Noted philanthropist Oprah Winfrey visited Boston College on Aug. 2 to meet seven graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) who recently studied at BC as part of a summer enrichment program.
Oprah’s visit, a surprise for the students from South Africa, involved a personal meet-and-greet with the world-famous author and talk show host, and University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.
OWLAG was founded by Oprah in 2007 to provide an education to economically disadvantaged South African women in grades 8-12. The students selected for the enrichment program were chosen based on their acceptance at colleges in the United States. During their visit, which lasted from July 23 to Aug. 3, the students worked with BC faculty and student groups on campus to prepare for a future as college students in America. This summer marks the first time BC has hosted such a program, and BC is the only U.S. college or university to host an enrichment program for OWLAG alumni.
Joy Haywood Moore, BC ’81, has spearheaded the development of the initiative. She is a leader at the academy, and serves BC as director of stewardship and donor relations in the Office of University Advancement.
“[Moore] developed the idea of a pre-college experience to help the students begin to acclimate to their new environment and culture,” according to a recent release from the Office of News and Public Affairs.
“The BC/OWLAG Summer Experience is designed to help the students get a ‘jump start’ on how to navigate an American university,” Moore said. “This is an important initiative because the first few months of university life-academic and social-for freshmen are crucial to their success in the first year, especially international students.”