In celebration of scholarship and philanthropy, the College’s Foundation recognized more than 300 donors, students and their families during its annual Salute to Excellence dinner on Nov. 30. A total of 158 students received $177,739 from 78 scholarship funds for the 2011-2012 academic year — the most in the Foundation’s history.
Students Brian Gallie and Michelle Hamilton set the tone for the evening by sharing their stories and expressing their thanks to the donors in attendance.
“Thank you for making a difference in lives of so many students,” said Gallie, recipient of the Pottstown Industrial Complex Scholarship. “Each one of you is a piece of the puzzle that is beginning the development of future doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, dental hygienist, teachers, and even business owners. Each one of you, are a step to our future – to many students, each one of you is a hero.”
Gallie will graduate in May 2012 with an associate’s degree in Political Science and has already been accepted to Temple University. He hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and to attend law school.
“Without the help of generous people like you, paying for my education would have been a great struggle,” Gallie told the dinner attendees. “It inspires me to know that you care about my future and the future of all of the other students here tonight.”
Thirty seven-year-old single parent Michelle Hamilton and Nursing major also shared her story during the event.
“I’ve always had the desire to further my education, but I was unsure of the direction I wanted to take,” she said. “After some time and research, I made the decision to pursue a degree in Nursing with a specialty in anesthesia. Before enrolling, I had to change my full- time status which resulted in a decrease of income. Taking a pay cut was a tough pill to swallow, but I knew it was necessary to fully dedicate myself to my education.”
Recipient of the Wells Fargo Bank Scholarship, Hamilton works part-time as a lab assistant with Albert Einstein Health Care Network, and she home-schools her 15-year-old daughter.
“My most desired goal in life is to affect change in other people’s lives, edify, and contribute positively to my family and community. An education is a great start to put myself in a position to help others, whether it’s on the home front, the workforce, or in the community,” she said. “Affecting change in people’s lives is what the Wells Fargo scholarship program and the Foundation here at the community college has done for me and others by softening the financial blows that must be endured.”
At the conclusion of the event, College President Dr. Karen A. Stout challenged students to complete their degrees and to “pay it forward.”
“When you leave us to go on to bigger and better things, remember to give back. Give back to your community college, but also give back to your community and world,” she said. “Make a commitment tonight to pay it forward.”
Dr. Stout challenged donors in attendance to become ambassadors for the College.
“Use your influence. Talk about Montgomery County Community College. Help us to build the network of philanthropy that’s so important to our success,” she said. “Commit to supporting us by being an ambassador to our cause.”
~ by Alana J. Mauger