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Frank Stephenson has dedicated much of his life’s work to Upward Bound, an outreach program
for disadvantaged high school students
This leader portrays unconditional love,
The kind we receive from our Master above.
He always helps and never complains,
He has been with us in sunshine, storms and rains.
Selected from the poem, A True Leader,
written by, students of Frank Stephenson
on the twentieth anniversary of Upward Bound.
July 26, 1997
A black and white photo on the cover of College Bound, features two 1997
graduates of The Ohio State University Graduate School. Not such an unlikely
feat for a remarkable pair, right?
Wrong. Felix Deloatch, a graduate of Northampton County High School -
East, Conway, N.C. and Dr. Arwin Smallwood, a graduate of Bertie High
School, Windsor, N.C. were both disadvantaged high school students before
attending the miraculous Chowan College Upward Bound program.
Now in its twenty-fu-st year of service to regional high school students,
who express a desire to continue their education beyond high school but may
not be doing well in regular school settings, the outstanding program is federally
funded through competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
“Our charge from the federal goverrunent is to get these kids ready to
graduate from college,” explains Director E. Frank Stephenson, Jr. ‘62. He
leans forward and declares proudly, “We compete for grant money nationally,
against any college or university who wants to apply for it. The last time we
went into competition [grants are awarded every four years] there were 2,000
applications. They funded 450.
“I’ll put up what we do against any other program in the country. Our
program has a very high success rate and our fimding applications rank
consistently at the top of the scale,” he says. Selected for two national studies
by the federal government in the last ten years, the first study included only
twenty-five programs and the second only five.
Working armually with 75 culturally and educationally disadvantaged
students from four high schools in the Roanoke-Chowan region of North
Carolina, Stephenson and his staff have achieved remarkable triumphs.
The walls of his office are sheathed with photos photos which represent
one success story after another. Ask him about it. Then, plan to spend hours
listening to fascinating stories of fu'st-generation college graduates, families of
siblings attending college, graduate-school accomplishments and professional
achievements. The stories are astounding.
“1 have enough graduate photos to cover any walls you want to cover,” he
After receiving his Chowan associate’s degree in liberal arts, he attended
North Carolina State University where he obtained his B.S. in industrial and
personnel management. Then he eruolled in the school’s graduate program to
receive his M.S. in counseling.
Stephenson became the director of admissions at Chowan College in 1966
and served in that capacity for ten years before moving into the Upward Bound
The federal program, which funds Upward Bound, began in the early ‘60s
as part of the ‘Great Society’ program of Lyndon Johnson, according to
Stephenson. “Dean Lowe [B. Franklin Lowe, Jr., vice president for academic
affairs] did the first application in 1976. He turned the first one in at the
request of Dr. Bruce Whitaker [president Emeritus], They received a phone call
one day to say they were fimded, I came along and they offered me the job.”
Ideally, students apply to the program as high school sophomores. “We
like to have them two years,” explains Stephenson, During the fall and spring
semesters of their junior and senior years, they meet on Chowan’s campus two
Saturday’s a month for writing skills classes. Each sunmier they attend a six-
week session at Chowan,
During the summer session, students live on the Chowan campus, attend
classes Monday through Thursday and travel each Friday, “We give students a
variety of experiences and skills stressing academic achievement and cultural
Alumni and administrators of the Upward Bound program celebrate the first twenty years,
(l-r) Dr Stanley Lott, Felix Deloatch (B.S., Elizabeth City State Univ., M.S., Ohio State
Univ.), Nicole Jenkins (B.S., Elizabeth City State Univ.), Dr. Arwin Smallwood (B.S., M.S.,
N.C. Central Univ., Ph.D., Ohio State Univ.), Bettina Pope (B.S., N.C. State Univ.), Eddie
Vinson (B.S. Elizabeth City State Univ.), Frank Stephenson, Dr B. Franklin Lowe, Jr, and
Thomas Sellers (B.S. Elizabeth City State Univ.)
Well be calling...
February 3 - March 5
Students of Chowan College will be phoning alurrmi, parents and fnends
of the college during the armual phonathon to raise funds for the school’s 1997-
98 aimual giving programs.
Unrestricted gifts to Chowan’s Alumni Loyalty Fund,
Parents Fund and Aimual Fund provide a vital source of
income which helps support the day-to-day operations of
the college and provides the financial flexibility for immedi
ate change and improvement.
Please offer your support to the students of
Chowan when they call. Your contributions can
and do make a difference in the quahty of educa
tion and student life on campus.
We hope that we can count on your generosity,.
awareness,” he says, “They take nine classes and
can be in class, literally, from 8:00 in the morning
until 10:00 at night,”
Friday field trips include treks to various
colleges for orientation visits and an aimual trip
takes students to the Smithsonian galleries in
Washington, D C, each spring, F^ipils have even
traveled as far as New York City for a special
“They need to go home on weekends,”
Stephenson reveals, “because this is an exfremely
demanding, intense schedule,”
Once students begin college, staff members
chart their progress, “Our graduation rate from
high school and college is far above the local
average,” he declares,
Stephenson directs an administrative staff,
teaching staff, dorm staff and the program’s own
security force. Teachers are hired from various
schools, according to federal regulations, George
Hazelton, associate professor of science at
Chowan, has been teaching with Stephenson for
19 years, “He’s sort of a fixture and the kids
really like him,” says the director,
“We get a lot of students who come back to
talk to us,” relates Stephenson, “Invariably, the
number one thing that helped them during their
two years here was the writing class,” he says,
“and we’re having more and more attend graduate
It’s easy to tell from the light in his eyes
that hearing about their successes is the joy of his
job, Stephenson loves to tell stories about alumni.
Stories about the cardiologist at John Hopkins
Hospital, the professor of history at Bradley
University or the law enforcement officer
preparing for the F B I, fill his repertoire.
He loves what he’s doing and it shows. The
Hertford County native, raised on a local peanut,
tobacco and cucumber farm, says, “This is my
home, 1 grew up here. These are my kids and I
love working with them. It’s a joy to see them
come in here green and then go on to grow,
develop and become successful,
“I have a wonderful staff. We’ve been
successful at this for twenty years and I fiilly
expect to keep Upward Bound here as long as the
federal government keeps putting money into it,”
The Alumni Association needs your
help in nominating candidates for the 1998
Ehstinguished Alumni Award
Nominees must meet two criteria.
Fist eedi nan iieemu^be xigood
standing. To meet the requirements of
good standing, each alum must have
completed at least one semester in a two-
year program or two semesters in a four-
year program and have either graduated or
been eligible for continued enrollment at
their time of withdrawal.
Second, each nominee must have ex
celled in a chosen profession, made a
significant contribution to society through
their work or voltmteer efforts, or in
another way brought honor to, or assist
ed, the college in its mission of Christian
While nominations for distinguished
alumni can be submitted at any time, the
association requests all nominations for
the 1998 award be submitted by March 31
for review by the 1998 Distinguished
Alumni Nominating Committee. Nomina
tions received after March 31 may be held
for consideration the 1999 nominating
Please submit the following information
for a nominee: name, class year (if known),
brief justification for the nomination, and
your name and phone number
Send nominations to:
The Chowan College Alumni Association
c/o Director of Alunmi Services
PO Box 1848
Murfreesbwo, NC 27855
CHOWAN TODAY, Winter 1997-98 — Page 3