HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Centenary University has received a $10,000 grant from the Brotherton Foundation to enhance accessibility and the academic experience for students with learning differences. Inspired by the grant, Merri F. Millman, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, has also contributed a $5,000 leadership gift for Project ABLE, a program offered through Centenary’s Academic Success & Advising Center that provides comprehensive support for students with psychological, learning, and neurological differences.
The two gifts will fund new technology for students with visual and hearing impairments and scholarships for students to participate in Project ABLE, according to Michelle Meyer, dean for academic success. “The new technologies will be a gamechanger for many of our students,” explained Meyer. “We’re also extremely excited about the ability to offer Project ABLE scholarships for students entering Centenary next fall. We encounter many students who haven’t taken advantage of Project ABLE because they couldn’t make that financial investment.”
The University’s Disability Services Office, which is part of the Academic Success & Advising Center, works directly with students to arrange reasonable accommodations and support services that improve learning outcomes. At Centenary, about 17 percent of students are registered with the office. Through programs like Project ABLE and STEP Ahead, an intensive pre-college summer program, Centenary students develop skills to succeed in the classroom and in life. “Centenary is the perfect size for students who can benefit from individualized support,” said Julie Gallup, assistant director of disability services.
A longtime leadership donor at the University, Millman said her 40-year career as a speech language pathologist inspired her latest gift to fund Project ABLE scholarships. “Centenary provides a wonderful environment that supports students on their journey toward attaining a college degree,” Millman explained. “But that’s just the beginning. With the strong foundation provided by Centenary, our graduates go on to become amazing people.”
Throughout her teaching career, Millman witnessed firsthand how individualized support can change the trajectory of a student’s life. In fact, one student she taught at age 3 grew up to be a Centenary University valedictorian. Millman said, “It still gives me goosebumps. It’s proof that when students are given the proper support, the world is their oyster.”