Iowa News Nuggets: Here's an Overview of Key Happenings and Milestones at Some Colleges and Universities in Iowa, a State with a 130-Year-Old Tradition of Providing Equal Access to Education to People of Color

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Des Moines Area Community College, Des Moines--As part of its effort to blend diversity with creativity and critical thinking, the college has developed a program that each year offers a single book for all faculty to incorporate into their coursework. This school year, the program, known as "One Book, One College, One Community," is reading "Hope's Boy." The book, a memoir by lawyer Andrew Bridge, details how his mother's declining mental health forced him into a loveless foster home that repeatedly failed to accept him and how he overcame that, earned a scholarship to go to college, attended Harvard Law School and became a Fulbright scholar.

Drake University, Des Moines--This private university recently launched the Brother to Brother project, a leadership program designed to help minority male students develop characteristics of manhood, academic success, service learning, financial literacy and multicultural competence. The program will encourage participants to create their personal visions and spur them to take a keen interest in such matters as leadership, teamwork, campus involvement and community service

Grand View University, Des Moines--The liberal arts college of approximately 2,000 students recently completed the largest and most successful capital campaign in its history. The university exceeded its campaign goal of $15 million by $5 million. The campaign funded the construction of a new academic building and contributed to the support of scholarships and the university's endowment.

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Grinnell College, Grinnell--This liberal arts college received a $500,000, four-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation last year that steers students from culturally under-represented groups toward teaching and college careers. There are 10 Grinnell fellows. They receive mentoring from faculty, funding for conference attendance, loan repayment support for graduate school and an opportunity to build relationships with a network of colleagues throughout the country.

Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids--A market study conducted by Iowa Workforce Development noted an overall wage increase of nearly 36 percent among workers six months after they completed Kirkwood's Call Center Customer Service Certification program. The study was conducted with a sample of 218 program participants from 2004 to 2007. The Call Center program, developed in partnership with eight employers in 1998, provides training in a 13-week session in financial services, technology and telephone communication skills.

Simpson College, Indianola--The liberal arts college, where George Washington Carver matriculated as a college freshman more than a century ago, is gearing up for its 150th anniversary. …