From the desk of Ben Schears
Sitting here with my favorite coffee cup in hand, the one with the ‘toxic’ symbol on the side reflective of the black tar I enjoy drinking each morning, I reflect on what drew me to work in the Endowment Association just three short years ago: the ability to make a lasting and tangible difference in the lives of the students I come into contact with each day.
Best known as the ‘Summer of Love’ after broad social recognition of the hippie movement, the summer of 1967 was an important point in many social movements in a nation ripe with race riots.
For a small group of Arkansas City Junior College supporters and employees, that summer marked the beginning of a conversation that would have lasting impact on the lives of students for decades to come.
The college had recently gained autonomy from the local Arkansas City school district and under the leadership of Dr. Paul Johnson, the first official president of the newly organized college, it was recognized there was a need for an entity to
provide financial support to the students and to further the mission of the college.
Eight months later on March 18, 1968, the entity now known as the Cowley County
Community College Endowment Association was born.
In its infancy, the Endowment Association was primarily responsible for acting as an agency for the donation and acquisition of land to be used for the furtherance of the college mission. Over the years, as it has grown, the role of the Endowment Association has changed and in recent decades it has served a pivotal role in the growth and development of scholarships to support the students. During these years and under the leadership of Terri Morrow, retired Dean of Alumni and Development, Cowley College also became a cultural and arts hub for the region and played host to several remarkable performances and collaborations.
A few short years ago, in order to build on this foundation, we began to refine our mission to support development in the following four core areas: Scholarships, Cultural Arts, Facilities, and Academic Programs. Through endowed funds set up by our alumni and friends, there is now over $125,000 in direct scholarship support provided to our students each year. Although this is a significant milestone to have reached since our inception 46 years ago, there is a lot of work to be done and many more lives we have yet to reach.
What does the future hold for the
Endowment Association? We are in the process of preparing a small group of directors to review and revise the by-laws, an alumni and friends survey was sent out seeking to update our database, and a new
vision document is being drafted to chart a path forward. While all of this is required for good housekeeping of any foundation, we are excited about taking a step into a new era of fund raising as we work to establish trusts, endowments, and bequests that will transform the future of the Endowment Association. We look forward to working with you to make these dreams a reality.
Ben Schears Class of 2001
Vice President of Institutional Advancement