The Educational Opportunity Pilot Program (EOP) was approved by the Board of Trustees in late 1967 and was funded by the Lutheran Church in America, several private corporations, and some interested individuals.6 The program was under the direction of Dr. George Lee (Sociology). Six Black students were enrolled under the EOP during its first year, joining several others already enrolled. The students were selected from Philadelphia and Harlem, in part because of existing infrastructures in these respective cities: the Temple Opportunity Program (TOPS) and the Harlem College Assistance Program (HARCAP).
In the summer of 1968, the first EOP students arrived at Muhlenberg for a seven-week orientation program, one aimed at overcoming their “academic disadvantages.”
Even with the relative success of the program in its first year, a 1968 Weekly cover story addressed the work necessary to overcome the current low enrollment rate of Black students, not only at Muhlenberg but at peer institutions as well.7 Financial considerations continued to be cited as inhibiting recruitment and enrollment of Black students.
The EOP was not only continued but expanded in the second year, with the hope of its becoming a Lehigh Valley-wide initiative, but in the midst of the 1970-1971 academic year, the outside funding was lost and the program was discontinued.8 9 At its end, there were thirty-one Black students at Muhlenberg, twenty-three of whom had arrived thanks to the EOP. S