Friday, 10 April 2020 18:30

RichmondCC Gala raises more than $100K for scholarships

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State Sen. Tom McInnis speaks during the annual Gala after being named the Foundation's Citizen of the Year. State Sen. Tom McInnis speaks during the annual Gala after being named the Foundation's Citizen of the Year. RichmondCC

HAMLET — Richmond Community College’s annual Gala raised a record amount of money for student scholarships thanks to the generous support of those who attended the fundraiser on March 7 and other stakeholders.

The RichmondCC Foundation raised $127,666.95 through Gala ticket sales, sponsors and pledges. Sen. Tom McInnis, the Foundation’s Citizen of the Year and the honorary guest at the Gala, set the tone early at the function by announcing two new endowed scholarships that he and his family members were establishing.

The Lawrence L. McInnis Entrepreneurial Endowed Scholarship will be for those students in a curriculum program that leads to a business degree or those students working toward owning their own business. Along with the senator, this scholarship was endowed by L.L. McInnis’ sons, Michael and Richard, and their families.

The Trenton Lewis Wood Memorial Endowed Scholarship will be for those students in the Human Services Technology program. This scholarship was endowed by the senator and his wife, Janice Russell McInnis, and their families.

Sen. McInnis then made an announcement that he and several other donors were establishing a third scholarship in honor of RichmondCC’s president, Dr. Dale McInnis. In an unprecedented format, the senator, who is also a licensed auctioneer, opened up the scholarship for “bidding” from additional donors. The audience responded in kind and began making bids, or pledges, toward the scholarship. By the time the auction came to a close, nearly $60,000 was raised for the Dr. William “Dale” McInnis Presidential Scholarship.

“While I was greatly honored to be named the Citizen of the Year by the Richmond Community College Foundation, the Gala was not about me. It was and is about those individuals who need a hand up and not a hand out,” Sen. McInnis said. “The scholarship money that we raised that night will go a long way to help the folks who need an industry or business specific skill set in order to obtain employment and a better wage. I am honored to have been a small part of the very big picture whereby the greatness of our community was showcased.”

J.C. Lamm, who was the Foundation’s Citizen of the Year two years ago, and Kenneth and Claudia Robinette were the other originators for the presidential scholarship.

“This year’s Gala was supposed to be a recognition of Tom’s efforts on behalf of our college, so I was surprised by this new scholarship in my name,” Dr. McInnis said. “It is a high honor, and I deeply appreciate the overwhelming investment in our students. Our college is truly blessed to have so many great friends and supporters.”

The Gala is the Foundation’s largest fundraising event of the year. Money raised from the event is used to support scholarships and other college programs and services. Because of the Gala and other fundraisers, the Foundation awarded a total of $320,426 in institutional scholarships to 302 students during the 2018-2019 academic year.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity displayed during this year’s Gala. The amount of money that was raised is unprecedented for RichmondCC.  I want to thank Sen. Tom McInnis and his family for the two endowed scholarships and for being key with the start of the Dr. Dale McInnis Scholarship. These will help countless future RichmondCC students,” said Dr. Hal Shuler, who oversees the Foundation. “I also want to thank Mr. J.C. Lamm, who planted the seed to begin a scholarship in honor of Dr. McInnis, and with his persistence, made it a reality.

“A big thank you to all of our Foundation Board members, Trustee Board members, and corporate sponsors who attended and gave from their hearts. This year’s Gala definitely made a difference for the students in our region,” Shuler added.