PROFILE: Phillip Cathey
Date: July 23, 2001
As Director of Upward Bound, Summertime is Full Speed
By: Dawn Fuller
Photo by Dottie Stover
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: Profiles Archive
Phillip Cathey has dedicated his 25-year career at UC to reaching out to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and showing them how they can make their dreams come true. Cathey, a first generation college student, is director of UC's Upward Bound program, one of the oldest such programs in the nation. Cathey and his staff work with high school students from Cincinnati Public and Princeton schools to improve their chances of achieving a college degree.
The success of UC's Upward Bound led to a $1.76 million four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as a Special Recognition Award last year for Cathey and his staff from Cincinnati's Applause! Magazine.
Raised in the inner city of Newark, New Jersey, Cathey was the first in his family to go to college. "I knew I would have to work two jobs to make the money to go to college. I worked at the post office, and I worked for a machine operation factory. At my first job on campus, I was making 50 cents an hour. My (Upward Bound) kids find that hard to believe now."
Cathey graduated from Virginia State College and attended graduate school at UC on a Danforth Fellowship. He began his UC career as an academic counselor in 1975 in Student Support Services, a sister program to Upward Bound. Occasionally he taught history at UC, and became director of Upward Bound in 1994.
The summer break is no break for Upward Bound as the program always launches an intensive six-week summer session in which the students stay in dorms on campus and get up early for classes in math, French, biology, calculus and chemistry. Half of the students in the summer program work part-time jobs. Senior high school students in the separate summer bridge program can take up to two college courses. Cathey and his staff are academic coaches to more than 100 teenagers each year.
"Upward Bound has pointed students in the right direction," says Cathey. "From their freshman to senior year, I see them gaining more confidence in their academic ability, in their decision-making skills and in establishing new goals for themselves."
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