Southern Vermont College Incoming Class is Welcomed by U.S. Department of Education's Martha Kanter; Launching the 2020 Initiative to Promote Student College Success

August 20, 2010

Southern Vermont College started its school year officially on Friday, Aug. 27, at 1 p.m. with an SVC tradition for incoming students--the annual Bookends Ceremony at which new students are presented with a faculty-selected book signed by every member of the SVC community. This year the book is Paul Loeb's "Soul of a Citizen." 

Something new to the 2010 welcoming ceremony is a special visit to the SVC campus by the U.S Department of Education's Under Secretary. At the Bookends Ceremony, Dr. Martha Kanter personally congratulated the new SVC students and their families for being a part of and helping to launch the 2020 Initiative introduced by President Barack Obama earlier this year.  

The 2020 Initiative is designed to help the United States become, once again, the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world by the year 2020, by ensuring that more students graduate from high school, enter college and complete their undergraduate education. Under Secretary Kanter, a passionate advocate for student success, observed, "America’s future depends upon an educated society. President Obama's 2020 goal is critical to our economic and social prosperity." 

The Department of Education is introducing President Obama's 2020 goals to students and faculty throughout America's schools, colleges and universities. SVC President Karen Gross and Dr. Kanter have been working together on strategies to promote this initiative including financial literacy education. President Gross hopes that SVC's launch will serve as a model for other higher education institutions. "I want our college community to be a part of this national initiative,” she said. “Our collective future depends on more and more Americans completing their undergraduate education, and what could be more important than insuring the next generation is in good hands?" 

Some of the 2020 strategies being implemented on the SVC campus this fall are: 

-        Campus Illustrated: Each new student at Orientation will have their photograph taken and placed on a mock magazine cover referencing the 2020 Initiative; this momento is given to remind students of their participation in the national initiative.  

-        Mountain Money: Every student at the school will receive an automatic $20.20 credit on their Mountain Money card (used to make purchases at the Campus Café) at the start of each new semester following a successfully completed prior semester.  

-        Each new SVC student will receive recognition of their participation in the 2020 Initiative by the U.S. Department of Education.  

-        SVC will launch Web site recognition of its new students and their commitment to college completion; this site will feature articles, blogs and information on college success strategies as well as a 2020 Tip Sheet detailing the SVC 2020 initiatives that can be replicated on other campuses.  

About Martha Kanter: 

Martha J. Kanter was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 29, 2009, to be the Under Secretary of Education and was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009. In this position, she reports to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and oversees policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid. For more information, please visit: