Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University celebrates Urban Education Program’s 50th anniversary celebration


CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523


Westfield – Westfield State University will host a 50th Golden Anniversary Celebration for the Urban Education Program (UEP) on Saturday, November 17 at 6 p.m in Scanlon Banquet Hall.

The Urban Education Program was founded in 1968 to provide collegiate opportunities to first generation students, students of color, and students who were financially struggling. Seven students were enrolled in 1968. Since then, 1,500 alumni have completed the program, enjoying much success as students and after graduation.

“The program provides educational access and opportunities for students who might not otherwise have advocates or mentors, helping them to succeed as students and thrive as alumni,” said Director Azanda Seymour ’92.

The UEP’s Summer Bridge Program starts the summer before the students’ first fall semester. First-year students enroll in a 3–6 credit program over a five-week period. The Program allows these students an easy transition into college life through support from student leaders and staff.

The anniversary event will kick off at 5 p.m. with a social hour and cash bar, followed by a speaking program at 6:30 p.m. The event will feature raffles, an art auction, t-shirt sales and dinner with music from Kashawn “DJ Boogy” Harris ’13, an alumnus of the Urban Education Program, to conclude the evening. Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased online at

A portion of the nights’ proceeds will support UEP students and the Urban Education Program/Joan E. Fuller and Kamal H. Ali scholarships.

Gus Chrisanthopolous, the visionary who founded the Urban Education Program will attend the event. Area distinguished UEP alumni include:

  • Marlina Duncan ’97, associate dean of diversity initiatives, and assistant vice president for academic diversity, Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, Brown University

Joan Fuller ’76, Westfield State emerita of 36 years and former UEP director who helped launch the Urban Education Alumni Network

Westfield State University Trustee Terrell M. Hill, Ph.D. ’82, superintendent for Human Resources, Windsor Public Schools, and adjunct faculty member, University of Connecticut

Zachery Medera ’14, Capitol Police Officer

  • Westfield State University Trustee Lydia E. Martinez-Alvarez ’86, first Latina to serve as assistant superintendent, Springfield Public Schools

Jimmy Pereira ’13, healthy design coordinator at MassBike, former Brockton mayoral candidate

  Hector Zavala ’05, assistant clerk magistrate, Springfield District Court

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society. For more information on Westfield State University, visit us at, follow us on Twitter at, or on Facebook at


Go back