The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s PEOPLE (Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence) program will recognize 121 PEOPLE high school scholars for their outstanding accomplishments on Friday, July 20, at the Marriott West Conference Center in Middleton. The annual R.I.S.E. (Reflect. Inspire. Succeed. Evolve.) Recognition Luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m.

“As the PEOPLE program approaches 20 years of operation, we’re refine-tuning a concept that has made PEOPLE one of the premiere talent development initiatives in the nation,” says Cheryl Gittens, UW-Madison Interim Assistant Vice-Provost in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement, in a statement. “We’re very proud of how this iteration of the Wisconsin Idea – in which the advances of the university reaches and enhances the entire state – has evolved successfully. But most importantly, we’re celebrating the legacy of students who are prepared to rise from the pre-college preparation phase to applying for and entering college.”

PEOPLE Elite Scholars 2017 at last year’s PEOPLE Banquet

In addition to celebrating the rising high school seniors, who will officially apply for admission to the University of Wisconsin- Madison this coming year, the annual PEOPLE R.I.S.E. Recognition Luncheon will welcome the incoming freshman class of PEOPLE College Scholars. More than 100 PEOPLE high school scholars get accepted at UW-Madison annually, making them eligible for a four-year tuition scholarship.

“Our base of support from educators, educational agencies, Wisconsin alumni and donors is equally broad and we work hard to earn that confidence,” Gittens said in a press release. “Our annual celebration for PEOPLE and our other campus diversity programs are proud moments when we pass the torch to the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change agents in our community.”

One of the most successful long-term diversity pipelines to higher education in the nation, the purpose of PEOPLE is primarily to prepare students to successfully attend and graduate from UW System schools, as the program changes and grows, there is a broader effect of seeding diversity at UW-Madison and its graduate programs, as well as expanding diversity of all kinds within the Wisconsin core of alumni. The PEOPLE program serves more than 1,000 students annually and has raised the number of historically under-represented applicants accepted to UW-Madison by more than 100 each year.

“Each graduate who succeeds in discovering their career path and their role in building our society, and hopefully our state, reaffirms the goal the university is meant to achieve for residents of Wisconsin and the world,” Gittens said.