Convocation 2018: Celebrating Student Achievement

5.23.2018--The Prison Education Project Recognition Ceremony with remarks by Barbara Schaal, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences held at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center in Pacific, MO. Photos by Joe Angeles/Washington University

On May 22, 2018, the Prison Education Project celebrated our fourth convocation ceremony for students at the MECC Campus.  Barbara Schaal, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis offered remarks for the event, which was attended by students, faculty, and staff.  Three current students also spoke at the ceremony.

The pursuit of knowledge transitions the student from someone with a limited knowledge of the mundane occurrences in society to a citizen with a nuanced understanding of social affairs.  This teaches you how to adapt to the world before you reenter it with less fear and uncertainty about your place of society, rising out of that place of darkness into the light of knowledge, with awareness of the things you would like to do and how to go about doing them. Undoubtedly, prison can be a dark time in your life, but it can also be a study ground on which you can achieve excellence.

– Jimar, Convocation 2018

Professor and Co-Director of PEP Robert Henke presented our 2018 student poetry collection entitled The Art of Poetry.  Produced in conjunction with a fall 2017 course taught by Howard Nemerov Professor of the Humanities Vincent Sherry and graduate student in English Anna Preus, The Art of Poetry features original student works.  Three students read poems from the book. 

To end the ceremony, PEP welcomed a new cohort of students into the program. These students had just successfully emerged from a rigorous admissions process, which included an exam, writing samples and individual interviews with faculty.  PEP is excited to begin the 2018-2019 academic year with them.

The Prison Education Project is an outstanding addition to the university’s many outreach programs. I am inspired by our faculty and staff who take the time to educate people incarcerated in Missouri as well as the prison staff. I was able to attend Convocation this past spring; it was a deeply moving and positive event. Hearing about the educational achievements and seeing the broad smiles of the students makes this entire effort worthwhile

– Barbara Schaal, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences

My first year in this program as a student has opened my eyes to a world outside of these prison walls, challenged me mentally, and enhanced my work ethic.

– George, Convocation 2018

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