Michigan College Access Network Hosts Fifth Annual Conference, Announces Impact Awards

Six Outstanding College Access Advocates Receive Awards

LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan College Access Network held the fifth annual conference in Lansing and announced six outstanding college advocates from across the state on Sunday and Monday. The theme of this year’s conference was “Goal 2025: A Decade to Deliver”and focused on showcasing high-impact strategies and bold commitments toward increasing college attainment in Michigan.

“This event always helps us reignite a collaborative effort to increase college attainment levels,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. “Our community partners work with college access coordinators from across the state to participate in productive conversations. Together we’re working to develop new, innovative strategies and to meet our shared goals.”

New to this year’s conference as a celebration of MCAN’s fifth anniversary, was an awards dinner Sunday night that honored six outstanding college access advocates from across Michigan. The award recipients included:

The Compass Award – Governor Rick Snyder
The Compass Award recognizes those that advocate for postsecondary attainment. Gov. Snyder was honored for his increased support of higher education institutions and vocal philosophical commitment to increasing postsecondary attainment.

The Steward Award – Western Michigan University
The Steward Award recognizes those that have dramatically contributed to increasing the skills, talent and knowledge of college access professional in Michigan. MCAN selected Western as recipient of the Steward Award because of its leadership in supporting/facilitating MCAN’s counselor professional development course. Western also was the first institution in Michigan to implement the new counselor postsecondary planning training course.

The Cardinal Award – Ashley Johnson, executive director, Detroit College Access Network
The Cardinal Award recognizes those that rally communities by promoting campaigns that help create a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process. Ashley Johnson received the Cardinal Award due to her talent in focusing energy on coordinating services and advancing the college-going culture of her community.

The Beacon Award – Kresge Foundation
The Beacon Award recognizes those that strengthen success through partnerships. The Kresge Foundation earned MCAN’s Beacon Award through its philosophical and financial support of MCAN’s mission and activities.

The Flagship Award – Destination Education
The Flagship Award recognizes those that develop sustainable college access networks. Destination Education, a local college access network serving the communities of Holland and Zeeland, was selected as the recipient because of their strong leadership team and commitment to collective impact.

The Board of Directors Award – Superintendent Mike Flanagan
In honor of the inaugural awards to celebrate MCAN’s fifth anniversary, its board of directors saw fit to create a sixth award that they may present when the occasion arises but may not necessarily be a consistent offering. Michigan State Superintendent Mike Flanagan received the Board of Directors Award to honor his impending retirement and to thank him for his support of college access and the Big Goal – 60 percent by 2025.

The conference continued on Monday and featured keynote speakers Dr. Dane Claussen, on the key points about the history of higher education in the U.S., and Jeff Nelson, co-founder and CEO of OneGoal.


About Michigan College Access Network
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates in Michigan, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color.  For more information, visit
 www.micollegeaccess.org. You also can find MCAN on Facebook at www.facebook.com/micollegeaccess.


Media Contact: Lisa King, Consultant
Cell: 313-451-1387


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