Record amount raised at 13th annual Student Investment Luncheon

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Alina Adams, head of the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Wallace State, congratulates the winning bidder of the Reese’s peanut butter cheesecake she made to be auctioned off at the 2017 Student Investment Luncheon at Wallace State Community College.

HANCEVILLE – Hundreds of supporters of Wallace State Community College gathered Wednesday, Nov. 1, for the 13th annual Future Foundation Student Investment Luncheon and raised more than $253,000 for scholarships, technology, entrepreneurship and opportunity to improve the lives of students and enhance opportunities for surrounding communities.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the outpouring of support we received from the luncheon,” said Suzanne Harbin, director of advancement at Wallace State. “This year’s total was a record amount in the 13-year history of the event, and is proof of our community’s commitment to helping improve the lives of current and future Wallace State students.”

Harbin said $135,325 of the amount raised came through scholarship contributions, as well as proceeds from the sale of property donated to the Future Foundation for that purpose.

More than $23,500 was raised during the live auction, with the largest single bid of $4,000 for a pair of Auburn and Alabama fire pits. Collectively, $6,400 was raised on an Argentina Dove Hunt package, with four bidders buying the package for $1,600 each. Those who missed the live auction can still get in on some of the action by purchasing reservations for a Jan. 18, 2018, Four Course Dinner and Wine Pairing at Terri Pines Country Club for $70 each. Reservations can be made at

Changing Lives

“The annual Student Investment Luncheon is about changing a student’s life by investing in their education and producing successful graduates,” said Leah Bolin, vice-president of the WSCC Future Foundation and president of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. “Over the last decade, the Foundation has awarded over $1.2 million in scholarships to deserving students.”

Jason Spann, Foundation president, said more than 2,000 scholarships have been provided since 2007, and there are currently over 120 named and endowed scholarships to support students in dual enrollment courses, academics, health and technical programs. A scholarship becomes endowed when the cumulative contribution reaches $25,000 or more.

Spann announced 10 new named and endowed scholarships at the luncheon.

 *   Pelham C. Butler Memorial Scholarship, established by Merchants Bank

 *   John Connor Strickland Memorial Scholarship, announced last year, reached endowed scholarship status

 *   Jim D. and Mattie Moody endowed scholarship, established by the Board of Directors of Hanceville Nursing and Rehab, in honor of their founders

 *   Brother Eldridge Criscoe Endowed Scholarship, established by Johnny Albright to assist students who are current students or graduates of Brewer High School

 *   James W. Meherg Endowed Scholarship, established by Johnny Albright, for students who attended Baileyton Jr. High and Fairview High School

 *   Kay Barnett Memorial Scholarship, established by the family of Kay Barnett family

 *   City of Cullman Industrial Development Board endowed scholarship, established by the board to support programs which provide a skilled workforce for the community

 *   Bill and Elizabeth St. John endowed scholarship to support students from Cullman County in their pursuit of an education at Wallace State

 *   CJ Burney Memorial Scholarship, established last year by the Burney family, will now be an endowed scholarship

 *   Gary and June Easterwood endowed scholarship, to benefit students from Holly Pond High School

“Over the next year, the Wallace State Future Foundation will invite you to help us write stories for the future to support student scholarships, instructional technology, a center for entrepreneurship and a legacy for our emerging workforce,” Spann said. “We appreciate your support of our event today.”

“It makes a difference not only in their lives, but for lives for generations to come,” Dr. Vicki Karolweics, president of Wallace State Community College, said in encourage attendees to dig deep into their pockets for the annual fundraising event.

“Your investment allows us to be exceptional in everything we do,” Karolewics added. “Our goal is to always strive for excellence.”

Those efforts were noted most recently when it was announced Wednesday that Wallace State was named a Leader College by the Achieving the Dream (ATD) organization, one of only eight colleges in the ATD network to receive its highest designation. The status is bestowed upon colleges who have shown three years of steady improvements in two outcomes that measure student success.

This follows up on an announcement from two weeks ago when Wallace State was designated for the third time as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation, according to the Aspen Institute.

For more information about the Wallace State Future Foundation or to make a donation, visit or contact Harbin at 256-352-8144 or