Christopher Cofer, executive director of Summer@Syracuse, has been named the New York ACT College and Career Readiness Postsecondary Champion for 2018. The award is given to one individual from each state who is making a positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness. Over 5,000 applications and nominations were received nationally and the largest pool of applicants ever was received for New York State.

Christopher Cofer

Christopher Cofer

The ACT College and Career Readiness Postsecondary Champion Award acknowledges individuals who assist underrepresented or underserved students in navigating their future educational and professional careers.

“Chris was an outstanding applicant in his category, and his contributions to Summer@Syracuse represent the best attributes of college and career readiness for all,” says Rose Babington, ACT district manager.

Cofer has significantly expanded partnerships with community-based organizations to increase access to Syracuse University’s Summer College for High School Students programs. The Summer College for High School Students programs are designed to offer both credit and non-credit opportunities for students to engage in rigorous college courses over a six-week period during the summer. Partnering with community-based organizations and foundations has provided opportunities for students who may otherwise not have the means to attend. In 2017, Summer College served 457 students from 30 states and 20 countries.

The Charles Hayden Foundation is the longest standing partnership with Summer College. The foundation funds an average of 20 students each summer from select New York City high schools. Their focus and support is on youth development and education programs that present evidence of program impact on young people and plans for making measurable progress toward well-defined goals in a specific time frame.

Funds from the foundation are used for housing, meal plans and other expenses. Since 2010, 177 students have been awarded the Charles Hayden Foundation Scholarship, giving them the opportunity to attend Summer College.

“Chris’s passion for opportunity and access exemplifies Syracuse University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says Mike Frasciello, dean of University College. “Under Chris’s leadership, Summer College has evolved into a One University initiative that actively demonstrates how diversity and inclusion goals can be meet with intention, purpose and a personal commitment to academic excellence through multiple points of view, life experiences, ethnicities and cultures,” he adds.

ACT State Organizations represents over 10,000 education and workplace professionals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.