Archived Story

SMC: Invest in the future by contributing to an endowed scholarship fund

Published 11:36pm Thursday, June 7, 2012

Southwestern Michigan College

Last year, Southwestern Michigan College awarded $13 million in financial aid to its students.

While much of this assistance was given through the federal financial aid program, many of our students were able to enroll full time due in large part from hundreds of generous donors who make contributions to the Southwestern Michigan College Foundation annually.

The foundation was established in 1970 to bridge the gap between the needs and the resources of the college. One of those needs is to provide scholarship money to students who may not be able to continue their education if they did not receive financial assistance. The number of students who are in need of financial aid has grown from 40 percent five years ago to 60 percent today.

Cass County residents Tom Swartz and Jeanne Jourdan, who have opened their home for the past seven years in a special scholarship fund raising event, have been instrumental in spreading awareness about the various scholarship opportunities available to our students and encouraging community members to contribute to these funds.

Additionally, the Swartz event offers the opportunity for students currently enrolled in the college’s writing and fine and performing arts programs to showcase their talent to community members. Many of the students who provide the evening entertainment have received scholarships from the college.

This year’s special event, titled, “Reconnected: Artists and Mentor,” features the artwork of SMC’s art professor emeritus, David Baker, and 15 of his former students. The event will include a silent auction for two pieces of art created by a SMC graduate and by David Baker.

While the need for financial assistance continues to grow, so does the opportunity to contribute to the scholarship funds as demonstrated by the results from the first Swartz fundraiser in 2006 that brought in $5,000 to last year’s event, which gathered more than $14,000. A contribution to one of SMC’s endowed scholarships is an investment in the community’s future.

If you would like to host a scholarship event or would like to contribute to one of SMC’s endowed scholarship funds, contact Eileen Toney, director of development and executive director of the SMC Foundation, at (269) 782-1301 or by email at

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