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A Legacy of Community Access and Service

Funding to Balfour Academy promotes educational opportunity and urban outreach

While her friends in Jamaica Plain were relaxing during their summer break from class, Jessica Thompson was engaged in challenging academic work at Northeastern University’s Balfour Academy.

Northeastern is committed to providing eight full-tuition scholarships for each Balfour graduating class. The academy is integral to fulfilling Northeastern’s goal of helping inner-city students attend college, both through academic preparation and financial support.

“It was hard work, but it definitely paid off,” she said. Indeed, Jessica excelled as an honors student at Boston’s Fenway High School, graduating as valedictorian in 2002. She was one of a select group of seniors to receive a full five-year scholarship to Northeastern.

The academy, originally established by Northeastern in 1983, was renamed in 1989 in acknowledgement of a generous endowment gift from the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, Fleet National Bank Trustee.

Balfour Academy provides educational and personal enrichment opportunities to students from low-income families who are enrolled in the seventh through twelfth grades in the Boston public schools, with the goal of developing the skills needed to achieve admission to college and completion of their degrees.

For example, students in the academy receive tutoring from Northeastern students, many of them former Balfour graduates, who are attuned to the needs of their younger peers.

Northeastern is committed to providing eight full-tuition scholarships for each Balfour graduating class. The academy is integral to fulfilling Northeastern’s goal of helping inner-city students attend college, both through academic preparation and financial support.

The University’s Leadership Campaign seeks to provide the financial resources necessary to advance Northeastern’s aspirations concerning educational opportunities and urban engagement.

In addition to generous funding from foundations such as Balfour, individual commitments, like that of University Trustee Henry J. Nasella, UC ’77, and his wife Michele, have made a huge impact on students’ lives.

The Nasellas have committed $450,000 toward scholarship assistance to enable more Balfour Academy students to attend Northeastern.

“We want to help students who don’t have the financial resources, but who want a good education and are willing to work hard,” said Nasella.

“My wife and I have typically supported bricks-and-mortar building projects, but this Campaign is about more than that — it is about excellence. Excellence means having the financial resources necessary for student scholarships, academic chairs, and top-notch faculty.”

Carla Oblas, program director for Balfour Academy, supports that commitment to excellence. “There are so many well-prepared Balfour graduates who would love to go to Northeastern,” Oblas said.

“With increased funding, the Balfour Academy would like to grow the numbers of students enrolled in its program as well as the number of Northeastern scholarships available to Balfour graduates.”

More than 750 students from the Boston public school system have attended Balfour Academy since its founding two decades ago. In 2002 alone, twenty Balfour students pursued some form of higher education upon graduation from high school. Today, forty Balfour graduates are attending Northeastern.

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Balfour Academy
 
Carla Oblas, Program Director for Balfour Academy
  This article appeared in the Volume 1, No. 1 issue of Pathways: the Leadership Campaign.          

Copyright 2006 Northeastern University. All rights reserved.