Dynamic Leader from US Dept. of Ed Keynotes TAMIU GEAR UP IV Rally Here
Posted: 9/6/12

Dynamic Leader from U.S. Department of Ed
Keynotes GEAR Up IV Rally Here Sept. 18

Debra Saunders-White
Dr. Debra Saunders-White, deputy assistant secretary for Higher Education Programs (HEP) for the U.S. Department of Education, will address more than 10,000 local and regional area eighth and 12th graders as they descend on the LEA for the first GEAR UP IV rally of its kind.

The keynote speaker for the historic Student Leadership Conference-GEAR UP IV (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for University Programs) Prep Rally set for Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Laredo Energy Arena is a dynamic higher education leader, businesswoman, author and a mother of two.

Dr. Debra Saunders-White, deputy assistant secretary for Higher Education Programs (HEP) for the U.S. Department of Education, will address more than 10,000 local and regional area eighth and 12th graders as they descend on the LEA for the first GEAR UP IV rally of its kind.

The high-energy event, dubbed “Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders,” is designed to help prepare teens become engaged in post-secondary education and the opportunities it provides them to move their lives forward.

Dr. Saunders-White serves as the U.S. Department of Education assistant’s secretary’s chief advisor on higher education programs, administering more than 60 programs totaling nearly $3 billion annually. HEP supports higher education facilities and programs through financial support to eligible institutions, and management of programs that recruit and prepare disadvantaged students for successful completion of college. Notable among its programs are the eight TRIO programs, institutional development programs for minority-serving institutions, teacher development programs, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

Prior to Washington, D.C., Saunders-White was one of the seven University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) senior officers and chair of the UNC System Chief Information Officer Council. She is an entrepreneur and non-traditional administrator. She is one of the few higher education professionals who combined a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University with an MBA from The College of William and Mary. Such scholarly experiences, which include an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Virginia, coupled with 15 years of corporate work experience, allows for a unique perspective into the inter-relationship between academic pursuits and resource management.

She has won numerous awards in higher education focused on improving operational efficiencies. She is an author, has been recognized by leading magazines as a Cyberstar and a top leader among higher education executives by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and American Council on Education. She is a proud mother of two, Elizabeth Paige, a scholar-athlete at Temple University and Cecil III, a student at the University of Virginia.

The Prep-Rally’s program will also include one of the nation’s top motivational speakers and success trainers, Aric Bostick and music by the sensational five-man acapella group MO5AIC (Mosaic).

The GEAR UP program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school.

TAMIU initiated its GEAR UP Program in 2000. The Program has been refunded ever since. In 2012, the Program was awarded approximately $6.3 million for each of its seven years of operation totaling $42.9 million. Housed at TAMIU, the GEAR UP IV Program outreach includes 35 schools in 10 counties. Dr. Julio Madrigal is the grant’s principal investigator.

For more information on the TAMIU GEAR UP IV program, contact Dr. Rick Moreno, TAMIU’s GEAR UP IV director, at 956.326.2702, e-mail rick.moreno@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the TAMIU Student Center, room 126.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu

5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, TX 78041-1900 Work956.326.2100