College celebrates funds raised

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

Allen County Community College exceeded its goal of raising $1 million by another $419,209.61 when its five-year “Million Dollar Gateway to Education Challenge Grant” campaign ended Sept. 30.
“I think that’s tremendous,” said State Sen. Derek Schmidt, keynote speaker at the ACCC Endowment Association luncheon Thursday.
He noted that Johnson County Community College had raised a similar amount of money — “but that’s to be expected in Johnson County,” he said. He praised Allen Countians for giving above and beyond expectations in a county with a small population and modest means.
“I might have a new idea for state budgets,” he quipped. “We’ll just abolish the Department of Revenue and put you guys in charge,” he told assembled donors.
The endowment association also welcomed three new scholarships.
Vicki and Gary Curry established the John Lugo Scholarship; the Herynk family, Joe, Jeff, Ann Donaldson and Angie Larson, established the Rollin and Rachel Herynk Family Scholarship; and Ginny Hawk founded the Eloise Maple Music Scholarship in honor of her mother, who played piano.
In all, 165 scholarships were awarded to deserving ACCC students. There are 170 named endowed scholarships at the college, said Director of Development Cindy Adams.
Adams noted the initial goal for the college had been just $350,000. The money was required to match a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2004. At the time, ACCC was the only community college in state so awarded.
The DOE gave the college five years to match the funds. The endowment board voted to raise the bar even more, aiming for a $1 million goal.
By January of 2007, the community had raised the required match. By the end of the five-year time frame, the $1 million mark was surpassed.
Unveiled at Thursday’s lunch was a plaque listing those who donated $500 or more to the campaign.
“During this campaign we’ve established 50 new endowed scholarships,” Adams said.
Adams noted the beauty of endowed scholarships is that only the interest portion of funds are spent, preserving the principal so that scholarships may be awarded in the future.

SCHMIDT spoke to the crowd of 250 about his own experience at Independence Community College.
“I am a community college product,” he said.
“Until 1986, ’87, I didn’t think I needed college.” Schmidt said he planned to become a farmer once he finished high school.
“My mom suggested I expand my options,” he said, “but I told her I had it under control.”
Schmidt, who did not have a farming background, had inherited 80 acres from his grandfather. He made a deal with his mother that he would farm — plus take classes at the local community college.
“I didn’t do very well at farming,” he said, “but I had a good year at ICC.
“It was a transformative experience,” he said, leading him on to further studies at the University of Kansas and to his current political career.
“What that year at community college gave me was the ability to see where I was heading, without giving up where I’d been.”
Schmidt told scholarship recipients that Kansas — and the world — no longer runs on “a cement mill economy” but has become “a brain economy,” where education is the key to success.