The Center for Educational Opportunity (CeO) began in 1993 with the award of the federally-funded TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) grant. The SSS grant was first written by the School of Education Assistant Dean Walter Lane and awarded to the University of Wisconsin Madison by the United States Department of Education.
Dr. Brenda Pfaehler became the first director of the TRIO Student Support Services program at UW-Madison. Dr. Pfaehler was committed to providing equal opportunity and equity in education. She strongly believed that everyone can excel and created the initial SSS community that still serves as an example for the program today. Although Dr. Pfaehler passed away in 1996, her passion for student achievement continually fuels the staff’s desire to strive for excellence in serving students.
In 2009, the TRIO Student Support Services program was renamed the Center for Educational Opportunity. In 2015, CeO expanded the center again with the award of an additional federally-funded TRIO grant from the Department of Education, Student Support Services-STEM (SSS-STEM).