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From Germanna Community College

At Friday’s inauguration of Dr. Janet Gullickson’s as the sixth president of Germanna Community College, longtime GCC supporter Connie Kincheloe explained the satisfaction she derives from helping the students there, saying it doesn’t take much to make a difference in the life of a community college student: Having someone believe in them; words of encouragement–even a small donation can make all the difference.

During the event, the crowd at the Fredericksburg Expo Center heard about a Germanna counselor who went out and sat in a car in the parking lot to encourage a prospective student suffering from such debilitating anxiety that she couldn’t bring herself to walk through the college’s doors.

Kincheloe talked about the Germanna Scholars program and the Gladys P. Todd Academy, which provide scholarships that help high school juniors and seniors earn their associates’ degrees by the time they graduate from high school, saving their families tens of thousands of dollars when they transfer.

“I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t take much to change a student’s life– in fact to alter the course of an entire generation,” Kincheloe said.”It does take involvement, ideas and support.

“Join us in supporting our students and higher education,” Kincheloe said. “Together, we can change people’s lives.”

Gullickson continued the theme in her inaugural address: “It doesn’t take much, but it just might take you to be our partner at Germanna. My doctoral dissertation was on community partnerships and what makes them work. I can sum up my entire dissertation in a few sentences on what makes a partnership work. First, we have to spend some time defining the problem. In our budding partnership, our issues might be that you don’t have the employees you need or you worry about the future of our country or you have a need to make a difference. Germanna needs you to send us students and resources to meet its mission. Second, through our partnership, we outline the resources that we have to put toward the solution of the issues. In our example, you might have job openings, political influence and monetary resources to assist Germanna and its students. We educate your future employees and leaders with our mission to serve our communities. Third, we decide how we will know we have addressed the issue via metrics. For example, healthy, vibrant communities where we all want to live. Then we go about solving the problem through working together, allocating resources toward a shared vision and goal. We give you the workforce and neighbors you want and, through your generosity, we can fulfill our mission.”

Gullickson explained how a small amount of money can either stop community college students in their tracks or launch them toward success.

“It doesn’t take much for us to be partners to create the futures we need to maintain the communities we love. But it does take something. Here’s an example. Being fiscally prudent, the Commonwealth requires that all students pay their bills before they go too far into the semester. Every year, higher education institutions drop thousands of students from all their classes even if they may owe less than $300. Think about that. For what the price might be for a nice dinner out with a couple of friends, hundreds of students lose their places in classes and their futures at Germanna each year.

“But here is where your partnership became important this fall. Using dollars donated by you to the Germanna Educational Foundation, we were able to spend about $80,000 in scholarship monies to save 130 qualified students from being dropped from their classes. Think about that. The accumulation of many ‘it doesn’t take much’ donations may have kept the person in college the person who will cure cancer; who will broker world peace; who will transform food production and distribution; who may be your future son-in-law. An average of $600 made college possible for these students. As you have heard today, it doesn’t take much to keep a student in school but it takes everything from that student to stay in school. “

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