Mansfield Hall launched by alums Perry and Sean LaRoque


New path to college success

UW-Madison alums Perry and Sean LaRoque found Mansfield Hall, a living and learning community that helps students with diverse needs realize their goals

UW–Madison alumnus Perry LaRoque has spent much of his career finding new and innovative ways to help students with various forms of learning disabilities.

LaRoque has held a range of positions since earning his first of three degrees from the School of Education in 2000. He taught special education in K-12 public schools and served as a faculty member in higher education, most recently as an associate professor and the special education program director at Johnson State College in Vermont.

Mansfield Hall
Perry (left) and Sean LaRoque launched
Mansfield Hall in 2013.
But over the years, LaRoque — who also received a master’s (2004) and Ph.D. (2007) in special education from the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education — noticed how some really talented students were losing their way.

“In terms of services and opportunities, they’d get through high school — and then the sidewalk would sort of end,” says LaRoque.

So in the summer of 2013, LaRoque and his brother, Sean, launched Mansfield Hall, a college support program and residential living and learning community for students with disabilities who, with individualized support, have the potential to succeed in college. Sean also is a UW–Madison School of Edu- cation alumnus (BS, English education, 1991), with advanced degrees from the University of Arizona (MA educational psychology; Ph.D. school psychology).

In particular, Mansfield Hall is designed to support students with social communication challenges, executive functioning deficits, ADHD, learning disabilities, Asperger’s Syndrome, non-verbal learning disabilities, and mild autism. After starting with six students, Mansfield Hall today supports more than 100 between two programs — one housed in Madison and the other in Burlington, Vermont. Not only is there a waitlist, but Mansfield Hall is opening a third location in Eugene, Oregon, in 2020.

Mansfield Hall is dedicated to providing an authentic college experience and giving students the skills needed for a successful transition to adulthood. It does so by focusing on four core areas: learning; living; giving; and engaging. The brothers explain how Mansfield Hall’s academic directors, coaches, and writing specialists help students improve their academic and learning skills, while its student life directors and coordinators work with students to develop independent living skills. Similarly, social communication specialists hone social skills and improve social cognition, while the community outreach director works to connect students to civic opportunities and community events.

Perry LaRoque stresses that the Mansfield Hall team utilizes evidence-based programming and comprises highly-trained professionals, several from UW–Madison, with advanced degrees in special education, educational psychology, speech and language pathology, and counseling, among others.

Mansfield Hall’s Madison location at 141 West Gilman St. helps support about 40 students attending UW–Madison, Edgewood College, and Madison Area Technical College.

Mansfield Hall at Badgers game
Students from Mansfield Hall's Madison location build community and enjoy the full college experience by attending a
Badgers football game at Camp Randall Stadium.
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