Jonathan Lidgus has high hopes for the SUCCEED program, now in its fifth year of existence at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
Since its founding, the two-year residential program has provided a way for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate in the university community, develop critical skills and enjoy a traditional college experience.
Lidgus, who led UMSL’s Office of Residential Life and Housing until two months ago when he accepted a new role as director of SUCCEED, recently spoke at length about the program with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s higher education reporter, Ashley Jost.
His enthusiasm, along with that of current SUCCEED students and parents quoted in the Post-Dispatch feature published earlier this week, is difficult to miss.
Lidgus discusses where the inclusive program is headed next as well as its defining characteristics, such as the variety of academic courses SUCCEED students take each semester, the full participation in extracurricular activities and shared campus living arrangements with other UMSL students.
“That is really the ultimate gold standard for what these programs are supposed to achieve,” Lidgus explains. “Many of the programs [nationwide] didn’t start that way but are working towards it.”
SUCCEED students including Andrew Holman and Alisha Lewis share their own comments and experiences with Jost and photographer Laurie Skrivan.