matching $50,000, in a dollar-for-dollar capacity, if the University raised another $50,000 each year for the next five years. Upon establishing the $250,000 total challenge grant, Mr. Lubert said, “Our family believes that this is a most worthy program that challenges and helps these students grow. We hope additional people will also recognize this and be supportive.”

Numerous students, faculty, staff, and members of the community followed the lead of the Lubert family and rallied support for the program, including the Chester County Down Syndrome Interest Group which made a $10,000 donation.


RAM Initiative Program Applications Being Accepted Now

Applications for the RAM Initiative Program, which welcomes two to three students per year, are due by February 10. Families interested in learning more about the RAM Initiative Program are invited to attend an Open House on Saturday, January 25, 12-1 p.m., at West Chester University, Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center, Room 301, 855 South New Street, West Chester. Those planning to attend the Open House are asked to RSVP to raminitiative@wcupa.edu. More information about the RAM Initiative Program can be found at wcupa.edu/ramInitiative


About the RAM Initiative Program

For the past two years, the RAM Initiative pilot has enabled three current non-degree seeking students with intellectual disabilities to have a full, residential, college-immersion experience at West Chester University. Two of the RAM Initiative Program students plan to receive certificates of completion during commencement in May 2020 and the third RAM Initiative Program student will receive a certificate of completion at commencement in May 2021.

As a pilot, modest funding was initially secured from The DREAM Partnership and currently the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium (a United States Department of Education Transition and Post-Secondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities grant). To help with the planning for the program’s long-term sustainability, the RAM Initiative fund has been established by the WCU Foundation for restricted use of this program only. Community members may continue to contribute to the RAM Initiative through the Foundation’s webpage: wcufoundation.org

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