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Foundation Board creates scholarship celebrating excellence

Foundation Board

Serving on the board of a nonprofit organization means keeping an eye on the future – developing policies and strategies to ensure sustainability for years to come.

While the GRCC Foundation’s board of directors excels at that task, members took steps this year that are making a life-changing difference to two current students.

The new Board of Directors Excellence Scholarship allows two students – one each from Kent and Ottawa counties – to attend GRCC tuition-free. The first recipients, nominated by their high school counselors, were Gabriel Gloria and Sophia Vincent.

“Foundation board members are always moved when they hear students sharing how a scholarship helped them overcome financial challenges and move forward with a life-changing education,” said Dr. Kathryn Mullins, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “We’re proud to offer this new opportunity and work with counselors in schools across our region.”

The scholarship pays both tuition and fees associated with registered classes. If other grants or scholarships are already covering those costs, $1,500 will be awarded each semester to cover books, transportation and other education-related expenses.

Dr. Jim Buzzitta, foundation board chair, said he and his fellow directors are always looking for new ways to help students.

“Even though tuition at GRCC is a bargain, many students still need help,” said Buzzitta, a Grand Rapids Junior College alumnus. “I’m proud of what the GRCC Foundation has done, but we will continue to work to make sure we can provide funding to all students who want to attend.”

Vincent, from Caledonia High School, is majoring in early childhood education. 

Gloria, from Jenison High School, is studying  finance and business administration at GRCC. For him, the new scholarship is key to keeping his college experience debt-free.

“I’m humbled and appreciative of the fact that my high school counselor felt that I was deserving of this prestigious award,” said Gloria, who plans to continue working part time at Meijer. “I was extremely excited and blown away by the generosity of this scholarship and what it will provide.”