Obtaining a post-secondary education is a big accomplishment, but it can also be a challenging journey for many. In addition to their academic demands, many students experience unexpected life events that can add a whole new level of difficulty to the process. Many high performing students at local Pierce College have been faced with these unexpected challenges and have been forced to make tough decisions that often directly impact their education. Can you imagine having to make impossible choices like: Rent or tuition? Dinner or daycare? Textbooks or hospital bills?
The Student Success Campaign
As a member of the Pierce College Foundation Board of Directors, I’m involved in an effort to help these students in need called the Pierce College Student Success Campaign. This $3.3 million fundraising campaign focuses solely on ensuring the success of high performing students faced with trying life challenges. Donations to the Student Success Campaign come from a variety of advocates, including alumni, faculty, staff, community members and local grant sources.
The Foundation and Campaign at Work
As an early example of the success of this campaign, I can share a story about a recent nursing school graduate. She was abandoned by her husband in the middle of the academic term, suddenly making her a single mother. Because her classes took place in the evenings, she needed childcare in order to attend. With her change in circumstances, she was unable to afford the necessary childcare. The Foundation stepped in to pay for her childcare for the rest of the term, allowing her to attend all of her classes and eventually graduate with honors. Because of success stories like this one, which have greatly benefited the lives of its students, Pierce College was recently recognized as one of the top five community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute.
In addition to its efforts to support the Student Success Campaign, the Pierce College Foundation hosts several different fundraising events throughout the year, including a golf tournament which will be held this year on August 15th, 2019. Click here for more information and/or to register: https://www.pierce.ctc.edu/foundation-events. The Foundation also hosts a Distinguished Alumni dinner where supporters and advocates can make donations to support student scholarships and other important student services.
Pierce College focuses on enabling students to achieve their academic goals and broaden their futures, with the hope that they’ll give back to their communities. Pierce College alumni have gone on to contribute to the South Sound community in incredible ways. One good example is Victoria Woodards, the current Mayor of Tacoma, who is a Pierce College distinguished alum.
More than 60% of the student body at Pierce College is made up of first-generation college students who may have had to beat the odds just to get where they are. This is one of the many reasons the Foundation works so hard to ensure that all students have the tools necessary to succeed. Many students go on to attend four year colleges in the area, with the majority transferring to UW Tacoma, while others go directly into working in their field of study.
I’m proud to serve on the steering committee for the Student Success Campaign, on the Foundations’ board of directors and on its finance committee. I believe strongly that the success of our community depends on having a motivated, educated workforce, and Pierce College is helping to close the hiring gap for many businesses in our region. It’s really gratifying to serve and support the college and to watch our students go on to become leaders in the South Sound and beyond.
Please click here for more information about the Pierce College Foundation and the Student Success Campaign: https://www.pierce.ctc.edu/foundation. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Thank you!