Baltimore Education Advocate Van Brooks to Address Incoming Freshmen at Stevenson’s Convocation, August 25

August 16, 2016 7 AM

Stevenson University will celebrate the start of the 2016-2017 academic year and welcome new students and their families during its annual Convocation, Thursday, August 25, at 4 p.m. in the Owings Mills Campus Gymnasium. This year’s event will feature a keynote by Baltimore-born education advocate Van Brooks, founder of Safe Alternative Foundation for Education (SAFE).

Brooks was born and raised in West Baltimore and attended Father Charles Hall Elementary School and Loyola Blakefield for middle and high school. In 2004, when he was a junior in high school, Brooks’ life as he knew it changed forever. While making a routine tackle during a football game, he suffered a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Yet Brooks did not let this injury define his life. Instead, he went on to make a miraculous recovery, which included graduating from high school on time, earning a degree from Towson University, and taking a few steps on his own.

After graduating from Towson University in 2012, Brooks founded Safe Alternative Foundation for Education (SAFE) with the mission of informing youth about the importance of obtaining an education as well as developing an alternate career plan in anticipation of life’s changes and deviations. To help implement this mission, in October 2015, Brooks opened the SAFE Center youth facility. At the SAFE Center, students receive the opportunity to participate in hands-on after-school, weekend, and summer learning opportunities. Along his journey, Brooks became the youngest Living Legends Award recipient. He has received both the Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama and Loyola Blakefield’s inaugural Men for Others Award.

Stevenson’s Convocation brings together all members of the University community—from new and returning students and their families to faculty, administrators, and staff—to celebrate the beginning of the new academic year. This is a particularly exciting fall as SU opens its largest academic building for classes for the first time. Stevenson’s new, state-of-the-art Academic Center will provide resources for the School of the Sciences and the new School of Health Professions as well as additional space for the School of Design.

The renovated building will more than triple the amount of space currently available to the programs within the School of the Sciences and School of Health Professions. The 200,000-square-foot building also will include a Learning Commons in which all students are welcome. The entire University will benefit from the Academic Center, which will address critical classroom, laboratory, studio, and faculty office space needs that result from our continuing to enroll such outstanding students as those in the Class of 2020.