When Ron Crumedy saw the success level of men compared to women at Galveston College, he knew he had to do something about it.
Success rates for women were deemed much higher than for men, Crumedy said. In 2014, 34 percent of the college’s employed graduates were male. Women accounted for 66 percent of the employed graduates, according to a college report.
Crumedy, the college’s director of financial aid, decided to come up with a program to give male students the tools they needed to be successful. In 2016, the perfect opportunity arose, he said. The school was given $100,000 from the TG Charley Wootan Grant Program, which would be used for sixteen two-year scholarships for men at the college.
“Having the TG Wootan grant was a godsend actually,” Crumedy said. “That became a great dovetail to piece it together.”
The men meet about once a month to learn skills they need to be successful, such as financial management and time management. They also have mentors, or coaches, to lead them and hold them accountable, Crumedy said.
Crumedy knew it was important to expand the program past the 16 scholars. He started the Male Success Initiative, which is led by the scholars but is open to all men at the college.
The initiative, which kicked off in early February, is a club that draws from many of the lessons learned in the TG Wootan program and is meant to help form a “support system” for the college’s male population, Crumedy said.
“When you notice that there’s a certain population that’s not as successful as the others, you want to find out what’s going on with them and why are they different,” Crumedy said.
Dontae Hightower, 20, is a TG Wootan scholar and a member of the Male Success Initiative. He said the programs have helped give him confidence in school.
“If I got accepted, maybe I’m doing better than I’m giving myself credit for,” Hightower said.
Deon Botha, Galveston College director of advising and counseling, said he knew he wanted to be involved in the programs in some way and became a coach for the men.
“It evolved into something I wanted to be part of,” Botha said. “There are so many students that struggle. You know it’s not just going to be making a difference in their lives, but also their family’s lives and also for their future.”
Crumedy also identifies with the program on a personal level, he said. He was a first-generation college student on financial aid, which he said has made leading the programs all the more rewarding.
“Not so long ago I was a student and I was in that situation,” Crumedy said. “I know how important it is to have resources you can connect with when you have those rough patches.”