Student-Parent Leadership Conference to celebrate National TRiO Day


12th annual Student-Parent Leadership Conference

Representatives of the University of Notre Dame and the local community will gather Saturday (Feb. 22) for the 12th annual Student-Parent Leadership Conference at Notre Dame in celebration of National TRiO Day.

More than 120 students, many from underrepresented groups, and their parents are coming from across the region, from Fort Wayne to Gary. The conference begins with a college fair, with the program starting at 9:30 a.m. in McKenna Hall. Stephen Ponzillo, director of Notre Dame’s TRiO Programs, will welcome participants, followed by comments from State Rep. Dale DeVon and a pre-recorded message from U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly.

The keynote speaker this year is Francis X. Taylor, who was vice president and chief security officer for General Electric Co. from 2005-13 and was responsible for overseeing GE’s global security operations and crisis management processes. Prior to joining GE, Taylor had a distinguished 35-year career in government service, most recently as the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security and director of the Office of Foreign Missions.

Following the speaker, participants will choose two of more than 20 breakout sessions designed to assist students in achieving their higher education goals before regrouping for a luncheon featuring TRiO alumni and an awards ceremony.

TRiO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. The programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. Since the 1960s, Notre Dame’s TRIO programs have served first generation and low-income students from the South Bend Community School Corp.

Contact: Debra Wisler, Upward Bound, 574-631-0558,

Originally published by Brittany Collins at on February 17, 2014.