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Alumni ignite effort to endow EOP book fund


Calvin J. Gantt '92, director of the Educational Opportunity Program at Binghamton University.


The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Binghamton University gave Sheldon D. Fields ’91, MS ’95, support and a sense of family on campus that he says were crucial to his success.

“I didn’t have the financial resources to attend school and the other support services that come with EOP,” says Fields, an EOP Alumni Council member and dean and professor of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. “Sometimes I didn’t need anything except to look at someone who resembled me and complain about my day and/or whatever emotional thing I was going through. They became my surrogate family.”

That is why Fields and other EOP alumni are supporting a new Educational Opportunity Program Book Endowment to help students buy textbooks and other required course materials. Staff would also be able to use funding from the endowment to purchase textbooks for the EOP tutoring center, for students to share as needed.

“When you’re halfway through a class and you’re not doing well because you couldn’t afford a book — that shouldn’t happen,” says Fields, whose support to Binghamton over the years has all gone to help EOP.

His recent gift to the EOP Book Endowment is in memory of the late Michael V. Boyd, EOP director from 1986 to 1994. The EOP center is named after Boyd to recognize his contributions to the University and EOP.

EOP offers enrichment, support, academic and personal counseling, free tutoring and an intensive credit-bearing summer program that fosters the critical thinking and problem-
solving skills students need to make the transition to college life, persist to graduation and succeed in their graduate school and career aspirations.

“As someone who benefited from EOP, I have a deep sense of gratitude and profound respect for the program,” Fields says. “I have the ability and wherewithal to give back. They’re my family. I feel very honored to be able to do it.”

Binghamton experience, EOP "help to create a better me"

"I was accepted to Binghamton University through the Educational Opportunity Program. As a first-generation college
student, I had no prior knowledge or guidance that prepared me for college. Fortunately, I was given specific pre-college training by this program, which better prepared me when I
entered college.

“I also received financial and spiritual support from the program. Coming from a single-parent family, financial support was essential to me. By relieving my financial burden, I could
become successful academically and provide help to the other students.”

— Fei Huang ’16. Majoring in marketing, minoring in Korean studies. EOP tutor.

Why give to EOP

“The dream of higher education continues to be elusive for so many because of access and cost. Financial aid continues to lag significantly behind the rising cost of higher education. Thus, some of our most talented students will be forced to take on additional employment (which can hamper their academic success) or drop out with the hope that they will be able to return at a later date.

"Donating to support students is an investment not only in their education, but also an investment in the future of America.”

— EOP Director Calvin J. Gantt ’92

Alumni and current students describe the impact of EOP in this video.

Last Updated: 9/26/17