Scholarship reception smiles
A joyous occasion for students, donors
Laughs, stories and congratulations all around were exchanged during the 18th annual scholarship reception on Friday, October 23 at Clark College.
Students and their families were in attendance and joined by donors, faculty and staff – more than 200 people in all – on Clark’s main campus in the Gaiser Student Center.
Keith Koplan, a Clark College Foundation board member who has served in that capacity for 27 years, reflected on his past college experience at University of Washington where tuition was $81 a semester and he made $1.06 an hour working at J.C. Penney.
“Today, Washington colleges cost $4,500 per semester. You’d have to make $50 an hour to pay for your semester if you’re working,” Koplan said.
Clark College costs about $1,333 per quarter or $4,000 per year to attend.
“Clark is the best value for education in the state of Washington,” said Koplan, adding that when individuals tell him they “just go to Clark,” he’s always quick to correct their misconceptions that they are settling for a community college.
The audience applauded and many nodded in agreement. Sarah Swift is a shining example of how a community college encourages individuals to blossom. Home-schooled in her formative years, Swift began at Clark as a Running Start student and now is class president. An accomplished violinist, she performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during the event. Running Start is a state-funded mandate allowing high school students to take college courses that satisfy both high school and college requirements.
The scholarship event is the only formal chance for students to meet their respective donor during their collegiate career. Lisa Gibert, president/CEO of Clark College Foundation reminded students that their donors believe in them and want to see them succeed.
“Remember your donor’s face. They are cheering for you: ‘You can do this!'” she said.
Clark College President Robert K. Knight emphasized that the college and the donors will continue to support students who are serious about completing their goals.
“Show those who invested in you that you’re going to work hard and show them their investment was a wise one,” he said.
The foundation provided $750,000 in scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year.
“This is because generous and thoughtful individuals believe in Clark College and supporting student aspirations,” Gibert said.