By Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
Pensacola State College student Regina Young got a little choked up after well-known businessman Sandy Sansing finished speaking to her and other students on Aug. 27.
Young is studying social work, and is a “Sansing Scholar.’’ She is attending the College with the financial help of a Sansing Universal Scholarship, which the car dealer and Pensacola State alumnus established in 2002. To date, Sansing Universal Scholarships have provided 1,099 students with more than $460,000 in scholarship funds.
She heard Sansing speak about his humble upbringing working for .25 cent tips at the old Jitney Jungle grocery store on 12th Avenue. She listened intently as he told eight other Sansing Scholars at the luncheon how now, having found financial and career success, he feels compelled to give back to others who might need just a boost to realize their dreams.
“When he told that story, it just touched me,’’ she said, choking up a bit. “I want to give back to the community. I’ve been through a lot and can give a lot back. I want to help others who have struggled. It’s taken me a while to get where I’m at today. And I’m not going to stop.”
That’s exactly the kind of talk Sansing likes to hear.
“You must work hard to be successful,’’ Sansing said. “But there’s pleasure in hard work and joy in success.”
Sandy Sansing has been providing scholarships for PSC students since 2002.
Posted by Pensacola State College on Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Through the 2018-2019 academic year, the Sansing Universal Scholarship awarded $25,000 to 35 students. Just this fall, the scholarship provided $13,000 to 13 Pensacola State students.
Each year, the College hosts a luncheon for the scholarship recipients where Sansing offers advice for success and learns a bit about their lives and dreams. Also in attendance at the luncheon were 2019 Sandy Sansing Scholars: Laura Shiver, Cynthia Aceto, Elizabeth Askfeldt, Tabitha Cooper, Bethel Goodwin, Darriell Jones, Amelia Maltbia and Rajah Zulla.
“I don’t think we would have been able to help near as many students without your support,’’ Pensacola State President Ed Meadows said. He then offered an analogy he sometimes heard from an Alabama politician: “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it didn’t get there by itself.”
The scholarships cover tuition, fees and books up to $1,500. Recipients must demonstrate financial need and have at least a 2.0 grade point average.
A 1967 graduate of then-Pensacola Junior College, Sansing attended the institution on a golf scholarship.
“It was $99 a semester,’’ Sansing recalled. “It was all I needed for tuition and books. Times have changed over the years.”
But not everything.
“It still takes hard work and commitment,’’ he added. “But you’ve shown you’re ready. You’ve taken the step to go to college and do the work to apply for the scholarship. So I ask you to chase your dream. If it’s to be a social worker or own your own construction company, you can do it.”
Sansing owns a number of car dealerships along the Gulf Coast, including seven in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
“I’ve been blessed,’’ Sansing said. “Far more than I deserve. I’m not that brilliant. I’m not that smart. But I did work hard.”
Shiver is a first-generation college student.
“It’s a real big deal for me,’’ Shiver said. “Having this scholarship and the College behind me. There’s such a support system at PSC and it truly makes the experience easier.”