Yale alumnus who founded College Summit honored for public service

A Yale alumnus who founded a program to help low-income students apply to college is the first recipient of the 2012 Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award, according to an announcement by the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), Students and Alumni of Yale (STAY), and the Jefferson Awards for Public Service.

J.B. Schramm ’86 received the 2012 Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award for establishing College Summit,” a program that identifies college-capable students in low-income areas and prepares them for the college admissions process.

Founded 18 years ago in the basement of a low-income housing development, College Summit was created in response to Schramm’s belief that attending college is transformational. He saw how college changed the lives of young people in the neighborhood, he says, and how peer influence pushed some students off the college path while spurring others to thrive. Since then, Schramm has grown College Summit; the program serves 50,000 students annually in 170 high schools in 12 states by partnering with high school principals, teachers, and the most influential students in lower-income communities to raise their college-going and success rates.

Schramm accepted the award at the annual Alumni Assembly LXXII. Yale President Richard Levin, Yale Vice President Linda Lorimer, and Jefferson Awards co-founder Sam Beard also attended.

Schramm’s selection was determined by a nine-person committee of Yale students and alumni. The selection committee evaluated each candidate on the basis of the depth, breadth, and scope of the individual’s public service contribution, while paying particular attention to the Yale resources brought to bear in the furtherance of this service.

Brandon Levin ’14, founding president of STAY and inaugural chair of the Yale-Jefferson Public Service Award selection committee, says that “J.B. epitomizes what we seek to distinguish with this first award: a sustained commitment to public service whose impact is substantial and widespread.”

Yale Vice President Linda Koch Lorimer echoed Levin’s sentiments, highlighting in particular “J.B.'s partnership with Yale and New Haven through the ‘Pathway to Promise’ program” as making him “especially deserving of this great honor.”

Schramm said, “My Yale education gave me opportunities unimaginable to members of my extended family, few of whom went to college. It’s a great honor for the university that opened so many doors for me to recognize College Summit, the organization that dramatically increases college-going and persistence rates for 50,000 students in New Haven and around the country by equipping the most influential students to take charge of getting themselves and their classmates to and through college.”

You can learn more about STAY — created to foster meaningful relationships between Yale students and Yale alumni — the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, and the Yale-Jefferson Award for Public Service on their respective websites. Schramm’s alumni award is one of three new awards for individual volunteer service. These awards will go yearly to a Yale undergraduate, to a student at one of Yale’s professional or graduate schools, and to an alumnus. The awards recognize individuals who inspire the Yale community through their innovative, outstanding, and sustained contributions in service to the greater good.