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"Posse Saved My Life," Kareem Edwards '07 Tells New York Public Radio Program

December 21, 2007

East College Gate Snow 2007.jpgDecember 21, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "My experience at DePauw and Indiana changed me dramatically," 2007 graduate Kareem J. Edwards said today on WNYC/New York Public Radio's Leonard Lopate Show. Edwards, who came to DePauw as a Posse Scholar from New York, appeared on the program to discuss the work of the Posse Foundation.

"Posse saved my life," Edwards asserted. "Coming from the inner city of Queens, going to college wasn't a reality, it was more of a dream. And Posse takes dreams turns (them) to reality. So by giving me the option to go to college and supporting me throughout my four years and even after college" the foundation opened doors that

Posse Foundation identifies, recruits, and trains student leaders from urban public high schools to form multicultural teams called "posses." Following an intensive eight-month recruitment and pre-college training program the teams enroll at top-tier colleges and universities nationwide to pursue their academics and help promote cross-cultural communication.

"I'm more reserved now, calm, have a different perspective (and) am more open-minded to different things," Edwards -- who majored in mathematics at DePauw -- told the radio program of his Posse experience. "If I had stayed in New York I probably would have been set in that one culture," he added, noting that "Indiana probably gave me a better perspective on the world."

While at DePauw, Edwards reestablished Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, he noted on the program. He stays in touch with other Debbie Bial 3.jpgPosse members, and meets with several other male Posse graduates each Wednesday. "It's more than just a friendship: it's a brotherhood, it's just love, it's a family," he says.

Edwards was joined on the program by Deborah Bial, the founder and president of the Posse Foundation. She told Lopate, "We reach out to all the public high schools and the community-based organizations and we say to the guidance counselors and the teachers, 'Close your eyes, and if you can think of the one student who you know in your heart could succeed at a school like DePauw or Vanderbilt or Brandeis or Carleton but who might not show up on the radar screen' -- maybe she didn't get the best SAT score or maybe she goes to a pretty terrible high school. How long do you think it takes that guidance counselor to think of that student? Two seconds." Bial added, "These are nominations from the heart and the students that we get are WNYC.jpgspectacularly talented."

Bial -- who recently received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award and will provide DePauw's commencement address in May -- also attests, "DePauw is a great school," and Edwards says he would consider returning to the Midwest to work someday.

Audio of the segment, which runs more than 13 minutes, is archived at WNYC's Web site.

DePauw has partnered with the Posse Foundation since 1996 and became the first college in the nation to host two Posse groups (from New York and Chicago). In 2004, President Robert G. Bottoms was named a "Posse Star" by the Posse Foundation.

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