Sept. 27 Summit to focus on recruiting, retaining underrepresented college students

The Summit on Access, Persistence and Completion — an event for enrollment, retention and career services professionals in higher education — will be held Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road. The one-day conference is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Metropolitan Community College.

The seventh annual event will be held at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.

The goal of the seventh annual Summit is to provide higher education professionals with opportunities to share ideas, programs, strategies and best practices that support recruitment and retention of underrepresented students.

About 200 people are expected to attend from colleges and universities around the region, including Metropolitan Community College, Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Central Missouri, Rockhurst University, Park University, Southeast Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University and Kansas State University.

“Two-year schools and four-year schools are working together and with community organizations like the Kauffman Foundation to improve access to higher education and to share strategies to put students on a successful path to graduation,” says Dr. Kimberly Beatty, Metropolitan Community College chancellor.

This year’s featured speakers are:

  • Tyrone Bledsoe, founder and CEO of the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB), a program supporting young men of color as they embark upon and complete post-secondary education. SAAB has chapters on more than 200 secondary school and college campuses across the country. Bledsoe was formerly vice president for student life and special assistant to the president at the University of Toledo.
  • Marybeth Gasman, Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education and director of the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. Gasman’s areas of expertise include the history of American higher education, minority-serving institutions, racism and diversity, fundraising and philanthropy, and higher education leadership. She is the author or editor of 25 books.
  • Ernesto Mejia, former associate dean of student success at Morton College in Cicero, Illinois, is a son of Mexican immigrants who, at age 16, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder that left him temporarily paralyzed. He speaks to students, parents and teachers about overcoming obstacles and never giving up on education.

Working sessions throughout the day will focus on access (enrollment), persistence (student retention) and completion (graduation).

To learn more about the Summit on Access, Persistence and Completion, visit

About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation aspires to eliminate barriers so that every person — regardless of their backgrounds — can take risks, achieve success and give back to their communities. To do that we strive to work together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions that empower people to shape their futures. Learn more at

About Metropolitan Community College

Metropolitan Community College is Kansas City’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education. Founded in 1915 as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute, it became the Junior College of Kansas City in 1919 and went “Metropolitan” in 1964. Five campuses — MCC-Blue River, MCC-Business & Technology, MCC-Longview, MCC-Maple Woods and MCC-Penn Valley — and a robust online program educate more than 30,000 students annually through credit and noncredit courses and business services.