Scott knows the difference student support makes

Posted July 08, 2013

Randy Scott Sr. remembers how it felt to have his life turned upside down. More than 30 years ago, he was the beneficiary of Abilene Christian University’s nurturing campus environment when he faced considerable challenges to resuming his work on a college degree.

ACU also helped him back on the basketball court, where he starred as one of the Wildcats’ best-ever centers and helped lead the 1979-80 men’s team to a 27-5 record and the second round of the NAIA national tournament.

Scott, who is 6 feet 10 inches tall, suffered traumatic injuries in a serious automobile accident in July 1978 following a junior year in which he was named first team all-conference and averaged 11.6 rebounds per game, the best any Wildcat has recorded in the 36 years since.

The accident left him – among other injuries – with a shattered right leg requiring major surgery and a year of rehabilitation to learn to walk again. He focused on returning to classes and reclaiming his athletic skills, but also learned he had dyslexia.

With the assistance of ACU’s Alpha Scholars program, Scott re-enrolled and completed his intercollegiate athletics career in 1980, then finished a Bachelor of Applied Studies degree in 1997.

Today, he is in a role allowing him to help other students who find themselves in challenging circumstances.

Alpha Scholars, which includes Student Support Services (SSS) and Disability Support Services (DSS), was integral to Scott’s success as a student. It is part of TRIO, a federally funded outreach and student service program designed to provide academic services to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO defines the disadvantaged as low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.

Scott is now an Abilene-based TRIO advisor, part of the Educational Talent Search organization that helps disadvantaged youth graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education. He knows firsthand the hardships many of ACU’s TRIO students face.

“I enjoy working with Abilene Independent School District students and the community of the Big Country,” says Scott. “For me, success is a daily issue. I take joy in directing others toward the goals of higher education and servanthood.” He is president-elect for the Texas Association of Student Support Services Programs (TASSSP), the state organization for TRIO staff in Texas.

ACU offers four of TRIO’s eight programs: Alpha Scholars, Educational Talent Search, McNair Scholars and Upward Bound. They assist students from middle-school to post-baccalaureate levels by providing disadvantaged students an opportunity to excel academically and receive assistance from professionals who help them achieve their academic goals.

More than 1,200 colleges, universities and agencies offer TRIO programs, which were authorized by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Learn more about ACU’s TRIO programs


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