Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
They are called “Change Makers” for a reason – they change lives.
Pensacola State College honored its “Change Makers” – donors whose generous gifts and contributions help students earn an education on Friday, Dec. 10, in the Charles W. Lamar Studio Gallery.
“Your generosity will help transform lives,’’ said Andrea Krieger, PSC Executive Director of Institutional Development.
The reception celebrated $2.8 million in new gifts and commitments to PSC. These gifts will have a $3.8 million impact.
“Pensacola State College is a wonderful school that helps develop productive citizens in our community,’’ said David Bear, vice-president of the Lewis Bear Company. The Bear Family and the Bear Family Foundation have been supporters of PSC since 1967 and their recent gift will fund a new Bear Family Foundation Endowed Scholarship.
“What we need here in Pensacola is workforce development and job readiness and that’s what PSC is so good at,” Bear added. “Pensacola State gets students trained and into the workforce.”
The “Change Makers” program was created in 2020 by longtime PSC supporters Jo-Ann and Michael Price. As the founders of the program, they contributed $100,000 for student scholarships and challenged others in the community to gift the College with donations of $10,000 or more. Community members responded and the initial “Change Makers” brought in more than $175,000, including the initial $100,000 gift from the Prices.
“A challenge can spark all kinds of wonderful things in the community,’’ Jo-Ann Price said. “Maybe that’s part of the answer to provide funds for students to come back to school and learn something so that if there should ever be another shutdown, they’re not going to be homeless. They’re going to have a roof over their heads because they have a new skill. All it takes is having people see that vision.”
Change Makers give to develop or enhance scholarships here at Pensacola State College,’’ said Laura Hill, PSC Foundation Director of Donor Relations. “Their contributions will directly assist our students.”
Former Pensacola State music student Connor Bond provided elegant guitar instrumental passages for the guests, while PSC Alumnus celebrity chef Gus Silivos prepared a scrumptious meal from his Agape Bistro and Garden menu.
The evening took a surprising turn when Maria Sakellariou announced she and her husband, Scott Thompson, were endowing the Gus P. Silivos and George A. Sakellariou Endowed Scholarship in honor of her brothers ─ Gus and George.
Silivos who was busy preparing the various courses for the guests, was stunned by the scholarship announcement.
“Honestly, it is the last thing I expected,’’ Silivos said. “It’s a great honor for me and my late brother. Hopefully this will help kids in the future receive an education. How wonderful is that?”
Others also continue to support PSC and its students by honoring loved ones, such as Lauren Moore Cutter, who honored her father’s legacy as a beloved Pensacola businessman by endowing the Pete Moore Family Endowed Scholarship.
“We wanted to do anything we can to give back to our community,’’ Cutter said. “PSC has made a lot of strides in recent years by helping students get workforce education to secure jobs and stay in Pensacola. We are happy to support the College and its students.”
PSC President Ed Meadows thanked all the “Change Makers” for their generosity and support of the College.
“Tonight, we celebrate you all,’’ Meadows said. “We honor you for the difference you will make in the lives of PSC students.”
The Pensacola State College’s 2021 “Change Makers include:
- The Bear Family: The Bear Family Foundation Scholarship
- William Jones: The Jo and Bill Jones Endowed Scholarship
- Family and Friends of the Martin Family: Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship
- James J. Reeves
- The Pete Moore Family Endowed Scholarship
- Harry and Jill Wilder: Fund for Excellence Endowment and Ami-Lee Wilder Endowed Scholarship for Academic Excellence
- Margie and Alan Moore: Margie and Alan Moore Endowed Scholarship
- Ralph and Libby Ruyle: Ralph and Libby Ruyle Endowed Scholarship for Mathematics
- Hamilton Smith: J. Bruce and Rose W. Beveridge and Rose W. Smith Endowed Scholarship
- Pen Air: Pen Air Federal Credit Union Endowed Scholarship
- Donald McMahon, III: Donald McMahon III Endowed Scholarship
- Friends and Family of Keith A. Furrow: Keith A. Furrow Endowed Scholarship.
- The William Hunt Family: The William A. Hunt Endowed Scholarship
- IT Gulf Coast: Information Technology Association of the Gulf Coast Endowed Scholarship
- Wendell and Beth Smith: Paul Dean Higginbotham Memorial Endowed Scholarship
- Local and Regional Walmart Stores: Walmart Endowed Scholarship
- Rich and Beth Williams: Williams Trust in Yourself Endowed Scholarship
- Lisa McKenzie Dampier: Dan and Mary McKenzie Endowed Teaching Chair
- Florida Blue & Florida Blue Foundation: Florida Blue Endowed Scholarship
- Patricia Morris: Dr. Douglas C. Morris Nursing Scholarship
- The Sansing Family: The Sansing Scholars Endowment and Scholarship
- Kerry Anne and Paul Battle: Ellanor Rosemary Battle Endowed Scholarship
- Ascension Sacred Heart: Ascension Sacred Heart Allied Health Profession Scholarship
- Community Health Northwest Florida: Community Health Northwest Florida Allied Health Profession Scholarship
- Generous individuals who support the PSC Universal Scholarship who were recognized included:
- Jenn Cole, Steve Del Gallo, Doug Herrick and Sharon Hess-Herrick, Joe and Beverly Kinego, Betty Roberts and “Flash” Gordon and Bette Sprague.