NEWPORT, R.I. - The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, based in Washington, D.C., has selected North Central Texas College Coordinator of Freshman English and English Instructor Rochelle D. Gregory, Ph.D. as the first recipient of its newly created Pell Grant Legacy Award.
Gregory will be presented the award, named after the late Sen. Claiborne Pell, on Friday, March 19 during the Pell Grant Legacy Award Dinner held at the Pell Center for International Relations & Public Policy at Salve Regina University, located in the Young Building, corner of Bellevue and Ruggles avenues in Newport.
Dinner is scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with the award presentation slated to begin at 7 p.m.
Among the other highlights of the Pell Grant Legacy Award Dinner will be a presentation to the Pell family and closing remarks by Sen. Pell’s grandson, Herbert Claiborne Pell, IV.
The Pell Grant Legacy Award recognizes Gregory as a past Pell Grant recipient who has made a notable contribution to public service through her work as a champion for students who have been marginalized and deemed “invisible” in society such as students who have disabilities and come from low-income backgrounds.
While in high school, Gregory was active in the Tarleton State University (TSU) Upward Bound program before attending the university to earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, both in English. She pursued a doctorate in rhetoric from Texas Woman’s University upon completing a dissertation on the representation of autism in the public discourse. Additionally, Gregory works with low-income college students—including those involved with the TSU Upward Bound program—to help them achieve their academic goals, secure financial aid, and understand the “ins and outs” of financing their education through the Pell Grant.
“We are pleased to extend the first Pell Grant Legacy Award to Dr. Gregory who has a powerful and compelling story about growing up extremely poor in a trailer park in Dublin, Texas, and who is very expressive about how if it were not for the Pell Grant program and support from her TRIO mentors, she would have fallen through the cracks,” said Chandra Taylor Smith, Ph.D., director, The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. “Dr. Gregory epitomizes the person who Sen. Pell had in mind when he first envisioned this program over 40 years ago providing federal aid to help students pursue higher education that would have otherwise been beyond their reach.”
Sen. Pell served in the U.S. Senate from 1961 to 1997 and was the principal sponsor of the federal Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, which was renamed in 1980 to the “Federal Pell Grant Program” to provide need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to higher education. In 2007–08, the program served 5.5 million students and the total amount given in grants was $14.7 billion, or nearly one-third of all undergraduates enrolled. Sen. Pell passed away on Jan. 1, 2009. The Pell Grant Legacy Award honors the one-year anniversary of his death.
Established by Congress in 1996, the Pell Center for International Relations & Public Policy promotes the primary objectives of Sen. Pell’s decades of public service: enhancing international dialogue to achieve a more peaceful world and preparing individuals for an informed and active role in local, national, and world affairs. Both the Pell Center for International Relations & Public Policy and The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education have been named in honor of Sen. Pell.
For more information about the Pell Grant Legacy Award, visit The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education’s Web site at www.pellinstitute.org.