07/26/10 — WCC Foundation golf tournament keeping focus on helping students

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WCC Foundation golf tournament keeping focus on helping students

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 26, 2010 2:06 PM

The director of the Wayne Community College Foundation says the uncertain economy has not hurt fundraising for scholarships and programs at the school -- at a time when such support is more important than ever.

Jack Kannan said the foundation's annual golf tournament, held earlier this summer, netted $80,000, making it the largest golf tournament for scholarships in the state's 58 community college system.

"We're not the largest community college in the state, we're not the wealthiest county and yet .... we probably have the best golf tournament and arts and humanities (program) in the state," he said. "The comprehensiveness of what we do has grown."

In the 18 years since the golf tournament was introduced as a fundraiser for student scholarships, it has had a solid foundation, Kannan said.

Wooten Oil Co. established and sponsored the event for years -- building on its success each year.

Then, three years ago, Jackson and Sons became a tournament sponsor. Proceeds jumped from $50,000 to $55,000.

"Then Larry Boyce moved to town and he became the chair (last year) and raised us up to $70,000 last year, which was the largest in the state," Kannan said. "Our goal this year was $75,000, but Larry's personal goal was $80,000, and that's our net dollars."

Boyce and his wife, Fran, worked diligently on the project, Kannan said, and kept the committee motivated along the way.

"He had deadlines and kept us on pace to raise $80,000. A lot of similar tournaments generate $20,000, and now they're wondering how we do it. I attribute our success, especially during these weak economic times, to the foundation we had before, establishing each of those relationships. We are developing and continuing to develop new relationships, but this would not have happened if we didn't have those who were always with us."

It took the efforts of many, and none were small players, Kannan said.

Drink vendors, food vendors and others who donated products or services might not count themselves as part of the $80,000, but their contributions are just as important, he said.

"Everybody has a spoke in this wheel and (while it wasn't monetary) it made this possible and made it the most successful in the state and therefore more students will be served," he said.

One thing that made it easier to accomplish, Kannan said, was that Boyce advocated for the students, assuring donors the money raised would go for scholarships.

"We had winners at the golf tournament, but the true winners are the students who will get to go to school because we provided the money for their scholarships," Boyce said.

In 18 years, the tournament has raised $791,000 for distribution to students.

For the coming school year, 154 scholarships have been awarded, valued at an estimated $93,000.

While that sounds impressive, Kannan cautions against donors opting to direct their support elsewhere in the future.

"Even though we have had a successful tournament -- it's allowed us to help students who otherwise could not go to school or be paying for books," he said. "Our needs have actually gotten greater, even with the most successful things, because of tuition and numbers. Enrollment is increasing but tuition is going up. ...

"We just had a tremendous increase in our tuition. Ten years ago, it was $294. This year it will be $940 per semester. Nursing books have gone out of sight -- one book alone costs over $500."

Investments, just like everywhere else, are "flat," Kannan said. So WCC is reliant on the partnerships it has built over the years, while looking at reliable resources, like the golf tournament as well as the arts and humanities program.

Each year, the program offers a variety of opportunities for the public to visit the campus and to participate in classes, trips and cultural events.

This year's schedule will be officially released in August, but a preview of the upcoming calendar appears below.

* A free symposium commemorating the Civil War's sesquicentennial, titled "The Civil War in Wayne County" is planned for Thursday evenings -- Sept. 9-Oct. 14 -- with a different speaker each week to highlight various aspects of the war in Wayne County.

* A one-day trip is being planned to the N.C. Museum of Art on Sept. 23. Cost is $25 and space is limited to 20 people.

* Two fall mini-courses will be held on Monday evenings in October and November.

The October course, "Seeing Ourselves as we've Been Seen: Tocqueville's Take on American Democracy" will focus on what Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805-1859, whose observations published as "Democracy in America" has been quoted more than Jefferson, Madison or Lincoln. Books are available for purchase.

The November mini-course will be a mixture of lecture and film. "A Miraculous Collaboration: Graham Greene and Carol Reed" will look at the collaboration between the English Writer Greene and film director Reed. Advance purchase of the book is recommended.

Cost for each course is $35 per couple or $20 per person.,

* Margaret Baddour, an English instructor at the college, will direct the play, "Anne of Green Gables" on Nov. 4-7. Times for the production, as well as casting information, will be announced soon.

There will also be other dates and events announced in the near future, Kannan said.

For more information on any of the arts and humanities events, call 739-7017.