Monday, February 11, 2013

twenty years later

This year, on October 4th, 2013, the College will celebrate its 20th anniversary of the founding of the UAC-CP.  It's been nearly two decades that the College has provided higher education and services to the people of Bolivia's rural area.

Sr. Damon Nolan literally built the College with students.
Planning for the College dates back to 1990 when Sr. Damon Nolan, a Franciscan missionary, who had been living and working in the area of alternative adult education in the Yungas and later served as director of the Carmen Pampa high school, started talking with local people about the need to train young people from the rural area at the college level.

A college education, everyone believed, would not only help empower the families and communities of Bolivia's poor, rural area, but it would also give aspiring men and women control over their own destiny.

The initial planning for the College was a joint effort that involved the Cathlic University of Bolivia (which, to this day, provides academic accreditation for the UAC-CP), the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception based in Boston, the Diocese of Coroico, and the Villa Nilo Sub-Central (a local governing body of the indigenous Aymaran people).  The four groups were united over their shared concern about the lack of job opportunities for recent high school graduates and a need to have professionals from the rural area trained to seek solutions and address the problems of their people living in poverty. Building a college, everyone agreed, would be a way to dismantle barriers to education and lift people out of poverty. 

Pictured of initial construction of dormitories on Campus Manning.
When the College first opened its doors for classes in January 1994, 54 students were enrolled for basic technical training. Now, nearly 20 years later, the College has a current enrollment of approximately 700 students per year and offers five degrees--four of which are undergraduate degrees: Nursing, Agronomy, Veterinary Science, and Education. (Ecotourism is a 3-year technical degree). The College boasts more than 500 graduates and thesis students, approximately 20% of whom go on for continuing studies and about half of whom are women.

In less than 20 years, the College has become a vibrant catalyst for social and economic development. More than any awards or recognition, the work of UAC-CP graduates is proof of the College's success in implementing its mission.

The desks and periodic table have remained the same, but many different faces have come and gone.
This year, we look forward to looking back on the past. Recalling stories and news events and looking at old photos, we hope to both reminded and inspired of all that has been accomplished in 20 years. This kind of exercise will be important, as it can help us evaluate the mission, vision, and  outcomes of the College's work. As a result, it will serve as a foundation to help us dream and make plans for the College's future.

If you supported the beginning years of the College in some way (a volunteer, visitor, donor, etc.,) and have pictures and/or stories to share, please send them to

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