John Dee Bright College at Drake University, a two-year college which will begin classes in fall 2021, today announced the appointment of Drake alumni Dwana Bradley, editor-in-chief of The Urban Experience, and former State Representative Wayne Ford as Bright College senior ambassadors. In this role, Bradley and Ford will work with local businesses and organizations, central Iowa schools, fellow Drake alumni, and prospective students and their families to help ensure that communities often underserved by higher education can take advantage of the opportunities Bright College offers.
“An excellent Drake University education is not out of reach,” said Bradley, who earned a specialist degree in administration and master’s degree in elementary education and literacy from Drake. “Bright College is a new option for guidance counselors and families, seeking a way to set their students up for lifelong financial security and success.”
A goal of Bright College is for students to graduate with little or no tuition debt. Bright College admission counselors are helping students use federal Pell grants, state of Iowa grants, and Drake scholarships to lower their tuition burden to a relatively small amount that can be covered by a Federally Subsidized student loan. Classes are also held just three days each week so students have time for work, family, and other responsibilities, and there is no on-campus living requirement.
“This college is being designed from the start to put fewer barriers in place for students from low-income families,” said Ford, who holds a bachelor’s degree and honorary doctorate from Drake. “Drake’s leaders are trying to recruit more lower-income and minority students and I am eager to help them do it because I believe their efforts are sincere.” Ford also noted that a primary reason he chose to learn and play football at Drake was the story of Johnny Bright.
Bright College students will learn universal skills to prepare them for a modern workplace like teamwork, communication, critical thinking, project management, and problem solving. All Bright College graduates are also guaranteed admission to a Drake bachelor’s degree program if they decide to continue their education.
“I’m delighted that Wayne and Dwana have joined our efforts,” said Craig Owens, dean of Bright College. “Their lifelong commitment to equity and access in every area of life, and their energy and passion, perfectly capture the College’s mission to provide affordable access to excellent, highly supportive post-secondary education.”
Under the leadership of Drake University President Marty Martin, Drake University has recommitted itself to investing in and serving the Des-Moines and central Iowa community. In addition to Bright College, other initiatives in this spirit include providing land and fundraising assistance for the creation of the Gregory & Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club on the Drake University campus and helping lead the effort to make University Avenue more pedestrian-friendly.