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Be the Difference

Les Aspin Center for Government Award Recipient

PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

Dr. MitchumDr. Arnold L. Mitchem, Grad ’81, Hon Deg ’04
Chevy Chase, Md.

Dr. Arnold Mitchem has been a powerful voice for low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities for his entire career. He is now president emeritus for the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE), and thanks to his decades of leadership and service, federally funded TRIO programs have expanded by nearly 400 percent and now serve more than 872,000 students at 1,200 colleges and universities.

Dr. Mitchem began his career as part of the history faculty at Marquette University and in 1969 was named director of Marquette’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), one of the first in the country. After nearly two decades of growing EOP and creating access for first-generation and low-income students who wouldn’t otherwise have attended Marquette, he relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1986 to serve as president of COE, a leadership position he held until October 2013.

In fall 2007, Dr. Mitchem bridged COE’s overarching mission of access to educational opportunity with Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government. The two entities partnered and began awarding the Keith Sherin Global Leaders Internship to students dedicated to leadership, public service, and the study of public policy. Today, student interns, selected from a nationwide search across TRIO programs, spend a semester at the Les Aspin Center and work in a Washington, D.C. office that focuses on policy making. The combination of academic coursework through the Les Aspin Center and the internship allows students to further explore their interest in government and have meaningful professional experiences.

Since this successful partnership began with the help of Dr. Mitchem’s visionary leadership, many Global Leaders interns have advanced to pursue graduate level education, work in a variety of public service leadership positions, or run for elective office. The collaboration further demonstrates the positive, life-changing impact on TRIO students, who might otherwise have difficulty accessing competitive internship opportunities in Washington D.C.