Posse 1 students gathered for a group photo

Lehigh’s first cohort of Posse Scholars will be graduating in May. The 10 students, known as Posse 1, all hail from the Bay Area in California.

The scholars came to Lehigh as part of the Posse Foundation program, born in 1989 from a student’s comment that “I never would’ve dropped out of college if I’d had my posse with me.” The program operates with the idea that sending a small, diverse group of potentially overlooked students to college together to “back each other up” will increase their success — and help them make a positive impact on the schools they go to.

Identified as high school seniors, the scholars were selected to attend Lehigh as a 10-student cohort, or “posse.” The posse members got to know each other from January through August of their senior year, meeting weekly with Posse staff in their city for workshops to increase their readiness for college.

“One of the best parts of Posse has been the supportive force offered by the scholarship group: help acclimating to a different culture, one-on-one meetings with a Lehigh faculty mentor, and the career network and resources of the Posse Foundation.”

Kendall O’Farrell ’22
Earth and Environmental Science Major, Posse 1 Member

Each Posse Scholar received a full scholarship from Lehigh. During their first two years on campus, they met with a faculty mentor weekly as a group and individually every two weeks. Mentors are available to advise and guide until graduation, when a career program helps connect the scholars to professional development opportunities and jobs.

The national program, which has identified, recruited, and trained more than 10,000 students from 20-plus cities, has a graduation rate of 90 percent. Lehigh Posses 2, 3, and 4 — cohorts of 10 in the junior, sophomore, and freshman classes — are all going strong, and a fifth cohort was just admitted to the Class of 2026.