LEAD Scholars Program

Two students in front of Parenzo wearing blue WSU shirts back to back with arms crossed.

A Message from the President | February 2, 2024

Dear Campus Community, 

Thank you for joining me yesterday for the 2024 State of the University address. We anticipate sharing a recording of the full event early next week. Today I reach out to share one important announcement from the address so our whole campus can celebrate this good news.

To better serve a diverse University community, we have transformed our Urban Education Program into the Leadership, Excellence, Achievement, Diversity Scholars Program, or LEAD. 

This name change not only reflects Westfield State’s 55-year legacy and founding vision of the Urban Education Program but also emphasizes the University’s dedication to cultivating excellence in all students, acknowledging their achievements, and celebrating the diversity that enriches the campus community. 

This transformation is aimed at empowering our young people and opening doors to more opportunities. The LEAD Scholars Program will enable our students to take the lead not only in the classroom but also within the campus community, their own communities, and beyond. 

As we embark on this transition to the LEAD Scholars Program, we want to reinforce our dedication to supporting first-generation college students, those eligible for the Pell Grant, and individuals from diverse backgrounds. We are excited about the possibilities this change brings and the continued impact it will have on our students’ lives.



Leadership, Excellence, Achievement, Diversity — Continuing the legacy since 1968

The LEAD Scholars Program, formerly known as the Urban Education Program, was founded in 1968 to provide college access, mentoring, and academic advising to students of color that may not have been afforded such opportunity considering the turbulent social climate.

Since then the LEAD Scholars Program has evolved to provide holistic support services to all students that self-identify as first-generation or demonstrate a financial need. The LEAD Scholars Program embraces a notion of an academic community enriched and enhanced by diversity along with varied ethnic and educational backgrounds. We are especially committed to increasing the representation of those populations that have been historically excluded from participating in an institution of higher learning.


The mission of the LEAD Scholars Program, formerly know as the Urban Education Program, is to provide college readiness and support for first-generation students that will improve individual performance and academic achievement. From its inception in 1968, the LEAD Scholars Program upholds the goals of enhancing and enriching the academic community by increasing the representation of diverse populations, championing inclusivity, empowering first-generation college students, and fostering academic excellence and leadership.

Next Steps to Apply to the LEAD Scholars Program

Take the next step and apply to the LEAD Scholars Program. Prospective students can express interest in the program by checking "yes" on Special Admission Opportunities in their application.

Start Your Application

There are two ways to apply.

Exciting News!

Westfield State University has the distinction of being the first chapter in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of Alpha Alpha Alpha, the honor society for first generation college students.

Alpha Alpha Alpha Honors Society Logo

Summer Bridge Program

Are you a first-generation college student (those whose parents do not have a four-year degree)? Are you interested in receiving ongoing academic support while attending Westfield State? Do you envision yourself as a future leader? Could you use an additional $2,000 during your first year of college?

If you answered YES to each question, then the LEAD Scholars Program is just for you!

Urban Education group photo in front of campus globe with students wearing blue tee shirts.

After The Summer Bridge Program Experience

We are not just a Summer Bridge Program. After matriculation, LEAD Scholars Program services continue throughout the student's educational career at Westfield State University. The LEAD Scholars Program provides holistic academic and personal support for each program student. We are dedicated to the growth of confident and capable individuals. We strongly encourage students to take full advantage of our program services once they have matriculated at Westfield State University.

After successful completion of the Summer Bridge Program students agree to the following:
  • Agreement to fully participate in the LEAD Scholars Program after matriculation.
  • Attendance at seminars, special events and scheduled advising sessions.
  • Attend bi-weekly meetings with an academic advisor for ongoing personal, academic and career advising.
  • Participation in program opportunities for leadership development and civic engagement.

Inactivity and/or failure to comply with program requirements, will result in withdrawal from the LEAD Scholars Program.

Looking to schedule an appointment with a current LEAD Scholars Program student or staff member?

Have questions? We're here for you.

Flowers in bloom in front of University hall

Contact us

LEAD Scholars Program
Parenzo Hall 155