MCC Daily Tribune

President's Wednesday Message

Last month, Harvard proudly announced that its most recent capital campaign raised almost $10B (yes, billion). Certainly, Harvard will put this $10B (yes, billion) to good use, but after reading this news, I wondered what even 1/10,000th of that could do to support community college students. I thought of a comment often repeated by Thomas Bailey, President of Teachers College, Columbia University: "Community colleges, which have the fewest resources, work with the students who face the greatest barriers to success." We know that public funding is not enough to support the excellent academic programs and impactful services that our students need and deserve. Yet, we also know that community colleges do not attract the level of philanthropy drawn to other higher education sectors.

The MCC Foundation is out to change this story, and in Robin and Tim Wentworth, 1980 MCC alumni, it has two remarkable and inspiring champions. On Monday, the Wentworths announced the largest gift in our College's history: $4M to expand the Wentworth Scholars program from 40 students to 100. One hundred students every year will have their MCC education funded thanks to their gift. Over the past few years, their family has given more than $6M to MCC, and their incredible philanthropy is matched by their dedication to mentoring and connecting to the students who benefit from their generosity.

The Wentworths' focus on scholarships is personal: Tim Wentworth was able to attend MCC thanks to an Eastman Kodak Scholarship, and he credits his experience at MCC with propelling him forward academically and professionally. Our students are incredibly lucky to have the support of Robin and Tim, but as the Wentworths shared throughout meetings earlier this week, they want to take luck out of the equation for MCC students. They are serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Every Bright Future Needs a Strong Foundation campaign to move us closer to a single goal: all students, regardless of financial need, will have the opportunity to attend and succeed at MCC.

The MCC Foundation has focused the $50M campaign, one of the largest for a community college, on scholarships and student support. Foundation staff, directors, and donors understand that our students struggle to pay not just for tuition but also fees, books, housing, food, child care, health care, and more. The data is clear and compelling: students who receive scholarships persist and graduate at higher rates. Giving to MCC has dramatically increased over the silent phase of the Every Bright Future campaign; annually, the Foundation now awards almost 900 scholarships worth over $1.4M. Still the demand for these funds far outpaces supply: each scholarship receives 3-4 applications. The need is growing.

My appreciation to the MCC Foundation for staking out a bold and ambitious goal that recognizes this need and is worthy of our amazing students. And, most importantly, my thanks, on behalf of MCC, to Robin and Tim Wentworth for their groundbreaking gift and to every donor who believes in our students and helps make their dreams of a college education a reality.

Please share your thoughts on the blog.

Kress, Anne
Office of the President
10/03/2018