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Forgoing A Daily Starbucks To Invest In A Student’s Future

How many of you just have to have your morning cup of coffee? Whether it’s from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or 7-11, there’s a good chance you’re laying out upwards of $25 a week on that café con leche or nonfat, iced skinny mocha with light ice, skinny cream, and chocolate drizzle. What if you were to take a step back and consider putting that money toward something more meaningful, such as investing in a young person’s future?

Rose Garvin Aquilino

Wouldn’t helping a student justify a lifetime of homemade cups of coffee? As a benefactor to a student in need, you would be among more than 250 Montgomery College faculty, staff, and retirees who have already created individual endowed scholarships. Through their payroll deductions and other contributions, they are giving the most deserving of Montgomery County a pathway toward a college degree.

For Rose Garvin Aquilino, director of Grants and Sponsored Programs at MC, establishing an endowed scholarship was an obvious and yet significant decision. In her nine years as director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Garvin Aquilino encouraged donors to raise money for scholarships. “Our simple pitch was ‘$25,000 over five years’,” she says. The College showed employees how $75 per paycheck over five years would create an endowed scholarship worth $10,000, and she decided to participate. When she later worked with individual and family donors, she felt proud to say: “I have my own scholarship.”

Garvin Aquilino and her husband, John Aquilino, both come from families of artists, art educators, and musicians. Aquilino is a full-time artist, and Garvin Aquilino serves on the Board of Arts and Humanities for Montgomery County. The Garvin Aquilino Scholarship will support music and art students at MC because, as Garvin Aquilino said, “I want to advocate that arts and humanities can be a profession.”

Katie Kumkumian

Donor Relations Director Katie Kumkumian is another MC employee who participates in the program. She jumped at the chance to establish not one, but two endowed scholarships. The first is the Joan and Ed Corboy Memorial Scholarship, in honor of her parents, who were two lifelong learners.

“They were Google before there was Google,” said Kumkumian, whose father attended Georgetown on the GI Bill and whose mother raised eight children and never had the opportunity to attend college herself. “We would call them for everything—from religion to art to history.”

Kumkumian’s parents have passed on, but she hopes to keep their spirit and their great love of learning alive through the endowed scholarship she has created in their honor. “The thing that I was most impressed with is that it’s so easy to do here!” said Kumkumian. “You can donate just five dollars a week…people need to understand that is really within their grasp to be able to do it.” Kumkumian also established the Linda Kumkumian Memorial Scholarship in memory of her sister-in-law, who studied early childhood education at MC and had a great love for children. Linda, who had no children herself, went on to become the director of daycare at a major law firm in D.C.—and then tragically died from cancer at the age of 60. It gives Kumkumian great solace to know that when she is gone, her parents and Linda’s names will not be forgotten.

You can donate just five dollars a week…people need to understand that is really within their grasp to be able to do it.

Director of Transformational Giving Francene Walker is another member of the MC staff who felt inspired to create an endowed scholarship in honor of her parents. The June and Willie Turner Scholarship not only pays homage to both of her parents, staunch advocates for education, but also to her family’s long history of dedication to the pursuit of education.

Francene Walker

“Some research into our ancestry suggests that my great-great grandparents [Lena and Charlie Smith] likely attended Oberlin College … during the 1800s; it was one of the few colleges that would admit African Americans,” said Walker.

Her ancestors set a precedent: Walker’s mother, who became a teacher and guidance counselor, attended graduate school in another part of the country because, in the segregated South, African Americans were not welcomed at the local state university. She earned a master’s degree and worked toward her doctorate. She attended USC, Pepperdine, and Atlanta University. Meanwhile, Walker’s father never had the opportunity to pursue higher education; instead, he took care of the family. “He was ahead of his time,” said Walker. “He did not go to college, but he was a brilliant man who designed and built custom homes.”

Whether you want to honor your family or friends, make a difference in a deserving person’s life, or stand confident in the message that you preach, deducting $5 a day (or whatever you can) to establish an endowed scholarship is something every MC employee can consider. All employees who are interested can contact Francene Walker at the Montgomery College Foundation: 240-567-7491 or Francene.walker@montgomerycollege.edu

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