Travella Free has been named the new executive director of Elon University’s Center for Access and Success and will begin the role July 1. 

Free comes to Elon after five years at Kentucky State University, where she led the state’s 4-H youth organization. 

The Center for Access and Success helps students from all backgrounds gain access to higher education and succeed academically, according to its website. The center serves both the university and surrounding communities, from pre-K students to adults, through its initiatives such as the It Takes a Village Project, Elon Academy, Odyssey Program and First-Generation Student Support Services. 

Paul Miller, associate provost for academic excellence and operations, said recently retired Jean Rattigan-Rohr advanced the center greatly, leaving it in a strong place for Free to take over. 

“She definitely has exhibited not only an interest but a passion for supporting students and student learning,” Miller said. “Helping students position themselves to be able to take advantage of education and higher education.” 

He believes Free will be able to lead the already established group into its next phase. 

“I think all those characteristics and qualities align with the already established successful trajectory of the Center for Access and Success,” Miller said.

Like Miller, Director of the Elon Academy John Pickett wrote in an email to Elon News Networkthat he is thrilled Free is stepping into this role. 

“I have great confidence that she is the right person to lead the support of the Center’s impactful initiatives,” Pickett wrote. 

Miller thanked the search committee and asked his colleagues to join him in welcoming Free to the university in an email to faculty and staff June 29. 

“Dr. Free brings to the role a passion for student success and for ensuring students can tap into the power of higher education,” Miller wrote.