Harper College

Achieving the Dream recognizes Harper among Leah Meyer Austin Award alumni

Dr. Avis Proctor and other community college leaders represent institutions that have won the Leah Meyer Austin Award from Achieving the Dream.

Achieving the Dream recently recognized institutions that have won the organization's top honor, the Leah Meyer Austin Award. Dr. Avis Proctor, Harper College president (center right, in blue), represented Harper among leaders from other winning institutions and Dr. Karen Stout, president and CEO of ATD (second from left).

Harper College was recently recognized as a member of an elite group: one of the institutions that has won Achieving the Dream’s Leah Meyer Austin Award. ATD, the national nonprofit dedicated to advancing community colleges as hubs of equity and mobility in their communities, honored all recipients of the organization’s highest honor on February 21 at its DREAM 2024 conference in Orlando, Florida.

ATD presented Harper with the Leah Meyer Austin Award in 2016, highlighting the college’s achievement in creating an institutional culture committed to closing equity gaps between student groups and increasing success for all constituents. Harper continues to excel. Since the college joined the ATD network of 300-plus colleges in 2009, Harper’s graduation rate has climbed from 12.9% to 46% (according to the most recent IPEDS data).

“We are proud to be honored among Leah Meyer Austin Award alumni, an esteemed and influential group of remarkable educational institutions,” said Dr. Avis Proctor, Harper College president. “This recognition from ATD underscores Harper’s unyielding dedication to fostering success for all students and celebrates the hard-fought efforts of our employees to remove barriers, close equity gaps and execute focused solutions in the name of progress for our students and in our communities.”

For 15 years, ATD has awarded its top honor annually, spotlighting colleges with “institutional strength, aligned policies and procedures, a student-focused culture and notable increases in student outcomes.” Harper earned Leader College status from ATD in 2013. The organization named Harper a Leader College of Distinction in 2020 and again in 2023 under increasingly stringent standards.

Last Updated: 3/14/24