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A Message from David Allyn, CEO


It is an exciting time to be CEO of The Oliver Scholars Program. After more than 30 years, Oliver has over 1,200 graduates spread across the globe, bringing the benefits of their independent school educations to communities far and wide. Oliver ensures that New York’s highest-achieving African-American and Latino students have the opportunity to study at top schools – and simultaneously ensures that top schools profit from the presence of high-achieving African-American and Latino students on their campuses.

As an independent school alumnus and parent myself, I believe deeply in the value of a nurturing, challenging school environment where young people are encouraged to question, create, and strive for greatness. For a motivated young person, there is nothing like the one-on-one attention and intellectual ethos of a top independent school.

I also believe deeply in the value of diversity in the classroom. There is a difference between studying Othello in an all-white environment and with students of various backgrounds. Likewise, there is a difference between discussing an issue like immigration reform with classmates whose grandparents were born in the U.S. and doing so with those whose parents don’t speak English.

At Oliver, we have doubled down on our determination to provide equity and access for students. In 2015, we greatly expanded and enhanced our programming:

  • We expanded our Fall-Term and Spring-Term classes to give our students the academic edge they need to excel in 9th grade. 
  • We co-sponsored, with the National Partnership for Educational Access, a symposium on educational reform, “Charter Schools and Independent Schools: An Opportunity for Dialogue?” at the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Midtown.
  • We introduced a Social Justice Summer Institute, with full scholarships for Oliver students.
  • We substantially grew SIP-III, our summer program for students in high school.
  • We reorganized and professionalized our staffing to better serve students. We hired a new Recruitment and Admissions Manager and created a College Guidance office with a new Assistant Director for College Support.
  • We conducted a year of strategic planning to explore ways Oliver can serve even more students in the future.

With two Oliver alumni now serving on the Board of Trustees and a raft of events planned for the coming year, Oliver is poised to follow the lead of our scholars and take the world by storm. I hope you will consider offering your time and experience as an Oliver Mentor. Or coming to the office to speak to Oliver students one afternoon about your own educational and career path. Or attending one of our fall receptions.

An investment in the education of an Oliver Scholar is an investment with a long-term dividend.  As our society becomes increasingly diverse and multiracial, we need leaders who have the background to understand the complexity of global problems and the creativity to devise innovative solutions.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to make a significant contribution this year. For $1,000 you can underwrite the costs of guiding a student through the independent school application process. For $10,000, you can provide a named scholarship to enable a student to complete the Oliver preparatory program. For $25,000, you can underwrite our college tour program. These are just some of the ways you can support the work of Oliver.

Thank you, and I encourage you to reach out and share your thoughts, ideas, questions, and feedback.


David Allyn