Miami University President Dr. Gregory Crawford and Sue Sepela, executive director of the TRIO program on campus discuss the program winning a philanthropy grant Friday in Hamilton.

Miami University program that helps students with debt awarded grant

The first-ever Giving Circle grant was also awarded to a special organization at Miami University.

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The Hamilton Community Foundation, Fairfield Community Foundation, Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty, Middletown Community Foundation and Oxford Community Foundation joined forces with the Butler County Development Roundtable to put on the event.

Butler County Development Roundtable President Frances Sack announced that the $1,000 Giving Circle grant was being awarded to Miami University’s TRIO program.

She said it was an honor to award the funding to a program designed to help eligible students graduate on schedule with the lowest amount of financial debt.

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Sue Sepela, TRIO executive director, said the money will go towards helping students chip away at their expenses.

“With the grant we are going to buy boxes from Shared Harvest (a food bank) to support our students so they don’t have to decide between buying a textbook or buying groceries,” Sepela said.

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Miami University President Dr. Gregory Crawford was the keynote speaker for the event. He and his wife, Dr. Renate Crawford, have bicycled across the country to raise awareness and $2 million for research on Niemann-Pick Type C Disease, a rare and deadly neurodegenerative disease.

Crawford said he was proud to be in a room full of people who care about others and was happy that the TRIO program was awarded the first ever Giving Circle grant.

“We are so proud of Sue’s accomplishment today and she does great work and outreach,” Crawford said. “It show’s Miami’s big heart and that the university wants to reach out to help those students who need it the most.”

He added that, “it was great to be here among all of these people who want to give back to humanity.”

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