Trini Mendenhall

Students Name Mendenhall Their Dream Keeper

Trini MendenhallThe Mendenhall Summer Institute at the University of St. Thomas closes the gap between high school and college for recent high school graduates. The five-week program, finishing its sixth run, helps incoming freshmen adjust to the rigors and challenges of college life. The program started in 2008 with a generous gift from Trini Mendenhall. During a celebration luncheon on Aug.1, the 45 students recognized Mendenhall-Sosa as their keeper of dreams as they aspire to graduate from St. Thomas in 2017. The cohort surprised her with a time capsule box for all the support she has given the students, presented by Brittany Bigott. “I decided to decorate the time capsule with pictures of our program so Mrs. Mendenhall could feel like we are all involved,” Bigott said. “In four-year time, when we all graduate, she is allowed to open up the capsule and read the letters we wrote with all of our goals and hopes for our college experience. It it's a way to keep her in our lives as our dream keeper.” The Summer Institute, held from July 9 through Aug. 8, offered two separate tracks and allowed the students to earn six college credit hours, in addition to having an opportunity to earn a grant for tuition at UST. 2013 Mendenhall Summer Institute Dr. Ric Montelongo, director of student success, said the Mendenhall Summer Institute combines a rigorous summer curriculum with personal development strategies to make college more meaningful. He helps students find balance between exploring new leadership opportunities and focusing on academic aspirations. “I found that students who participated in the program leave with a strong sense of knowing what it takes to succeed in the college classroom,” Montelongo said. “They also leave with a strong sense of self-confidence to face challenges both in and out of the classroom. This self-confidence, I believe, is the driving force that makes Mendenhallers strong campus leaders.” Bigott, Garcia and Loos-Polk look forward to what the upcoming year has to bring with the MSI 2013 experience under their belt. “I was blessed to have been in this program,” Garcia said. “I feel more confident. Incoming freshman should participate Mendenhall.”