cg news

West Shore Community College’s First Major Gifts Campaign
Achieves Greatness Early

Compiled by Johna Strader with contributions by West Shore Community College

West Shore Community College has embarked on the most ambitious fundraising effort of its 41-year history by launching its first major gifts campaign. The campaign, “Advancing from Good to Great,” will be primarily focused on generating funds needed for three target projects: an endowment to provide scholarships to worthy students, a dual enrollment endowment providing scholarships to high school students, and an endowment to support important area-wide economic development initiatives, including workforce and entrepreneurial development.

According to Mark Bergstrom, Director of Development and WSCC’s campaign manager, the planning for the campaign began with a feasibility study conducted by the Clements Group on behalf of the college in the beginning of 2006. Business and community leaders from the college district, as well as the college’s employees, were interviewed to gain insight as to level of support available, the proposed projects, how the college was viewed in the community, and other valuable information.

The results of the feasibility study showed overwhelming community support for the college, and CG recommended the college proceed with a major gifts campaign. Key projects identified during the college’s strategic planning process were also tested during the study and narrowed to the three target projects. In late 2007, WSCC’s foundation Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees made the decision to proceed with the campaign.

“It’s all about our students and our communities,” said Marc Lenz, foundation board president and owner of Lenz and Associates, Inc. “The goal is to take our college to the next level of excellence while providing students with the best education possible and being a resource for our communities.” The mission of the West Shore Community College Foundation is to augment existing student financial aid opportunities through scholarships and provide the additional resources that help the college and the communities it serves achieve greatness.

Dr. Charles Dillon, WSCC president, stated, “Through the strategic planning process, the college has established the goal to be a center of affordable educational and technical excellence for our area. With traditional funding sources reduced, we came to the conclusion that we must obtain additional funding from other sources.”

Solicitation of funds began in February 2008 with a “family campaign” involving college faculty, staff, administration and board members. The campaign’s first phase has now set the stage for a great success rate, as the employee solicitation yielded 100% involvement! “Employees really wanted to make a statement that we are behind this campaign and are committed to the educational excellence of our college,” commented Bergstrom.

Spearheading the internal campaign as employee campaign chairs were Professor of Marketing/Management Dr. Amy Wojciechowski, Professor of Music Daniel Meyers, and Director of Distance Learning & Information Technology Patricia Davidson. “Because of the commitment of the employees, this was one of the easiest tasks I’ve had to accomplish since joining the staff at West Shore,” Wojciechowski stated, adding, “Achieving this internal goal was extremely important to us because we wanted to show the general public that we believe in the college and its mission.”

The campaign’s progress continues to thrive, helped in large part by Lee and Joan Schoenherr, of Ludington, who have given a pace-setting gift of $2 million through a multi-year pledge designated toward student scholarships. In recognition, the Board of Trustees has named the newly constructed Campus Center after them. “Joan and I are extremely pleased to be involved in West Shore Community College’s major gifts campaign whose purpose is to raise money which will enable countless area students to pursue higher education and training that might not be possible without this worthwhile project,” said Lee Schoenherr. “Our young people are our future, not only for our community but also for our country. Investing in them is the right thing to do, and we are excited to be a part of this extraordinary endeavor.” In addition to the gift, the Schoenherrs have agreed to serve as the campaign’s honorary co-chairs with Dennis and Beth McCarthy of Manistee.

Dr. Dillon called the gift a generous investment in the region’s educational and economic future. “We are thrilled with the support and generosity of the Schoenherr family,” stated Dillon. “The impact of their gift will be felt at the college forever. It is truly a legacy.”

Michael Ennis, WSCC Board of Trustees Chair and campaign co-chair with Milan S. (Budde) Reed II, said that the Board of Trustees stand behind the campaign and are grateful for the Schoenherr’s generosity. According to Ennis, the college has demonstrated a strong commitment to deliver higher education services that benefit the people of the entire college district. “This gift will help us meet the increasing demand for our services and the board believes this campaign will ensure that we continue to affordably deliver those services to more of our citizens.”

A naming ceremony for the Schoenherr Campus Center and reception was held on August 16. The new two-story, 38,000-square-foot building, located between the Arts and Sciences and Technical Centers on the campus, houses a library and other services to support students and student learning, including counseling, advising, tutoring, and testing labs.

Dr. Al Hove, Vice President for the Clements Group, remarked, “I’m so very proud of all that WSCC has achieved in their initial phases of the campaign! Obtaining 100% employee involvement is a major milestone, and to add a gift of the Schoenherr’s generosity speaks volumes for the quality of education and services WSCC provides to the local community. I’m looking forward to hearing of more campaign success stories in the months to come.”

The entire CG family applauds West Shore Community College! For more information about WSCC’s major gifts campaign, contact Mark Bergstrom at 231-843-5804 or visit the college’s web site at www.westshore.edu.