"It all started with community college," says Walter Reese, Controller at Nucor Steel Seattle, when describing the success of his three children, Amber, Ryan, and Ashley, who all attended community college and now enjoy rewarding careers. "My dad had gone to Harbor College in Los Angeles, before transferring to the University of Southern California and becoming a pharmacist," Walter says. And, it was this familiarity with community colleges led Walter to encourage his children to attend community college, and why he led his employer, Nucor Steel, to make scholarship gifts to the South Seattle Community College Foundation.
Amber, Walter's eldest daughter had a lifelong interest in cooking and followed her passion through studying Culinary Arts at South Seattle Community College. Walter was proud of Amber for conquering the demanding curriculum. "It really gave her self-confidence and sense of accomplishment," he says. Her degree from South was a valuable asset when she entered the workforce, and Amber now works as the general manager for Jak's restaurant in West Seattle; she continues to stay in touch with South, often calling faculty and former classmates to recommend potential employees and interns.
Walter recalls that his other daughter, Ashley, wanted more of a challenge than the regular high school curriculum offered. So, she started taking classes at a community college while she was still in high school through the Running Start program. After completing her associate's degree at a community college, she then transferred to University of Washington and earned a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism.
Walter wants to emphasize that community college students can also enjoy the rich student life experience that is often associated with four-year residential colleges. Ashley played competitive fast-pitch softball for the community college team and continued her passion for sports by working for the World Cup in South Africa. She also joined a sorority at University of Washington and "fit right in."
Ryan, Walter's son, also found a "traditional college experience" as the president of his fraternity at Eastern Washington University, where he transferred after receiving his A.A. degree from a community college. Walter says "community college was good for Ryan as it gave him a chance to learn more about himself and his talents." Ryan earned a bachelor's degree in information technology and now works for the World Famous, Pike Place Fish Market.
An enthusiastic advocate for community colleges, Walter says that "community colleges serve as a great bridge from high school to the future." He cites affordability, convenient locales and practical experience as key reasons why his family chose community colleges. "We got the biggest and right bang for our buck, and it worked incredibly well for my entire family."
Ed and Eva Gordon shared a lifelong commitment to education and generously gave scholarships and personal support to hundreds of students so they could fulfill their dreams. The Gordons' personally experienced the impact that encouragement and financial resources made in pursuing education, and they spent decades providing this support to students.
Eva was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon and graduated at the top of her class in high school. After graduation, she worked as a legal secretary and eventually moved to Seattle to work for an investment firm. Eva had a successful career, although she regrets not being able to afford college. "If I had a scholarship when I got out of school, I could have done so much more," she says.
Edwin (Ed) also found that support was vital to his educational journey. Growing up in Texas, it was Ed's aunt that encouraged him to pursue higher education. Thanks to her support, he enrolled at Southern Methodist University to study business. Ed worked for a construction firm while in school to help pay for college.
Ed also found his education valuable – especially when World War II began. He enlisted in the Navy, and thanks to his college degree, he was able to become a pilot and flew patrol bombers during World War II and the Korean War. Eva recalls that Ed's degree made a significant difference in the Navy, "If he hadn't had a college education, he wouldn't have been able to become a pilot," Eva remembers.
After serving his country, Ed settled in Seattle where he met Eva. The two married in 1964 and Ed worked as a stock broker until he retired in 1986. During this time, Ed and Eva taught courses at the McNeil Corrections Center. Ed would deliver curriculum on business practices, while Eva led the group in warm-up exercises.
She remembers feeling a little nervous when she began teaching, but was quickly impressed by the group's energy and warmth. "It was a real eye-opener," she said. "Everyone stood up to welcome us and I was just speechless."
Their belief in the importance of education was something that Ed and Eva shared and the two first began supporting community colleges by attending dinners put on by the Culinary Arts students. Ed and Eva were inspired by the hands-on training opportunities students were receiving, and they wanted to support them by establishing scholarships. Ed and Eva first began supporting scholarships through the South Seattle Community College Foundation in the early 1990s and have continued to give students the gift of education ever since.
