Grant from U.S. Bank Foundation supports first-generation mentoring efforts at Drury

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., October 2, 2018 — U.S. Bank, through the U.S. Bank Foundation, has awarded a $2,500 grant to Drury University’s Panthers First program, which supports students who are the first in their families to attend college. Fifteen percent of Drury’s 2018 entering freshman class are first-generation college students.

Founded last year, Panthers First is a peer mentorship program that supports the unique needs of first-generation college students. Panthers First matches first-year, first-generation students with upperclassmen mentors to create a support system that encourages educational endeavors, addresses challenges, and drives success at Drury and beyond. 

New this year, Panthers First mentor-mentee dyads will be paired with an alumni mentor who will provide an additional layer of support for both students. 

“It is amazing to watch the growth and development of our Panthers First students over the course of the year,” says Chip Parker ’83, Assistant Dean of Students and Panthers First co-coordinator. “They learn so much through this program.”

Funding from the U.S. Bank Foundation will support team-building exercises, CliftonStrengthsFinder assessments, and a Leaving Our Legacy project that will allow participants to create a campus memento at the end of the year to celebrate their Panthers First experience.

“We are so grateful to the U.S. Bank Foundation for its support of our students and Panthers First,” says Ryan Gipson, Director of Community Outreach & Leadership Development and Panthers First co-coordinator.

The U.S. Bank Foundation funds projects related to themes of workforce education, neighborhood revitalization, and arts and culture, organized under the umbrellas of Work, Home and Play. Support for Panthers First falls within Work and is an investment in the workforce and economic prosperity of our community. 


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