Tyson Foods Supports Retention and Graduation of Underrepresented Students

Students and staff at the announcement of a gift from Tyson Foods.
Photo by Matt Reynolds

Students and staff at the announcement of a gift from Tyson Foods.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tyson Foods Inc. has awarded a $120,000 grant to the Office of Diversity Affairs at the University of Arkansas to create the Tyson Inclusive Excellence Scholarships and the Tyson Academic Enrichment Program. The grant will be used to retain and ultimately graduate underrepresented juniors and seniors majoring in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business technology, food science or agricultural fields at the university.

“This grant represents an exciting collaboration between the University of Arkansas and Tyson Foods,” said Charles Robinson, vice chancellor for diversity and community. “Our scholarship recipients will benefit from an assortment of valuable resources to complement their academic journeys, and Tyson Foods will have the opportunity to engage with an energetic and diverse pool of potential employees. This investment has the potential to improve graduation rates and post-graduation outcomes for some of the most academically talented, underrepresented students in our state.

“Students who have already invested two or more years in their college educations have demonstrated a commitment to completion that increases their chances of reaching graduation. A scholarship such as this, which is aimed at continuing students as opposed to freshmen, rewards students for their persistence and greatly enhances their likelihood of success,” he said.

The Tyson Inclusive Excellence Scholarship will be a component of the University of Arkansas Diversity Affairs Commitment to College Completion program, a comprehensive college readiness, access, retention and graduation pipeline, and support four cohorts of 15 students each. The cohorts will be supported through Diversity Affairs and the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education as part of the Academic Enrichment Program as the Tyson Academic Enrichment Program Scholars.

“We’re glad to be a part of the University of Arkansas’ efforts to increase the graduation rate of underrepresented students,” said Ulanda Terry, director of diversity and leadership development for Tyson Foods. “It’s our hope that the Tyson Inclusive Excellence Scholarship will make a positive difference in many students’ lives, and their careers after college.”

Lionel DavisLionel Davis speaks to fellow students.
 

Created in 2010 with a focus on improving the retention of underrepresented minorities who had received Razorback Bridge Scholarships at the university, the Academic Enrichment Program provides peer and faculty mentoring, leadership development and experiential learning opportunities designed to support the retention and degree progress of underrepresented students. The program has consistently produced results that reflect the value of targeted and intentional engagement with these students. As members of the Tyson AEP cohort, students will specifically engage in targeted career readiness and pre-professional development workshops and receive professional mentoring in partnership with Tyson team members.

All students awarded the Tyson Inclusive Excellence Scholarship will be required to actively participate in the Academic Enrichment Program as a Tyson AEP Scholar, and each student’s degree of participation will be tracked. U of A students who are from Tyson Foods communities statewide, are encouraged to apply for the scholarships.

Contacts

Leslie Yingling, director
Center for Multicultural and Diversity Affairs
479-575-7183, lyinglin@uark.edu

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations
479-575-7346, jholland@uark.edu


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