"Ed thoroughly believed that young people must have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams through education," Eva says. She shared his belief along with the important role that community colleges play. "It is important for young people to have education and not all of them can afford to attend a university."
More than 100 students have already been helped by these scholarships, and many of have stayed in touch with the Gordons' over the years. One of the first scholarship recipients continues to write letters to Eva, and another comes over for Thanksgiving dinner and decorates the Gordon house for the holidays.
In addition to the generous annual gifts, Ed and Eva also remembered the college in their estate plans. When Ed passed away in 2008, the South Seattle Community College Foundation established the Ed and Eva Gordon Fund for Opportunity, which is the largest fund to date. "This will brighten the lives of the many students," Eva says. "Ed believed that everyone should have access to education. His highest hope, and one that I share, is that this gift will allow all students to fulfill their dreams."
In recognition for more than 30 years of support for South Seattle Community College, the college is honoring the Huling family, of West Seattle, in the naming of an expanded and remodeled automotive technology training facility.
The trustees of the Seattle Community Colleges will name the facility the Steve and Sharon Huling Automotive Center. The new center will ensure that students work with tools and equipment that closely match current industry standards.
"We deeply appreciate the Hulings for their generous, long-time support for the college," said Jill Wakefield, Chancellor of the Seattle Community Colleges and former South President. "Their on-going partnership with the college has resulted in nearly $2 million in equipment, funds and other support, which has advanced and improved the training opportunities for our automotive students."
The remodeled automotive center will have shop bays to accommodate 27 vehicles, compared to the current 18, said Jean Hernandez, South Interim President, and have eight classrooms, five of which will be adjacent to shops. The center will have a 24% increase in space to 45,590 square feet, allowing the college to serve an additional 80 students. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
The Huling family's generosity toward the college has included donating more than $200,000 worth of vehicles and equipment for automotive training, said Elizabeth Pluhta, Executive Director of Advancement and Foundation. Steve Huling also encouraged employees from his former auto dealerships to serve as short-term instructors at South, she said, helping students know the real working world, and has provided student internships at his dealerships that often led to full-time employment. He also was a sponsor in the General Motors Marketing Internship program.
Under Huling's leadership the Huling Bros. Auto Center was honored with the Better Business Bureau Customer Service award in 2001, and South was pleased to be part of the support for that recognition, Pluhta said. The auto center also received the national Automobile Education Award from Northwood University in 2003, and was selected as Washington State's 2004 TIME Magazine Quality Dealer.
Steve Huling has served on the board of directors of South's foundation from 1991 to 1996, and is a current member of the President's Advisory Council at South. Huling and his brother Tom were named South's Benefactor of the Year in 1987. They launched an annual golf tournament in conjunction with Thrifty Car Rental, which raised nearly $500,000 for the college foundation until 2007 when they sold their automotive businesses.
Sharon Huling also is active in community support. In West Seattle she was capital campaign chair for Holy Rosary Church in 2005 - 07, and has been a board member of the Southwest Historical Society and the Log House Museum. In the wider community she has had leadership roles with the Seattle Art Museum, Lakeside School and On The Boards.
Here is a sample of the many letters of support, from college and community, that led to the naming decision.
Like so many good friends of the college, Elmer and Joan Lindseth were introduced to South by our former president Jerry Brockey. President Brockey’s enthusiasm for the community college mission was deep and vast, and dozens of Seattle’s leaders were drawn in by his infectious commitment.
Elmer and Joan are also quick to point our that they didn’t need much persuasion – they had always been passionate about education. As Elmer puts it, “I see college education as the key to good jobs. We have to provide ways for our young people to find family-wage careers. Education will create those opportunities in manufacturing, service and high-tech sectors.”
He also is concerned about America’s position in the international marketplace. “China and India are becoming global leaders in manufacturing and technology. We have to invest in education if we want to stay competitive and for there to be good jobs for our children and grandchildren. Community colleges are an important part of the answer.”
