Foundation awards more than $180,000 in scholarships

Posted on June 28, 2016

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County has announced more than $180,000 in scholarship awards for the 2016 season, and 18 of the 86 total recipients are first generation college students.

The favorite college of choice was SC4 with 15 students, followed closely by the University of Michigan with 14 students. Grand Valley State University jumped over Michigan State to become the 3rd most popular college of choice.

“This is an exciting time of year for our donors,” said Jackie Hanton, the Foundation’s vice president. “Our donors are strong advocates for post-secondary education and these scholarships help offset the growing burden of student debt.” 

St. Clair High School senior Alexis Smith received the Foundation’s most prestigious award.  She is a highly regarded swimmer from St. Clair and will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall where she will study biology.

She received three different scholarship awards from the Community Foundation, including the prestigious John F. & Rose Marie Wismer award, which will provide $20,000 in support over the next four years. John Wismer was an influential community leader and owner of Radio First. Smith will also receive the Catherine C. Gellein Scholarship and the James Wilhelm Memorial Scholarship.  Her total financial support from the Community Foundation is $23,050.

The Community Foundation manages 32 different scholarship funds and is the largest provider of scholarship support in eastern Michigan. In this round of scholarships the foundation provided 96 individual awards. 

The Community Foundation also has begun tracking scholarship recipients who are first generation college students, and this year 18 students indicated they would be the first in their family to attend college. 

“We’re very proud of that,” said Hanton. “Our donors are truly making a difference in the lives of these students.”

Among those first generation students is Marine City native Elizabeth Strand, who is now in her third year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Strand has received the Howard Acheson Memorial Fund Scholarship from the Community Foundation in each of the last three years.  She is studying biological engineering and expects to graduate in 2018.

View all 2016 scholarship recipients

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