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55,000 Degrees Urging College Graduates to 'Pass the Cap'

Thursday April 24, 2014

Mayor Fischer, Madeline Abramson leading effort to
inspire future graduates

55,000 Degrees, Louisville’s education movement, is recruiting the 2014 class of college graduates for an important job – to inspire friends and loved ones to earn a college degree.

The “Pass The Cap” campaign is calling on soon-to-be college graduates to pass their graduation cap onto someone they believe can earn a college degree.

Mayor Greg Fischer, chairman of 55,000 Degrees, and Madeline Abramson, a long-time community leader who earned her college degree just a few months ago, are leading the inspirational effort. Universities and colleges throughout the area are joining in, contacting graduating seniors and encouraging them to “Pass The Cap.”

“We believe there’s no better way to cap off a personal success than to inspire someone else to earn their college degree,” Mayor Fischer said. “That’s how we will reach our 55,000-degree goal – one degree at a time.”

The idea is simple – if you will graduate in May, find someone to “Pass The Cap” to in order to inspire another graduate. Give your graduation cap to someone who you believe can earn a college degree. It might be a sibling, a parent, a friend or a neighbor. It may be an adult learner preparing to return to the classroom, someone who is on track to earn a diploma or someone who just didn’t finish the college journey.

Abramson, wife of Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, earned her bachelor’s degree in December – more than two decades after she first attended college. Part of the inspiration to finish what she started came from her husband and her son, Sidney, who will graduate from Bellarmine University in May.

“Passing the cap – literally or figuratively – to someone else is a tremendous, motivational gift,” Abramson said. “It says, ‘I believe in you and I know you can do it.’”

Here’s how “Pass The Cap” works:

Choose someone

· Let a person know you will give your graduation cap to them after you cross the stage because you believe they can earn a diploma, too.

Tell everyone

· Post an inspirational message on our Facebook page (facebook.com/55kdegrees)

· Post a Tweet and picture on Twitter (#passthecap, @55kDegrees)

· Post a “Pass The Cap” video tribute on YouTube

· Post a picture on Instagram (#passthecap, @55kDegrees)

“The passing of the cap represents the passing of the baton,” said Mary Gwen Wheeler, 55,000 Degrees executive director. “There’s no better time to inspire someone to literally walk in your footsteps than after walking across a stage and receiving a diploma. A degree increases a person’s earning power and opens the door to new opportunities.”

55,000 Degrees is the ambitious initiative to add 55,000 more college graduates in the Louisville area by 2020. In 2013, Louisville had the highest percentage of working-age adults with a college degree in the community’s history at 41.3 percent. The city exceeded the national average (39.4 percent) by nearly 2 percentage points.



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