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Educational Opportunity Fund Launches 50th Anniversary with Jazz and Civil Rights Movement Program

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Caldwell, N.J., Nov. 10, 2017 – The Educational Opportunity Fund of Caldwell University launched its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration Nov. 8 with jazz and a presentation on the civil rights movement by flutist Galen Abdur-Razzaq.

Razzaq, president of Flute Juice Productions, performed jazz pieces and gave a lively, interactive talk focusing on African-American history and music artists in the United States during the civil rights movement.

Andrei St. Felix, director of Caldwell’s EOF program, said the event was important to educate the community and students about the origin of the program and about the events that led to the 1967 Newark riots. “Out of that struggle and perilous time was born the opportunity to assist students of color who were financially and/or academically below the admissions criteria to attend colleges and universities in the state of New Jersey. Razzaq also shed light on the contributions of the many jazz musicians of that era who were also activists in their own way and used their talents to bring people together and expose the injustices that sparked the civil rights movement.”

EOF student Dominique Andrews said, “I thought that the event was really relaxing, and I enjoyed the speakers along with the music. I thought the message was very clear and important for members of the EOF community to know.”

Student Tanya Jean Louis said that EOF was a gift and that she was grateful for the many doors it had opened for her.

EOF came on the heels of the 1967 Newark riots. New Jersey’s chancellor of higher education, Ralph A. Dungan, proposed the program for special assistance to students from financially and educationally disadvantaged areas. It stemmed from the Select Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Lilly Commission, which made its report to the governor and state Legislature, recommending programs to address the conditions that underpinned the riots. The Educational Opportunity Fund was enacted in 1968; the legislation was sponsored by Thomas Kean, an assemblyman and future governor.Sister Vivien Jennings, O.P., was Caldwell’s first EOF director.

Caldwell’s EOF program will host another celebration in spring 2018 for the community and students.

To learn more about Caldwell University’s EOF program, go to https://www.caldwell.edu/eof