Span Plan is over 40 years old
Former and current Purdue administrators, staff, alumni and students attended the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Span Plan Adult Student Services on November 6, 2008. As the crowd gathered in the lobby of Schleman Hall, many current and former Span Plan students welcomed the opportunity to share, sometimes tearfully, their “Span Plan” stories with one another.
The event moved into the conference room and Sandy Monroe, Assistant Vice President for Student Services, and Betty Nelson, Dean of Students Emerita, told the moving story of Span Plan’s beginnings and its evolution over these last 40 years.
The crowd listened intently to the inspiring stories of Helen Schleman, Cecelia Zissis, and Peg Sullivan and each of their contributions to the creation, foundation, and growth of the Span Plan Program. Each of these women, in their own way, was a visionary trailblazer, clearing the path and leveling the playing field for adult students at Purdue.
The program began 40 years ago under the direction of Helen Schleman. What began as a support service for spouses of adult students, encouraging them to also go to college, has evolved into a program with a wide array of services to meet the changing needs of the adult students of Purdue. On average, there are about 3000 adult students registered during the fall and spring semesters. Between 300 and 400 of them take advantage of the services offered by Span Plan.
Span Plan administers grants for part time adult students every semester and has awarded approximately 3000 grants to about 2000 students since 1972. More recently, Span Plan developed scholarship programs as well. Span Plan has awarded more than $650,000 in grants and scholarships.
While many think of Span Plan as a funding source for adult students, the program offers far more. Its cornerstone is founded on providing attention to individual student needs. The audience at the celebration heard two touching testimonials from adult students: Brett Larsen, B.S. 2006 and L. Allison Roberts, current student in Liberal Arts, whose lives and families were transformed as a direct result of their meeting with Span Plan counselors.
A quote from a former Span Plan Student summarizes this so well, “Having a place I feel comfortable running to, whenever I have a question or a dilemma, is the main reason why I think so highly of the Span Plan Program and it’s staff.”
The event was capped when state representative Sheila Klinker presented a framed certificate from the Indiana General Assembly commemorating Span Plan’s 40th Anniversary of assisting and encouraging adult nontraditional students at Purdue.
Feel free to review the remarks from Sandy Monroe, assistant vice president for student services delineating the history of Span Plan and Betty Nelson, Dean of Students Emerita reviewing the importance and impact of Span Plan for the last 40 years.