Trained as a mechanical engineer at the University of Washington, after graduation Elmer went to work at one of Bethlehem Steel’s two mills here in West Seattle. He stayed there his entire career, eventually advancing to become the executive manager of the facility.
Elmer emphasizes that education completely changed his life. He and his parents were immigrants from Norway. He would not have had opportunity if it had not been for the GI Bill paying his way to college. He believes that the GI Bill may have been one of the greatest expressions of the American spirit; it opened up education to so many people. For Elmer, the bill resulted in a good income and job. But more importantly, it gave him a way to see and think about the things around him. His education provided a way to understand, analyze and appreciate life and events in an intelligent way.
Joan grew up in Oregon and got her first job working for Northern Life Insurance in Portland. She later transferred to the company’s Seattle office. A friend who worked at Bethlehem introduced her to Elmer, and they married in six months. Joan continued her career for four years after Elmer retired; eventually she became manager of the Northern Life’s Seattle operations.
Joan tells us she was influenced by her mother, who was a school teacher and a great promoter of education. Like Elmer and her mother, Joan also believes that education is the most important preparation for life. It enables you to do great things and to influence people.
Elmer and Joan give generously to the South Seattle Community College Foundation. They have established two scholarship endowments that will provide opportunities in perpetuity for deserving students to receive college educations. More recently they established a charitable gift annuity that offers them a secure lifetime income; the funds remaining after their lifetime will support the Foundation’s work on behalf of students.
Growing up in the West Seattle area, Mary Anne has fond memories of coming to South Seattle Community College with her family to eat at the Culinary Arts Center. Little did she know that South would eventually open the door for her to work at one of the world's most well-known companies.
An excellent student, who especially enjoyed studying art and science, Mary Anne enrolled in St. John's College in New Mexico after graduating from her Seattle-area high school. While in college Mary Anne gave birth to a son, who is now fourteen years old, and put her education on hold to be a full-time mother.
When she returned to work, she met a businessman who served as a mentor and motivated her to return to college. "He didn't just tell me I should go back to school," she said. "He said that I owe it to myself to be successful and that I deserve success."
His encouragement inspired Mary Anne to enroll at South Seattle Community College. At first she was a little hesitant after being out of school for some time, but quickly found that South welcomed her with open arms. "South makes it easy for anyone to start there, and the atmosphere is really encouraging."
Mary Anne entered the college transfer program at South and began working towards her associate's degree. "I remember telling myself if I just take it one step at a time I can get my A.A degree." She says this thought, and her instructors, motivated her through the challenge of attending school and raising her son as a single parent. "Everyone was very supportive and there was always someone there for me to talk to," she remembers.
In 1996, Mary Anne graduated from South with her A.A. degree and then transferred to the University of Washington, where once again she was touched by the help of a mentor.
At first attending the UW seemed a bit overwhelming, but an old friend from South eagerly helped Mary Anne prepare for UW and gave her some tips to succeeding there. Mary Anne must have quickly found the keys to success because she landed a job offer from Microsoft several months before graduating cum laude with her bachelor's of science in computer engineering. "Never in a million years did I think I would be working at Microsoft."
Mary Anne has spent the last five years at Microsoft. She currently works as a test engineer for customer relationship management software. In her role she tests software for bugs and errors before it's ready to be sold. "I really like the scientific aspect of testing," she says.
Now, Mary Anne wants to follow in the footsteps of those who helped her achieve her goals by doing the same for others. She serves as a mentor for two new employees at Microsoft and has been involved with supporting students at South Seattle Community College for several years. Scholarships provided by the South Seattle Community College Foundation meant a lot to Mary Anne as she worked towards completing her degree at South. Wanting to provide this same opportunity for other students, Mary Anne has generously donated to the Adopt-A-Student scholarship program. Her gifts have provided several students with scholarships for a full-year of tuition. In addition, Mary Anne offers to serve as a mentor for these students and shares her story with other South students at various events.
