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ASPiRE Celebrates 84 Students Who Completed the Program

2018 Aspire CompletionOn April 28, a completion ceremony was held for the 5th cohort of VCU ASPiRE students to successfully finish the program. A majority of the 84 finishers attended the event that was held in the Richmond Salons.

There were many family members and friends in attendance to celebrate the completion of the two-year program. Students heard encouraging words from a familiar face, Grady Hart, who served as the speaker and is the former co-curricular coordinator for the program. He was recently back stateside after spending several months traveling through South America. He inspired the students to follow their dreams and always remember to help others.

New to this year's event was the celebration of three awards for community engagement, given to a completing student, young alumnus and community partner. Anna Hopkins, a liberal studies and early elementary education major, received the student engagement award for her diligent service and leadership with youth-serving organizations. Margaret vonVorys-Norton, a 2015 completer, received the young alumni award for her work post-graduation with the Service Year Alliance. Art for the Journey was recognized as the community partner award winner for the organization's work providing ASPiRE students with training and opportunities to work with elders in the community through art. Another ASPiRE student, Nauje Jones, a psychology major, was recognized during the event for being selected as VCU's first Newman Civic Fellow.

More than 80 percent of the students who started ASPiRE's two-year intensive program in 2016 completed it. ASPiRE requires students to live in West Grace South Residence Hall, take nine credit hours and complete 100 co-curricular hours.