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Project Success, founded by Dr. Robert T. Nash, began serving students in 1979. The program grew rapidly from serving six students in 1979 to 150 students in 1985. The program now serves approximately 320 students. Over the years the program has been in existence, hundreds of its students have graduated from UW Oshkosh or have transferred to another university and graduated.
Professor Robert T. Nash founded Project Success in 1979. His motivations for this came from his own experiences as a person with dyslexia. Dr. Nash had a difficult time throughout most of his kindergarten to high school experience in his hometown of Seattle, Washington, and barely graduated from high school. His teachers there never expected him to go on to college, let alone succeed there. But, through sheer determination and hard work, he earned a bachelors degree at the University of Seattle, a masters at the University of Wyoming and a doctorate in special education from Utah State University. (To earn his doctorate, he rewrote his dissertation 37 times!) He was hired at UW Oshkosh in 1973 on a one-year contract, but through hard work and determination, he was offered a tenure track position and later became a full professor in the special education department. While attending a meeting of the Upper Midwest Branch meeting of the Orton Dyslexia Society (now know as the International Dyslexia Association) he learned that he was dyslexic and that the problems he faced in his schooling were attributable to his poor reading and spelling skills which were the result of his dyslexia.
Upon receiving his tenure at UW Oshkosh in 1978, he asked the chancellor of the university for a small grant of $3000 to start a remedial/assistance program for college–aged students with dyslexia. His goal for these students was not merely to provide accommodations, but more importantly to help them become academically independent by using strategies to improve their reading and spelling levels. The program started with six students in fall of 1979, but it grew to 100 students by the fall of 1984 and it has continued to grow over the years.
Dr. Nash remained director of the program until 1999 when he left the university to work for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction training teachers across the state in his multisensory methodology. Later he taught at a correctional facility in Red Granite, Wisconsin. Although the program now provides a wider array of academic accommodations, the goal of helping students improve their reading, writing, mathematics and study skills to the point where they can become academically independent remains unchanged.