Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring 2006
NOAH Celebrates 42 Years of Educational Success
Sybil Mimy, who marked her first anniversary as executive director of the New Opportunities at Hofstra (NOAH) Program in September 2005, boasts that she is an alumna of both the University and the NOAH Program.
NOAH students celebrate their academic success at the 2005 graduation reception for the program.
She recalls, "I was accepted into the NOAH Program in 1991 and graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in history, specializing in Africana and American studies." She shares her NOAH experience with more than 800 Hofstra graduates who have benefited from this program, since its inception more than 42 years ago.
Hofstra University's NOAH Program originated as Negro Opportunities At Hofstra in 1964, soon after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. Hofstra was the first private college to start such a program, not only in New York state, but in the nation. Sybil notes, "New York decided to make it the archetype for its Higher Education Opportunity Program [HEOP]." NOAH - which became a HEOP program after the latter was established by New York in 1969 to assist economically and educationally disadvantaged students - is supported in part by a grant from the New York State Education Department.
Although NOAH began as an initiative with disadvantaged African-American students in mind, Sybil says that it has since expanded to encompass "nontraditional students who include Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, and Native American cultures." Its raison d'etre is to enable students with academic promise to earn an undergraduate degree that will transform their futures, even if they lack the grades, standardized test scores and the financial resources to qualify for regular admission.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman Berliner, who has worked closely with the program for 25 years, notes with pride the success of graduates of the program. "Over the years there have been numerous graduates of the program who have been very successful in their chosen fields of endeavor, and the reputation of our University has been enhanced by the success of these graduates."
Sabir Manteen '81, now president of Nu Millennium Builders, LLC, credits NOAH with giving him one of the most important and rigorous experiences of his life. While still a student at Westbury High School on Long Island, Sabir's guidance counselor strongly encouraged him to interview for application into NOAH. "From about 700 students who applied for admission, I was one of about 44 students who was accepted."
Sabir says that the NOAH experience not only helped him develop his academic and social skills, but "it enabled me to compete in the marketplace and prepared me to be active in my community and serve the country at large."
In addition to his studies, Sabir interned in the NOAH office under then-director Frank Smith and served as a tutor counselor to incoming NOAH students, forming friendships that have lasted to this day. Part of Sabir's assignments was to work the six-week summer program with the NOAH freshmen.
Ady Piña, a current NOAH student who will graduate this spring, has dubbed this summer program an "Academic Boot Camp" which, in addition to improving math and reading skills, also builds a sense of community among the students. Ady, a speech communication major, was a student at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, when he first learned about NOAH.
It came to his attention when he was completing his admissions application to Hofstra. At that time he thought it was only a financial aid program. After a visit to his high school by Frank Smith, Ady learned it was much more... | more |