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EOP director: Success is just an attitude away

As one of five brothers — all successful Opportunity Program graduates — Randall Marie-Jacques Edouard is a passionate believer in the program, which, he said, “absolutely saved” his life.

“Getting into the program was the spark because the program demands that you take advantage of opportunities and do your best,” he said.

As the new director of Binghamton’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which enrolls about 600 students, Edouard’s vision and clearly defined goals are to have the same effect on others.

“What impressed us about Randall when we interviewed him was his unwavering passion for EOP,” Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose said. “He will bring not only his long experience with the program to the director’s position, but also his heart.”

Edouard has hit the ground running at Binghamton, with preparation for the EOP summer program — the Binghamton Enrichment Program (BEP) — foremost in his mind. BEP is one of the most critical components of the EOP, he said, and he has “completely changed the structure to a more academically based regimen to prepare the incoming students for the rigors of the University.

“With a more structured academic schedule, there will be for the first time mandatory study hours and a focus on the most critical thing to teach — that studying is a process.”
Students need to study more deliberately and with purpose, Edouard said.

“They can’t just read to say they read it,” he said.  “They need to look at the bold print, take notes as they read, and for math, they can’t do the problem just once. They need to practice so it becomes second nature.”

About 150 students will enroll in BEP, staying on campus from July 5 through Aug. 1. A twist they might find unusual is that Edouard will live on campus with them, serving as a mentor and to effect and inspire the kind of change he wants.

“I’m trying to build a culture starting with this class,” he said. “We’re all one and need to help each other get over the hurdles we will face. I don’t care what their educational backgrounds were in the past. Now that they’ve made it to Binghamton, I have extremely high expectations for them, and I plan to prepare them to be successful academic scholars. At all times, I’ll try to point them in the direction toward success. This way, the students can see and feel that someone genuinely cares.”

Edouard also has a few standard phrases to impart to students. He intends to build on the core values of Love, Family and Community, making them a solid foundation of the EOP at Binghamton. One such phrase — “Success is Just an Attitude Away!” — demonstrates that everything will fall into place for those with the right attitude because they’ll do what they need to for success. He also firmly believes that “Studying is the Great Equalizer because it’s telling students ‘you can do it and this is how you can do it,’” he said. “Lessons like these are the most important ones students can learn.”

In addition to the disciplined academics, Edouard plans to hold town hall meetings each semester for everyone in EOP so they can “hear about all of the initiatives for the semester and, most important, network with each other.”

“It will add to what’s already going on and create more of a family atmosphere,” he said. 

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Last Updated: 10/14/08