National TRIO Day 2014- TRIO Legacy

Dr. Deema de Silva

Deltha Q. Colvin, associate vice president for Campus Life and University Relations

The legacy acknowledgement is to offer a historical prospective of our success. The legacy of Dr. Deema de Silva is the rich depth of genuine support, leadership, academia, research, and scholarship. Dr. de Silva is a renowned international, regional, and local mentor of professional staff and students. A natural infinite leader her love of life is phenomenal.

Shukura Bakari-Cozart, executive director, Veterans Upward Bound

Dr. de Silva gave me my first professional TRIO job and started my career in higher education career. Her influence has been in the way she trained me as a professional, to look after students, look after the program and maintain an excellent work ethic.

Dr. de Silva impacted the students she served by implementing scholarships for them and maintain strong community support/donors to support those students. I believe she will have a lasting impact on the TRIO community.

Corinne Nilsen, executive director, Kansas Kids at GEAR UP

I began my first TRIO job under Dr. Deema de Silva at Student Support Services. Dr. de Silva introduced me to the family of TRIO at WSU and nationwide. She taught me about the regulations that go with federally funded grants and about annual performance reporting. She also provided me with my first grant writing experience. Her mentorship helped me to become the director I am today.

Dr. Deema de Silva is a very caring individual. She continually strives to look for funding opportunities for her students. She makes sure all SSS students receive the best advising possible. She trains her staff in many areas to make sure all SSS services are of the best quality.

Deema has stretched herself nationwide, by imparting her knowledge to local, regional, and national TRIO programs through conference presentations and trainings. Student programs in other countries have benefited from her knowledge through her worldwide conference presentations. Deema doesn't just talk about supporting TRIO, she backs up her belief in the programs with monetary support in the MAEOPP "Fair Share" campaign.

Larry Ramos, director, Talent Search

Deema is not only my mentor but a good friend. She has always looked out for my professional development and is truly interested in my personal well-being.

Vanessa Souriya-Mnirajd, assistant director, Kansas Kids at GEAR UP

Dr. de Silva inspired my career by showing me the most important contribution we can make in this life is to give back by helping others to achieve their goals. I remember as a graduate student, I shared with her that I wanted to work for Student Support Services. She looked at me and said that TRIO is not a place to make money but the reward is immeasurable and much appreciated. I knew then she was not motivated by money but a selfless act of love and passion. She has been a catalyst of helping SSS students to reach their potential. She is the reason my profession has become helping others to achieve their goals. Her steadfast support and guidance are the reasons for my success today. I am grateful for the opportunity she gave me.

She has made a positive difference in the quality of student life and success of multiple generations of students at Student Support Services Project. Her main priority has always been the student. She finds scholarship donors for students to reduce their financial burdens. She has established 10 endowed scholarships: Cornejo & Sons, Dr. Christine Thelen, Marion Hicks, Philip and Gloria Farha, Elenore Rudd, Marti Farha Ammar, Clark and Rowen Ahlberg, Dr. Harshini de Silva, Antoine Toubia, She has always made it her business to make sure SSS students receive the best assistance and care. So many students are successful because of Dr. de Silva.

Hercilia Thompson, administrative officer, WSU TRIO Programs

I have known Dr. Deema de Silva for over 30 years. Her work influenced me as a student to work diligently, complete assignments in a timely manner, talk to the professors, apply for scholarships, ask questions and study hard. As a professional she instilled me that people need to know who you are, where you work, need to be seen by attending WSU and Wichita community functions, make wise decisions by weighing pros and cons, don't be afraid to make presentations and training is a continuous activity.

Dr. de Silva has been a strong advocate not only for TRIO students but for all students, intercultural communication, diversity and much more.

Tahmina Trisha, ACT/SAT coordinator, Talent Search

I have known Dr. de Silva since I was about 19. She taught me so much about life. She showed me how rewarding it is to work for TRIO and taught me about professionalism, compassion, self-discipline, and enabled me to feel the absolute excitement of seeing students grow and succeed. I’ve learned a lot from Dr. de Silva just by observing her and being in her presence. I am thankful to her for all that she’s done for me.

I am so grateful to Student Support Services for all they’ve done for me. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am today without SSS; and, in my opinion, SSS wouldn't be as successful as it is without Dr. de Silva and her dedicated staff. Therefore, Dr. de Silva has made a lasting impact on TRIO through all of the students she has assisted.