Press Release, College of Southern Maryland
Various verses of gratitude could be heard over and over again during the 2018 College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Foundation Scholarship Reception – the annual event that has scholarship donors meet with their recipients to enjoy lunch and their shared commitment to education.
“Today is about recognizing you, our partners … and we honor you who believe in the mission of the College of Southern Maryland and share in the vision to transform lives, one at a time,” CSM Foundation Chair Nancy Hempstead told the packed room of scholarship supporters. The CSM Foundation is the fundraising and friend raising arm of the college, with a board composed of all volunteers raising money for students and CSM.
“For our students,” she continued, “the scholarships they have received as a result of your generosity is beyond what even we can describe. Each of their stories is personal and unique to their situation, but what they share in common is heartfelt gratitude for how you are making a difference in their lives.”
Multi-scholarship recipient Dawson Jewell, of Charlotte Hall, agreed.
“As I begin my second year as a student at the College of Southern Maryland, I am beyond grateful for the generosity of so many people who help students like myself be able to pursue our dreams for college and our careers,” said Jewell. “I want a career where I can help people and make a lasting impact, and so my long-term goal is to complete my degree in criminal justice and become a police officer. I am already a cadet for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, and being around police officers spurs me on to take the appropriate steps to achieve my goal.”
Jewell, who is a graduate of La Plata High School, is also a student athlete at CSM as a member of the men’s Lacrosse team and he is a recipient of the Adjunct Faculty Endowed Scholarship, the Mary I. Shasho Memorial Annual Scholarship, the Neale Chaney Slater Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Salome A. Howard Bar Association, Inc. Scholarship.
“It is very rewarding to be able to meet our scholarship donors and personally tell them, face-to-face, what their award means to us individually,” Jewell told the audience. “I’m sure I speak for the other scholarship recipients joining us today when I say that having others to believe in us and provide financial support makes a world of difference in boosting our confidence and optimism. So, thank you for believing in our future.”
“It is great to meet these recipients each year,” shared Chaney Enterprises CEO Frank Chaney during the reception. Chaney established the Chaney Endowed Scholarship for Sustainable Land Use and the Chaney Scholarship for Workforce Development, and awarded this semester to eight students pursuing careers in environmental studies, construction, agriculture, engineering, transportation, real estate and/or farming.
“CSM is a great institution and does a great job of ensuring the students who are here on our scholarships come out of college with at least one job offer, and most times many, many more,” he added.
Chaptico resident Stephen Vallandingham is an example of one of those students being offered potential employment. A volunteer with the St. Mary’s County Advanced Life Support, Seventh District Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) and Seventh District Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Vallandingham is currently pursuing his EMS Paramedic Certificate at CSM thanks to the Paddle for Heroes Scholarship from the Leonardtown Rotary Club. The fact that he is already employed as a federal firefighter at Naval Air Station Patuxent River isn’t stopping the job offers. He shared during the scholarship reception that he has received interest from other departments who are looking to hire firefighters who are also certified as paramedics.
“This scholarship is invaluable to me,” he said. “With my job, family, kids and volunteering, it can be overwhelming and this scholarship helps my family more than I can explain.”
Vallandingham’s wife Brittany is also enrolled at CSM as a nursing student. She is a recipient of the John and Mary Anne Harms Endowed Scholarship which was established by Mary Anne Harms in support of students who reside in Southern Maryland. Both Brittany and Stephen also earned financial support through St. Mary’s County Government’s Annual Scholarship this year. Established in 2005 by the St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners, the county’s annual scholarships support students who reside in St. Mary’s County. Brittany is on track to graduate from CSM in spring 2019 and Stephen is on track to follow with his paramedic certificate in fall 2019.
“I can’t say enough about the instructors at CSM,” he said. “People thank Brittany and me for being out in the community making a difference every day, but the fact is our CSM instructors are the reason we’re both able to do what we do.
“We owe the Leonardtown Rotary Club and the CSM Foundation a great deal for helping us achieve our dreams and helping us give back to our communities,” he added.
CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy addressed the reception attendees and joined in the chorus of gratitude. “You have chosen to partner with the CSM Foundation and invest in keeping higher education affordable and accessible; which in turn enhances the health and welfare of our local economy,” she said.
Following are the names of the scholarships awarded and the students who received them.
To view photographs from the CSM Foundation Donor Reception, visit www.csmphoto.zenfolio.com/18donorrecept.