College of Education > About > Centers & Initiatives > Lift As You Climb > Our Purpose

Our Purpose

"And so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go, struggling and striving, and hoping that the buds and blossoms of our desires will burst into glorious fruition 'ere long."
- Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell (1865-1954) was a lifelong educator, leader in movements for women’s suffrage and educational and civil rights, founder of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), and a founding member the NAACP. “Lifting as we climb” was the motto of the NACW.

Lift seeks to build on legacies of struggle and determination, community, and hope like those of Terrell and countless educators who have led efforts to promote educational opportunity and human rights. In this spirit, we aspire to generate the kind of community and compassion that engenders change in the lives of all involved. Lift as You Climb provides a sense of community and a sense of purpose for College of Education students. It connects them with each other and the larger community to work toward change.

Provide more than mentorship

Lift is a leadership development program based on enriching and promoting the strengths and values of all participants. The Lift model–the development of collectives, small groups of committed participants–is designed to engage alumni, university students and community members, and organizations in various areas of interest toward a culminating community-based initiative.

Prepare future leaders for a changing educational landscape

Through leadership development seminars, discussions of the implications of identity in leadership, and support in developing and executing a culminating project, Lift connects participants through shared interests and an investment in creating more equitable and sustainable educational institutions and spaces.

Invest in the needs, values and priorities of underrepr​esented communities

Lift as You Climb personalizes leadership development through practical application and relationship-building. It expands and connects an engaged community of change agents, and is committed to inclusion, equitable opportunities/representation, individual and collective agency, and a shared dedication to social change through partnerships with community organizations and community members.