GCC Takes the Reins from NMH on Local Upward Bound Program

July 2, 2021

A local Upward Bound program that has provided increased access to college opportunities for Pioneer Valley high school students will move from its home of 50 years on the Northfield Mount Hermon School (NMH) campus to Greenfield Community College (GCC).

GCC President Yves Salomon-Fernández and NMH Head of School Brian H. Hargrove announced the shift, which secures the Upward Bound program’s vital mission of supporting the college aspirations of underserved high school students in western Massachusetts. The Upward Bound office will move from the Gill campus to GCC in Greenfield this summer. The program will continue to serve nearly 90 public school students each year from Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties, including Greenfield, Holyoke, Springfield, and surrounding towns.

“We are proud of NMH’s long relationship with Upward Bound and its tremendous success in supporting students as they aspire to live with humanity and purpose and continue their education in community colleges, colleges, and universities,” Hargrove said.

Salomon-Fernández said, “This is an opportunity for GCC to develop stronger relationships with high school-aged students in our region and to serve our community in ways that we have not done before. The goals of Upward Bound are uniquely aligned with the vision and mission of the college to make higher education accessible to all of our citizens. Education has the potential to increase opportunity and thus strengthen individuals, their families, and ultimately their communities.”

Upward Bound was launched in the mid 1960’s as one of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs. Many high schools and colleges committed to sponsor Upward Bound programs providing tutoring, college counseling, and college prep opportunities to public high school students. Over the decades, nearly all Upward Bound programs migrated to collegiate or nonprofit settings. For many years, NMH has been one of only two independent boarding schools in the country—out of the nearly 1,000 Upward Bound programs—to host the program on its campus.

NMH worked with Upward Bound Director Sharon Gralnick and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal TRIO Programs to identify the next host for the program, and GCC administrators were familiar with the NMH-based program through connections forged between the Upward Bound Summer Academy and the College.

GCC is a diverse community that will be further strengthened by the students and staff associated with the Upward Bound program. The college has a nearly 60-year history of opening doors of education to people from a wide range of backgrounds including those who are the first in their families to attend college, those seeking skills to secure a promotion or change jobs, those seeking an affordable start to an advanced degree, those who are working and raising a family, and those who are still in high school and seeking different opportunities.

NMH will continue its longstanding relationship with Upward Bound by remaining the preferred choice to host the Upward Bound Summer Academy and continuing to admit and support mission-appropriate Upward Bound students. NMH also looks forward to finding additional ways to partner with GCC in supporting our community.

Upward Bound Director Sharon Gralnick can be reached at gralnicks@gcc.mass.edu.