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Gateway Program Prepares Students for Campus Life

Posted by Pengxeu Thao '15, Roseville on Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014

The University of Minnesota, Morris’s 20th annual Gateway Program welcomed 29 incoming students on Sunday, July 17. The program helps students develop skills for college success and is celebrating 20 years of excellence in education and diversity leadership.

Gateway was created in 1995 by the late Joseph Latterell, professor emeritus of chemistry, the late Thomas McRoberts, director of continuing education, and William Stewart, former Multi-Ethnic Student Program director. For four weeks, students interact closely with faculty and staff, network with current students, and take their first steps into the campus’s liberal arts curriculum through classes in English and statistics.

In addition to classes, Gateway hosts various trips and activities such as a visit to a cultural museum in Alexandria and a day of fun at Valleyfair. Several student organizations like the Morris Campus Student Association (MCSA), Morris Queer Student Initiative for Equality (MOQSIE), Asian Student Association (ASA), and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) also host activities throughout the program. These activities not only foster long-lasting peer relationships, but also introduce students to future leadership roles.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to make friends and get used to campus before the school year starts,” says Dylan Jones ’18, Bentonville, Arkansas.

Yee Thao ’18, Saint Paul, agrees. “This is a good chance get to know others and know what to do in college.”

“This is the first step into autonomy and I expect to grow here as a person,” adds Don Liu ’18, Oakdale.

For Gateway’s 20th anniversary, these experiences will be incorporated into a project by Simon Franco, academic excellence coordinator in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Programs, and Olivia Klemek ’15, Cold Spring, a current Gateway intern and program alumna. They are compiling photos and information from across the program’s history to document student and alumni experiences. This project will be part of a permanent collection in the Student Center.

“We want this permanent collection displayed to show the mark that the program has made on its participants and the campus,” says Franco. “The project will show Gateway’s evolution and, hopefully, we’ll have a display ready by the end of this year’s program.”

“Gateway has had a huge impact on almost 400 people in the last 20 years, and I wouldn't be as outgoing or involved on campus without it,” adds Klemek. “The photo portion of the project that will hang in the Student Center and will show the campus and community that students from all backgrounds have been and will continue to be an integral part of this campus.”

The Gateway program ends on August 15. For more information, visit or call the Multi-Ethnic Resource Center at 320-589-6095.

Gateway participants pose outside the Multi-Ethnic Resource Center.

Pictured above: Student speakers at the Gateway closing ceremony in August 2013.