Published on PennLive, April 18, 2019
As a nation, we have a lot of issues to tackle, including education, infrastructure and healthcare. You may think the only way to solve big problems is to look to Washington or multinational organizations to have a transformational impact. I’m pleased to share the story of an amazing Pennsylvania couple who thought differently and will change our community for decades to come.
On Sept. 19, 2018, I received a voice mail message from a local attorney. The message was simple but life changing. The attorney said one of his clients had left 70% of her estate to HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. What he said next rocked me to my core –the gift was valued at almost $1.3 million.
There are many intriguing aspects of this gift:
- The donor and her husband, who predeceased her, had no children.
- She died in 2017. Her husband died 10 years before her.
- The couple had never contributed to HACC previously.
- The estate gift is the largest single contribution in the history of HACC and the HACC Foundation
The gift will be used to fund innovative STEAM-related projects at HACC. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
If you know the importance of innovation and the importance of STEAM, then you know that this gift is less about HACC and more about enhancing Central Pennsylvania’s quality of life.
Because of this generous contribution from our donor, HACC faculty and staff will be able to implement innovative projects in support of STEAM:
- Digital microscopes in biology labs will allow instructors to share real downloadable images depicting samples at the micro level.
- The Virtual Desktop initiative will deliver the same software that students would find in a campus computer lab – right to their own devices. Students could work their software-mediated learning activities into the schedule of their lives, rather than having to try to flex their lives around the open hours of a computer lab.
- Full STEAM Ahead will be a mentoring program for underrepresented or marginalized first-time college students enrolled in STEAM programs at HACC.
Funding for STEAM innovation will ensure our students are using the most advanced technology and are participating in the most innovative programs that maximize their learning and prepare them for careers in their fields.
- HACC-educated computer scientists will be able to keep their fingers on the pulse of cybersecurity.
- HACC-trained cardiovascular technologists will use video recording to improve their performance in the lab and, ultimately, as they care for you and your loved ones.
- HACC-educated engineers will have a laboratory experience to test the materials they will use to design buildings that are safe and secure.
- HACC-educated graphic designers and photographers will be able to add artistic value to your lives and our communities through their work.
- HACC-educated mathematics teachers will be able to help your children and grandchildren love math instead of fear it.
Eighty percent of HACC graduates remain in Central Pennsylvania after graduation. They are your neighbors, your children’s teachers, your firefighters, your law enforcement officers, your nurses, your photographers and your welders. They serve us and those we love. They do it well, because they are well educated. Their preparation at HACC was not free – it was partially funded by generous philanthropists.
If you ever have the opportunity to invest locally in innovation, please do so. No matter the amount, every contribution will count, and every contribution will make a difference. The return of investment of your philanthropy will be significant and may last for a lifetime – yours and those you love the most.