50 Years of Student Support Services: Pursuit of HappineSSS

While TRIO might have originated as a demonstration program serving just a handful of students for a few million dollars in the 1960s, it has grown into a billion-dollar program serving nearly a million students by the 21st century. As several of the programs can now boast of 50+ years of service, our community has had many opportunities to share the life-altering contributions that TRIO has made in the lives of low-income, first-generation students. COE encourages all TRIO programs to commemorate such a milestone by organizing events, reaching out to alumni, publishing stories and op-eds, and using social media.

As part of each 50th Anniversary celebration, COE hosts a national student video competition that highlights the impact of TRIO on students, schools, communities, and families.

The Student Support Services program celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2018. COE received 40 student video submissions and the winners were featured at COE’s 37th Annual Conference on September 14, 2018 in New York City. The top five finalists were: California State University-Dominguez Hills-Veterans, California State University-Long Beach, Eastern Oklahoma State College, Miami Dade College-Homestead Campus, and Texas Christian University. The winner was Texas Christian University for their video “Pursuit of HappineSSS.” Click here to watch the videos of the finalists.

Noteworthy Student Support Services Alumni

  • Hector Balderas, Attorney General, New Mexico, Student Support Services, New Mexico Highlands University
  • Franklin Chang-Diaz, First Hispanic Astronaut and Chairman and CEO, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Student Support Services, University of Connecticut
  • Viola Davis, Academy, Emmy, and Tony Award-Winning Actress, Student Support Services and Upward Bound, Rhode Island College
  • José M. Hernandez, Former Astronaut, NASA, Student Support Services, University of the Pacific
  • Gwendolynne Moore, U.S. House of Representatives, Wisconsin — 4th Congressional District (2005 to Present), Student Support Services, Marquette University
  • Harry Lee Williams, President and CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Student Support Services, Appalachian State University