Hamilton has received a $400,000 grant from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation of Auburn, N.Y., to use as seed funding for a new advising and learning program the College will launch in 2021-22.

The program, dubbed ALEX (an acronym for Advise, Learn, Experience), is a coordinated network of advisors tailored for each student’s academic success, career preparation, experiential learning, and personal growth. ALEX connects the dozens of programs and services available on campus in a purposeful way to help students maximize their Hamilton education — academically, socially, holistically — all with the goal of helping students succeed at college and when they graduate. 

“For many years, the Emerson Foundation has been an early supporter of imaginative new programs with the potential to significantly enhance student opportunities at Hamilton,” said President David Wippman. “The Emerson Scholars Program, launched in 1997, is one such example, and the ALEX program holds similar promise. We are grateful to the foundation for once again recognizing the potential in a program we believe will be a national model for student advising and support.”

Kathy Wolfe, Hamilton’s first dean of engaged education, was hired by the College last summer to develop, implement, and oversee the ALEX program. She was previously dean of undergraduate programs and professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University for 20 years, and was interim vice president in the office of Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

“We want to give Hamilton students, from the very start of their college careers,” Wolfe said, “support to explore in an intentional way how their talents, passions, and values intersect, in order to pursue a meaningful purpose. ALEX is an investment in advising consistency achieved through training, technology-assisted record-keeping and coordination, and communication.”

Although housed in the academic affairs division at Hamilton, ALEX will be a collaboration with career services and student affairs, and will coordinate the many advising, academic, and experiential resources and services available to students.

“We view ALEX as a system that demonstrates Hamilton’s commitment to providing access to advising and resources for all students, and supports our goal of providing a fully inclusive education,” Wolfe said.

The program launches formally in the fall of 2021, with the arrival of the Class of 2025, although ALEX advisors will begin working with students in the class even before fall semester courses start on August 26.

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