Sylvester Center a new home for academic success

ribbon cutting
President Kevin Ross, Jayne Malfitano, Laura Sylvester and Christine E. Lynn at the ribbon-cutting for the new Sylvester Center.

The new location of the Sylvester Center at the Institute for Achievement and Learning is at the center of academic activity on campus. Located in the Louis and Anne Green Center for the Expressive Arts, the new space keeps students close to the library, classrooms and the Elmore Dining Commons.

“The new positioning and design is great. The openness and clear direction of each particular department makes the institute easy to navigate.”

Zachary Umansky ’15

The Sylvester Center enhances students’ learning experiences through custom-designed spaces for writing, math, tutoring, testing and collaboration. It also offers private offices for individualized coaching where students are able to learn in a more intimate setting.

“We are able to create work areas where students have the ability to work individually, one-on-one or in groups with a tutor,” said Shaun Exsteen, executive director.

Coaches, tutors and administrators help students understand their unique learning styles through a range of interactive services. Making weekly goals, applying learned strategies to schoolwork, and enhancing organization and time management, students form a personalized, growing set of skills useful in both academic and professional environments.

“Our Institute for Achievement and Learning has helped students meet their goals for the past 24 years,” said Lynn President Kevin M. Ross. “We are grateful to the Sylvester Foundation for its support in our mission to empower students with learning differences to make the most of their strengths and become independent learners.”

Master’s and doctoral-level professionals offer a variety of tutoring options to help students comprehend class material; build relationships for group projects; focus on writing, speaking and organizational elements; and foster independence.

“The writing center is the most helpful place,” said sophomore Benjamin Hirschman. “You can just walk in and get help, no appointment necessary. [And] every single teacher cares about every student. Sometimes I feel as if my friend is teaching, because the professors are so friendly and approachable.”

This innovative space was made possible by a $1 million gift from the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation. Lynn hosted a dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting Dec. 2, 2015, to recognize the Sylvester family’s donation.

Jayne Malfitano, president of the Sylvester Foundation, said, “We want to thank the dedicated team of tutors, coaches and support staff who work with the students every day.”

Students studying

Why it’s innovative

Lynn’s Institute for Achievement and Learning has provided academic support to students with learning differences since 1991, and it continues to innovate today.

  • The faculty uses software programs such as NaturallySpeaking, Kurzweil and Inspiration to guide students and supplement teaching styles.
  • Off-campus programs during January Term and the summer introduce students to international cultures, experiential learning and service.
  • The Diagnostic Center for Educational Assessment offers psychoeducational, gift and neuropsychological testing.
  • As an Apple Distinguished School, Lynn’s iPad-powered approach makes content-sharing and learning applications more accessible.
“Our support was driven by the center’s ability to create an environment that strengthens learning competencies and capacities, allowing all students to develop and build foundations for academic and

Jayne Malfitano, Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation president

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