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I PROMISE Program Celebrates First Four-Year College Graduate

Image of Anthony Claytor
  • I Promise
I PROMISE scholar Anthony Claytor recently became the first I PROMISE scholar to graduate from a four-year university. Claytor, 21, earned an undergraduate degree last month from Kent State. He majored in criminology and justice studies with a minor in sociology. Claytor was a student in the program’s inaugural class of third-graders, not that his road to success was a solid, straight line. At times, Claytor felt discouraged. Yet he was driven to succeed. “If I don’t keep going,” he recently explained, “I’m not going to become a successful person.” On Tuesday, his perseverance earned him social props from a local king. Akron native LeBron James wrote on Twitter: “CONGRATULATIONS, ANTHONY!!!! SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! The LeBron James Family Foundation’s I PROMISE program was created to close the achievement gap for at-risk students by providing educational opportunities and resources for youths and their families. The hope is that others will follow Claytor’s example. Claytor wants to one day work for the federal government. “If it wasn’t for the LeBron James Family Foundation,” Claytor said, “I don’t know if I would have gone to college. I don’t know where I would be.” In 2020, Kent State President Todd Diacon announced to a group of high school juniors and their families that his institution would cover four years of tuition costs and one year of room and board. I PROMISE scholar in Akron, Ohio, Anthony Claytor, 21, graduated early from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in criminology and justice studies and a minor in sociology. He later attended Kent State on an I PROMISE scholarship. Claytor said Toni “Tyga” Montgomery, the director of Strategy, Culture and Operations at the I PROMISE Institute, helped him adjust to living on the university’s campus. “Being on campus was pretty hard at the time, but she guided me through it,” Claytor said. “She definitely made a lasting impact.” This spring, 45 I PROMISE scholars were enrolled at Kent State. Overall, 74 scholars were pursuing college degrees this spring at a variety of institutions.
  • Kent State University