More than 200 students received some well deserved time in the spotlight on March 23 during Brookdale’s annual Scholarship Recognition Ceremony in the Collins Arena.
The students, some of the more than 500 who received scholarships through the Brookdale Foundation in 2016-17, were recognized by Brookdale administrators and staff in front of a capacity crowd of friends, classmates and family members.
“Congratulations to all of our scholarship students,” said Brookdale president Dr. Maureen Murphy. “I encourage you to continue to work hard and to seize all the opportunities that Brookdale provides so that you can succeed in your pursuit of knowledge. Please know that Brookdale values the academic and personal success of our students and your achievement is the hallmark of our mission.”
The ceremony also served as an opportunity to thank the countless community partners and individual donors who fund many of the foundation’s scholarships. Donors like Esther McQuaide, who along with her husband Chet funds the Timothy A. McQuaide Scholarship in honor of their son, were able to meet directly with the students who benefitted from their support.
Timothy Zeiss, executive director of the Brookdale Foundation and Alumni Affairs, included a statement from McQuaide in his opening remarks.
“Brookdale Community College has been a blessing for our family,” said McQuaide, an alumni who graduated from the college in 1987.
“After a first attempt at college led to disappointment for our son Tim, he found earning his Brookdale degree to be ‘a renaissance experience,’ leading not only to enhanced academic skills and renewed confidence but also to a scholarship at a major university, a BFA degree, and a challenging and creative career. I am proud to support the excellent educational experiences which Brookdale provides.”
Each of the more than 200 honorees was called to the stage by Brookdale Financial Aid Director Stephanie Fitzsimmons, where they were presented with an official certificate of recognition and congratulated personally by Murphy.
It was a proud night for many students and parents in attendance, including first-year psychology student Jamie Fierros and his mother Wendy.
“It’s amazing,” said Wendy Fierros. “When we learned of the scholarship I thought my heart would pound out of my chest. I raise my children on my own, and they have worked very hard to get where they are. Jamie has been working since he was 16. It can be difficult, and receiving this scholarship has simply been a blessing.”
For first-year nursing student and new scholarship recipient Mardly Pierre-Jerome, the evening and the recognition also served as motivation to achieve great things as a Brookdale student.
“It’s not easy to get scholarships in today’s world, so to be told that you earned something like this is inspiring,” she said. “It shows you that people here believe in you, they see something in you, and it makes you want to work that much harder.”
The Brookdale Foundation offers scholarships to a wide range of students each year, including working class students who don’t qualify for traditional financial aid. This year alone the foundation awarded nearly $430,000 in scholarships to 524 students. In the past 17 years, the Foundation has awarded nearly $5 million in scholarships and grants to over 7,000 students.
For more information about available scholarships at Brookdale, click here.
Check out more photos of the Scholarship Recognition Ceremony here.