"Graduates like Mary Anne inspire other students to achieve their goals," says South Seattle Community College President Dr. Jill Wakefield. "It lets them know that the community cares enough to invest in them and that they, too, can succeed."
For Mary Anne, giving back not only helps others, but it is also personally rewarding. "It feels really good to help others who are facing a situation similar to mine," Mary Anne says. "And I hope they will be able to learn from me and my experiences."
The nearly 700 members of the Bayview Golf Club do more than play golf; they work to provide young people access to opportunities, both in golf and in life. The club's commitment to local youth began with their Junior Golf program, which provided golf instruction, equipment and tee times for kids. The philosophy of equal access has since evolved into the Bayview Golf Club Memorial Scholarship for students at South Seattle Community College.
"The purpose of the Junior Golf program was to break down barriers between golf and the community," says Bayview President Scott McCullum. "It can be difficult for local kids to play golf because of the cost, and because many are intimidated by the formal atmosphere of the game." Club members embraced the program by donating their time, while past Bayview Officers Bill Coghill, Mike Joyce and Steve Nash operated raffles and collected equipment and donations.
"It was a great program," says former Junior Golf participant and current Bayview director Andrew Coghill. "It not only gave me a chance to get involved in a sport, but there were lots of adults around that served as role models, which helped me mature."
In 1994, changes in management within Seattle Golf necessitated closure of the Junior Golf program at the West Seattle Golf Course. Nonetheless, Bayview was still very much committed to young people in the community, and had a surplus of funds from Junior Golf, so the decision was made to create a scholarship program.
Bayview partnered with South Seattle Community College, another local organization that provides opportunity to youth, and the Bayview Golf Club Memorial Scholarship program was born. The club's vision was to not only offer a one-time scholarship, but instead establish a program that would be viable for future generations. Since then, over ten years ago, the program has annually awarded a full-year of tuition to one local high school student who has shown academic excellence and commitment to the community.
Since the inception of the program, the Bayview Memorial tournament, which is open to the public, has become the largest fundraiser and most popular event surrounding the scholarship. This tournament actually began when Bayview Captain Mike Shoemaker created the Coghill Memorial tournament to honor former Bayview Secretary Angus Coghill. Over the years, however the tournament was renamed to honor all officers who have passed on, such as Dick Hill, Don Brentsen, Greg Cramer, Jack Hathaway, and other club members who contributed since 1940.
Bayview members past and present have dedicated many hours to fundraising and support to the Bayview Golf Club Memorial Scholarship. They encourage donations from all members, operate the Bayview Memorial tournament annually, and throughout the year explore other fundraising options. Also, the Bayview newsletter always features updates about the scholarship and student recipients to keep the program top of mind on the club's agenda.
To Andrew Coghill, who experienced Bayview's commitment to youth firsthand, and to current President Scott McCullum, funding this scholarship is a way to honor friends and carry on the club's commitments beyond golf.
"Raising money for this scholarship will be a cornerstone of the Bayview golf club for a long, long time," Scott says. Thanks to members' dedication, young people in the community will have access to opportunities that will help them achieve their goals and contribute in our community for years to come.
Nancy was born in Hannibal, Missouri and moved the Washington State at the great old age of two.
She graduated from Edmonds High School and went on to the University of Washington.
As World War II got underway, Nancy felt she had to do something to help the war effort so she put her college education on hold and went to work at Boeing.
The war work turned into a career and Nancy remained at Boeing for 34 years.
Later, after taking early retirement, Nancy pursued her other interests ---gardening and travel.
“I was invited to South Seattle Community College by Helen Sutton (a Foundation Board member) around 1995,” says Nancy. “I got an appreciation for how much the college does to help others and I felt I needed to support their work. Education is so important. With a good education you can do so much more for yourself and others.”
Nancy always regretted having completed only two years of college so in 1995 she established the Anna C. Mason Scholarship Fund, in honor of her mother. At the same time, the Anna C. Mason Garden was started as part of an ongoing effort to complete an arboretum that would serve as a learning laboratory for the college landscape students.
Nancy also plans to help the college through a significant bequest in her will.