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Hancock Foundation to Award Record Number of Scholarships

A record number of scholarships will be awarded to students at the annual Allan Hancock College Foundation Scholarship Awards reception, 2 p.m. Thursday, May 25, in Joe White Memorial Gymnasium on the college’s Santa Maria campus.

Gabriel Nava, right, winner of last year’s Marian Hancock Scholarship appears with Kevin G. Walthers, Hancock superintendent/president. Click to view larger
Gabriel Nava, right, winner of last year’s Marian Hancock Scholarship appears with Kevin G. Walthers, Hancock superintendent/president.

Some 1,000 students, relatives, friends, donors and community members are expected to attend.

The 466 scholarships range from $250-$10,000. They will be awarded to 391 students, thanks to the generosity of more than 200 donors from throughout the community. The scholarships total more than $500,000.

“The reception recognizes students for their academic achievements, and honors the donors for their financial support,” said Toni McCracken, the foundation’s scholarship program coordinator.

“Being able to bring donors to campus for the event and meet the students they are impacting is the best part of the event,” McCracken said.

Ten new scholarships will be awarded this year, including the Ayleen Melsheimer Memorial Scholarship. Melsheimer was a nursing instructor at the college for five years. She passed away in January after a 10-year-long battle with cancer.

A scholarship will be awarded to a nursing student in Melsheimer's memory.

“Ayleen was a respected nurse and instructor, who valued the opportunity to invest in the future generation of nurses. The scholarship will continue her legacy,” said Daphne Boatright, a registered nursing instructor and department chair at Hancock.

“It is said that nursing is both an art and a science. Ayleen exemplified both" Boatright said. "She approached patient care from a scholarly approach, and she possessed a strong spirit of inquiry on the patient’s behalf.

"All of her actions were with a sincere sense of advocacy for every individual she cared for. This year’s recipient reflects Ayleen’s values,” she said.

The event holds special significance for the Allan Hancock College Foundation, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Since its creation in 1977, the foundation has helped thousands of students succeed and pursue a college education.

The theme of this year’s event is “Celebrating 40 years of success!”

“I am proud to see what the foundation and the college have evolved into over the years,” said Agnes Grogan, the first executive director of the Allan Hancock College Foundation.

“It is amazing to know that so many students, especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, gain access to higher education and succeed with the community’s support," Grogan said.

"The need will always be there. Thankfully, so will the foundation and the community,” she said.

Grogan and Michael Huggins, a 2017 scholarship recipient and Associated Student Body Government president, will be the keynote speakers.

A scholarship committee composed of 15 Hancock faculty and staff determined the recipients from more than 1,000 applications.

Applicants already have been notified they'd receive a scholarship. However, they do not know the specific scholarship or dollar amount, which makes for a night to remember for hundreds of students and donors.

— Gina Herlihy for Allan Hancock College.


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