Photo Caption: Front row, left to right: Rachel Bourland and Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. Back row, left to right: Mariolive Landon-Scalf, Barry White, Columbia State Foundation chair and Shaun Crist.
(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Sept. 10, 2014) - - - Scholarship recipients and donors came together at a luncheon hosted by the Columbia State Community College Foundation.
“Our scholarship donors were able to meet the students,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State’s executive for advancement. “The donors were able to see their contributions at work within the lives of the students and were inspired by who they are and what they will become.”
Barry White, Columbia State Foundation chair, spoke to the students about working hard and taking care of the gifts that have been given to them. He explained that with their ambition and the opportunity provided by the foundation, they can achieve anything.
“It is so rewarding to be part of a group that helps to provide those opportunities,” White said. “These are people that the students don’t know…All they are asking is that the students use the gifts provided by the foundation to achieve as much as they want and take advantage of the opportunities so they are able to pay it forward someday.”
Chosen to share their stories, three scholarship recipients personally thanked the donors for providing the scholarships so that students can live out their dreams.
Rachel Bourland, a sophomore nursing major and first-generation college student from Chapel Hill, credited the kindness and helpfulness of nurses as the inspiration for her career choice. She explained that she has wanted to be a nurse since middle school when she watched a family member suffer from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“Without the donors, students would not have the opportunity to pursue a higher education,” Bourland said. “I personally know that college expenses can be worrisome for students. It’s difficult to focus on school when you’re worried about whether or not you can attend.”
Shaun Crist, a sophomore economics major from Nunnelly, spoke to the rising costs of tuition and the need for many students to take out loans in order to pay for their education. He thanked the donors, explaining that many of the recipients are able to come to school because of their generosity.
“Imagine if those scholarships didn’t exist, Crist said. “Imagine how much tougher things would be on everybody in this society. We can’t thank you enough.”
Mariolive Landon-Scalf, a non-traditional pre-allied health major from Lewisburg, is a full-time single mom of two young girls. She commented that she has to be strong and independent to set the example for her daughters, explaining that she is grateful for the scholarships because it lessens her financial burdens.
“I truly appreciate each and every donor for everything they do for the students,” Landon-Scalf said. “Thank you isn’t enough, because when you have two little ones, it’s that much harder. That’s more drive I have to have, and I am here today because of all of this.”
Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, delivered closing remarks, commenting that each of the donors has made a difference in someone’s life.
“To me, one of the greatest things we can do is help change a life somewhere along the way,” Smith said. “Our students are made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds. They work hard, they do well, and they go on to succeed. Their lives have changed because Columbia State, the foundation, the community and the donors exist.”
Smith also acknowledged that financial need is becoming bigger for college students and thanked the donors for their contributions, calling their gifts an investment in human life.
“You can never say thank you enough,” Smith remarked. “These words make us better people because we recognize that we cannot stand alone. We recognize that we need others to help move us forward.”
Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.
Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at tncommunitycolleges.org.
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