Barry Sarchett, professor of English at Colorado College, says that over the last decade, he has been “personally distraught” about social inequality in higher education.

“It became quite clear over the last decade or more that elite institutions of higher education — and I include CC in that category — had become, despite their own best intentions, engines of creating and maintaining social inequality rather than engines of social mobility,” Sarchett says.

As a first-generation college student from working-class parents himself, Sarchett calls higher education’s relationship with inequality a “betrayal.”

So he started doing research into college access programs at institutions like Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Southern California. This research informed his role as chair of the College Access Committee, the group that proposed CC’s new Stroud Scholars Program.

The program, named after Effie Stroud Frazier ’31 and Kelly Dolphus Stroud ’31, will select 25 high school students from the Pikes Peak Region in July 2020 to undergo three years of immersive college prep and mentorship, ending with admission to CC or another institution. Each year following, the program will expand with a new group of rising sophomores.

“For me, the college access program is not about CC,” Sarchett says, “it is about doing our small part to fight the scourge of social inequality.”