MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ― Middlebury College will expand its partnership with The Posse Foundation when 10 students from Chicago enroll at the college in the fall of 2012. The foundation identifies, recruits and trains public high school students with leadership and academic potential to become Posse Scholars. The students receive four-year, full tuition scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities, where they attend in teams, or “posses.”

“Nationally we had more than 12,000 nominations for 500 slots this year, so Middlebury’s decision to expand the program to recruit more students is fantastic,” said Posse Foundation President and Founder Deborah Bial. “Middlebury President Ron Liebowitz and his team are keenly aware of some of the difficult issues related to building an integrated, diverse community. It’s that kind of leadership and understanding that makes Middlebury a great home for our students.”

“Over the course of our participation in the Posse program — 12 years now — one cannot help but notice the positive impact the Posse Scholars have had on our campus,” said President Liebowitz. “Their energy, creativity, leadership and the sharing of their diverse experiences and talents have combined to truly enrich the life of the college.”

“Our partnership with Posse is one of many efforts that we have in place to increase Middlebury’s overall diversity and it is an important one,” said Shirley Collado, dean of the college and chief diversity officer at Middlebury, and a former Posse scholar. “The Chicago posse will create a greater sense of awareness of Middlebury in an important part of the country and in a diverse set of schools in that city.”

According to Collado, Middlebury is also exploring the possibility of making its New York posse a science and math posse, which would support the college’s goals of diversifying the students who major in these fields. Two out of the 39 schools who are partners with The Posse Foundation have been piloting this new program.

The college has hosted a new posse from New York, which usually numbers about 10 students, each year since 1999. Beginning in the fall of 2012, each new class at Middlebury will have two posses — one from New York and one from Chicago. In the fall of 2015, when every class at Middlebury has both a New York and a Chicago posse, Middlebury will offer full-tuition scholarships each year to about 80 promising high school students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend a top college or university.

“Once all 80 Posse students are on campus, they will really be a critical mass of leaders. This is something that we can be very proud of,” said Collado.

Middlebury was the fourth institution to form a partnership with The Posse Foundation, which now has agreements with 39 undergraduate institutions and nine graduate programs.

Chicago Posse students accepted to Middlebury and nine other partner institutions will meet weekly beginning in January 2012 for an intensive program to build academic and writing, team building, and leadership skills, and otherwise prepare for college.

Posse Foundation

Posse is one of the most comprehensive and renowned college access and youth leadership development programs in the United States.  Since its founding in 1989, Posse has identified, recruited and trained 3,638 public high school students with extraordinary leadership and academic potential to become Posse Scholars. These students, many of whom might have been overlooked by traditional college selection processes, receive four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities, where they attend in teams, or posses.  Most important, Posse Scholars graduate at a rate of 90 percent and make a difference on campus and throughout their professional careers.

The concept of a Posse works for both students and college campuses, and is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students, carefully selected and trained — a Posse — can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development. As the United States becomes an increasingly multicultural society, Posse believes that the leaders of this new century should reflect the country’s rich demographic mix, and that the key to a promising future for our nation rests on the ability of strong leaders from diverse backgrounds to develop consensus solutions to complex social problems. One of the primary aims of the Posse Program is to train these leaders of tomorrow.

The Posse Foundation operates chapters in seven cities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami and New York City.