April 1, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Foundation’s Salute to Excellence showcases how scholarships transform the lives of students by enabling them to complete their educational goals and develop the professional skills they need to be successful in their careers.
This year, more than 156 scholarships totaling approximately $547,998 were awarded to 310 students, thanks to the generosity of donors who believe in the College’s mission of providing high-quality, affordable education. Nearly 400 people filled the dining hall at Presidential Caterers in Blue Bell on March 29, when scholarship recipients gathered to personally thank the donors and share their experiences with them.
For students like Lavinia Soliman of Harleysville, scholarships enable them to dedicate more time to their courses and allow them to participate in opportunities that help them to grow as students, leaders and responsible citizens. Soliman participates in the Honors Program, Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Anthropology and Archaeology Club and Environmental Sustainability Club. Additionally, she serves as a student representative for the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.
“Being able to stand with all of you tonight and thank you for your selfless acts of kindness is such an honor,” she told the audience. “Being awarded the BillieJoe Loeben Memorial Scholarship in Music and Art was my saving grace in a time of need, as I’m sure many scholarships are to other students like me. Your contribution makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of the people we go on to influence with our education.”
Lavinia Soliman. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
Soliman will graduate in May with an associate’s degree in Liberal Studies and plans to transfer to Bryn Mawr College and major in Peace, Conflict and Social Justice. Her goal is to work as an international aide.
Similarly, Wilfredo Montijo, Jr., of Norristown, who is enrolled in MCCC’s Medical Laboratory Technician program, spoke about the profound impact scholarships—Audrey W. Sally Howard Memorial, Bruce Gunsel and the Community Service scholarships—had on his life. With scholarship support, he could focus on his completing his education and developing his professional skills.
“To all of you, thank you for offering financial support to strangers like me that enables us to develop our skills through education, utilize our innate ability to serve and showcase our God-given talents that many of us may not have known we had,” he said. “. . . I implore you to continue your commitment, invest in someone’s hopes and dreams and enable them to make a difference in our community and in our world.”
Wilfredo Montijo, Jr. Photo by Sandi Yanisko
In addition to making a difference locally, MCCC and its students have a positive economic impact both countywide and statewide. According to MCCC’s 2014 graduate survey, 68 percent of alumni are employed in Montgomery County and 97 percent are employed in Pennsylvania.
“Lavinia and Wilfredo are fine examples of our many outstanding student scholarship recipients,” said Dolores Lare, who chairs the College’s Foundation Board of Directors. “Contributions to the College are investments in the future. Scholarships create a far-reaching ripple effect, improving the lives of students, their families and future generations.”
- Diane VanDyke