$50,000 endowment supports SMC nursing scholarships

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College’s new McLoughlin Family Scholarship will be awarded to nursing majors beginning in the fall of 2021.

The McLoughlin Family Foundation established an endowment with a $50,000 gift that followed a $50,000 gift in October 2017 for a classroom in SMC’s new Nursing and Health Education Building celebrated Jan. 9, 2019.

The $9.6-million expansion more than doubled the 1970 building from 12,000 to 29,000 square feet.

“This is an extremely generous donation, for which we are grateful,” said SMC Foundation President Dr. Carole Schmidt. “It will provide long-term assistance for numerous students. The McLoughlin Foundation frequently responds to the needs of our community.”

The foundation’s Emily McLoughlin said SMC Director of Development Nathan Swords invited the family to tour the finished facility, including the Karen K. Rose Simulation Lab equipped with high-tech programmable manikins that mimic all kinds of challenging scenarios. Simulations can be videotaped, debriefed and repeated in a safe environment.

“We were so pleased with how it turned out,” Emily said, “when we got back we started discussing doing more.”

In selecting scholarship recipients, preference will be given to spouses or children of employees of K&M Machine-Fabricating Inc. in Cassopolis.

Emily and her sister-in-law, Beth McLoughlin, visited SMC’s Dowagiac campus on May 8, 2018, to receive the Cass County Youth Council Flame Keeper Award.

The Flame Keeper honors a person or organization whose work significantly impacts children and families. The foundation’s main goal is bolstering local charities that fall outside the reach of larger national organizations.

McLoughlin’s signature event, the Great Start program, allows children from Dowagiac and Cassopolis elementary schools to spend $200 each on back-to-school clothes, shoes, backpacks and books during a private Target shopping spree.

The first Great Start in 2007 invited 100 youngsters and had almost doubled in size after 10 years.

The foundation has also supported Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass County; Lory’s Place; The Children’s Advocacy of SW Michigan; and has offered financial support for private tutoring, laptops, summer camp and extra-curricular activities such as sports for foster children in Court-Appointed Special Advocates not covered by DHS, Medicaid or other resources.

“To be sure, the McLoughlin Family Foundation has truly impacted the lives of children in our community to make sure they have a healthy future and a strong community to support them,” according to a framed legislative tribute signed by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan’s governor and Cass County’s state senator and state representatives.

The foundation has also provided financial support for the Council on Aging’s Meals-on-Wheels program and the Underground Railroad Society’s Bonine House restoration to insure indirectly that the community children live in continues to thrive.

SMC’s foundation accepts contributions to existing scholarships in addition to establishing new scholarships. Direct donations to: SMC Foundation, Director of Development, 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047.

Contact Nate Swords at (269) 782-1301 or nswords@swmich.edu for more information.

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