Early on in his political career, Arthur O. Eve saw education as the path out of poverty and into equality – socially and economically. One of his first achievements after being elected to the Assembly in 1966 was to push through the SEEK/Educational Opportunity Program.
Now, as the program closes in on its 50th year with an estimated 50,000 graduates, Eve is getting more “concrete” recognition for his part in creating the program: The Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Center at 555 Ellicott St. will be dedicated Monday as part of the University at Buffalo’s downtown campus.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher gave her reasons for wanting Eve’s name on the new building in a resolution she presented to the SUNY board of trustees. It was unanimously approved May 7.
Zimpher describes Eve, who spent 36 years in the Assembly, as “a leading champion of educational and economic opportunity,” and noted that SUNY and its students “are deeply grateful to Arthur O. Eve for his civil rights leadership and enduring legacy in improving access to higher education in New York State.”
The State Legislature concurred with SUNY and formally congratulated its emeritus member.
In its commendation, the Legislature cited Eve’s efforts to obtain the initial funding for the Educational Opportunity Program, which provides counseling, academic support and financial aid to young adults “who show promise for succeeding in college,” giving them the extra boost that is missing from their lives. Most students are over 25 and attend college full-time.
The new center opened in June 2013, welcoming students in the heart of Eve’s former district. Its 68,000 square feet contains classrooms, computer labs and a library. The building, constructed by Savarino Companies, has a “living roof” and is LEED Gold certified. Instruction covers the health sciences, information technology and environmental industries, according to UB.
The training and support services are free to all eligible students. Anyone interested in applying or learning more about the programs can call 849-6727 or go online, eoc.buffalo.edu. This is one of 10 EOCs and two Counseling and Outreach Centers that are managed by SUNY’s University Center for Academic and Workforce Development.
In a news release, SUNY board of trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall said, “Arthur Eve championed the state’s education opportunity program in the 1960s, and as a result of his vision, the program continues to provide underprivileged youth with increased access to a college education and support to help them succeed in school, college and career.”
Former State Sen. Dale M. Volker, a Republican who often worked with Democrat Eve on behalf of Western New York, said he expects many of Eve’s former colleagues to attend Monday’s dedication, which will take place at the building at 11 a.m.
“It should be quite a reunion for us,” Volker said. “I am so happy they are doing something to recognize him for all he has done.”