Family of Threshold Director Jim Wilbur contributes significant gift toward renovations
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Threshold Program was founded in 1982, by Lesley faculty member Arlyn Roffman, to serve young adults with learning disabilities and other special needs in an on-campus residential environment. Threshold alumni now number over 600 adults who spent two or three years on Lesley’s campus learning to live independently, develop rich social lives, and succeed in meaningful, fulfilling jobs.
Wilbur began his career at Threshold as Assistant Director in 1991 and became the Director in 2002.
During Saturday’s anniversary celebration Wilbur’s niece and her husband, Jenney and David Gillikin, announced a major gift towards Threshold campus renovations and the naming of one of Threshold’s three buildings as “The Wilbur House” after the family. The project includes significant upgrades in accessibility, improvements in outdoor spaces, the addition of an Alumni Center, and the renovation of the residence halls. The Gillikin’s contribution will go towards phase one of the renovations, and challenged other attendees to help make the rest of the project a reality.
“This project will make Threshold a national example for other colleges and universities to initiate similar programs to meet the needs of these many underserved students,” David Gillikin said. “In recognition of Jim’s incredible commitment to this program, and more specifically to the students, Jenney and I are proud to support this renovation.”
On the gift from his family, Wilbur said “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Jenney and David’s gift, which will enable our students to have a beautiful new place to live in.”
“The success of our graduates is astounding. Since 1991, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of leading the Threshold program along with our hardworking faculty and staff,” said Wilbur. “It’s so exciting to watch these young men and women arrive in Cambridge, scared and nervous, and watch them grow into independent adults. The wonderful part is how many stay in the area, so we can continue to watch them grow, lead productive lives, and become a valued part of the community.”
The 30th anniversary gala saw 500 people in attendance, including Secretary of Education Paul Reville, who read proclamations from Governor Deval Patrick to Threshold and to Jim Wilbur. Lesley University President Joseph Moore noted in his address that the community around Threshold has contributed significantly to the program’s success.
“It takes a diverse community to enable a program such as Threshold to deliver on its mission of education and independence,” said Moore. “Think about all the people who have supported this program for thirty years. Faculty, staff and administrators, a number of whom have spent most of their professional lives knowing and serving Threshold students; parents and family members; friends, board members, community members, volunteers and employers and so many more.”
“It wouldn’t be the program it is, in fact it wouldn’t have made it to thirty, without each of you and what you’ve contributed to the success of Threshold alumni,” Moore said.
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