OC Foundation means more than scholarships to students in need
By STEVEN DEDUAL
Central Kitsap Reporter Staff writer
September 17, 2009 · Updated 5:22 PM
The Olympic College Foundation does much more for the state-funded community college than most people know.
Joan Hanten, executive director of OCF, will say the primary objective of the foundation is to offer scholarships and grants to students to ensure their educational opportunities, but that isn’t all.
The OCF endowment has distributed more than $700,000 in scholarship money to students in need since 2003, but more than $1 million has actually been given to the school for general support and capital projects.
Capital projects include the building of the Haselwood Library and improvements on the Poulsbo campus. The general support, however, is where OCF staff feel they make the greatest contribution to students.
Part of that general support is for continuing the educational opportunities of OC professors, according to Hanten.
“For a community college, we have an extraordinary number of Ph.D.s,” she said.
Other support goes to additional opportunities for students that are not subsidized by the state. State funds are restricted in that they can only be used for certain, specific purposes and students often have opportunities to take their learning beyond the classroom, but state funds cannot usually be used for these opportunities.
That is where OCF steps in.
When the welding department was given the opportunity to compete against four-year schools from around the globe in a mini-baja competition, they were afraid the $7,500 they needed would be unobtainable. The foundation was able to grant the money to the project and, as a result, the welding students had a chance to push their learning from just welding to design, engineering and organization.
Another example of the foundation’s ability to help with more than just scholarships came when some nursing students were given a chance to make a presentation to the medical community in Yakima. State funds were off-limits in a case like this, but OCF was able to once again save the day with a grant.
“Opportunities like this offer students more to their education and are invaluable,” Hanten said. “And that is what we want to be able to do. There are some phenomenally smart people who go to school here. It is not OK for students to get a good education. They need to get an excellent education.”
For Hanten, it is about offering the same level of education one would receive across the water at a four-year school.
“Olympic College is the only higher educational facility here,” she said. “Students have got to be able to come here and get what they would be getting at the institutions that are on the other side of the water or other places in the country.”
The foundation’s community luncheon, its main fund-raising activity, is taking place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Foundation staff is asking the community to join them for a chance to see the kinds of things OC students are doing with the help of OCF.
“It is on Columbus Day because students will not be on campus, which will leave a lot of parking for guests,” said Wendy Rohrbacher, director of development for the foundation.Contact Central Kitsap Reporter Staff writer Steven DeDual at email@example.com or (360) 308-9161.