Data indicate that out of the thirty-eight percent of the doctoral students who graduated in the United States, 24% are students of color. This case study examined the lived experiences of doctoral educational leadership alumni of a college in New York with an 88% graduation rate, 60% of which were students of color. The graduates of this program were consistently successful educational leaders. This study focused on three areas of the college’s graduate program: the process of selection, retention, and post-graduation success. It included document analysis as well as in-depth interviews with alumni, faculty, and administrators. Thirty-two alumni responded to the pre-survey, and eight alumni and three faculty/administrators were interviewed. Selection, retention, and post-graduate success had three significant themes each: a sense of belonging, faculty-administration support, and self-motivation and purpose. The selection was holistic – prospective students were interviewed to evaluate their purpose and ability to work cooperatively, and standardized tests were not a key factor. A list of recommendations to make a graduate program successful is presented.
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