As our fifth school President, Geoffrey Mearns is heading towards his first full year as president of Northern Kentucky University. Mearns and his wife, Jennifer, are already making plans to make a difference for students.
As announced at his installation as president in August 2012, Mearns and his family have started an endowment called the Mearns/Proud Family Endowed Scholarship, which will provide scholarships and grants to first generation college students. Both President Mearns and Jennifer Mearns see as their responsibility to raise the money for deserving first generation students.
Inspiration for the idea behind giving money to first generation students comes from his family as a way of honoring and as in tribute to his and Jennifer’s parents. According to President Mearns the idea was prompted by the fact that Jennifer’s parents, while successful, did not get a chance to go to college because of work and life. Another factor was his own parents.
“My father was first generation in his family to go to college. That experience he had in college changed the whole trajectory of his life, the whole trajectory of our family and led to him committing his entire professional life to education,” President Mearns said.
The origin of the endowment started with a conversation between Mearns and his wife. A conversation in which they discussed how they wanted to communicate to the university community the level of their personal commitment they have to this university, according to President Mearns.
“Clearly a part of that commitment is manifested in the fact that we decided to move our family, come to Northern Kentucky and take this job here but we wanted to try to communicate more broadly about our passion for the mission of the institution,” he said.
“That’s when the conversation led to creating an endowment fund. Which will support deserving students who aspire to come to NKU and that we would provide them some financial support.”
Though the Mearns family see raising money as their responsibility, many students have began to support them on this initiative. One organization on campus that has started to work with the Mearns family is Climb Time Entertainment, which functions as an on-campus record label at NKU. Climb Time Entertainment is working with President Mearns to start the Dream Campaign.
The Dream Campaign event, scheduled for March 18, will be an event you will not want to miss according to Isaiah Morgan, or I$E, rap artist for and president of Climb Time Entertainment and junior business major at NKU. “Monday, you want to be on campus because we are going to party,” I$E said.
The event will be located at the amphitheatre in the middle of campus and it will be a day filled with many artists from Climb Time Entertainment and special set time around noon in which President Mearns will speak.
When it comes to where the name the Dream Campaign comes from, vice president of Climb Time and junior criminal justice major, according to Jordan Parker, it’s quite simple.
“NKU being the school of dreamers, we thought it would only be right,” Parker said.
Mearns and Climb Time Entertainment collaborated on a video for the event: