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Pen Air Helps Fund Scholarships at Pensacola State

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

For many, Pensacola State College is the first step towards acquiring a higher education. As of Wednesday, they’re getting a six-figure boost from Pen Air Federal Credit Union.

While the $100,000 gift represents a nice, round figure, it has another significance for the school. When the next class graduates in a couple of weeks, the number of graduates will exceed 100,000 since opening in 1948 as Pensacola Junior College.

“We believe and we know that this will help further the mission of the school,” said Stewart Ramsey, Pen Air CEO. “And also have an impact on those students, and ultimately have an impact on the community.”

The money is going to the PSC Alumni Association’s Endowed Scholarship Fund. After the brief ceremony, Ramsey spoke of his firm’s commitment to education in the region.

“Having a good strong education makes a stronger community,” Ramsey said. “Also [it] provides us with great opportunities to hire locally when we have educated people.”

Pensacola State President Ed Meadows told the gathering that the Pen Air “Pacesetter Gift” will be combined with other gifts from past graduates to maximize the number of students benefiting from the financial aid.

The partnership, says Meadows, is a win-win for both the school and the credit union.

“Pen Air is going to benefit from renewed interest in a larger membership base as a result of their efforts in partnering with us,” said Meadows. “And we are certainly going to benefit in being able to provide scholarships.”

Lane Harper, Vice President of the Pensacola State Alumni Association, says the Pen Air gift is being considered the kickoff of an overall fundraising campaign for the alumni scholarship fund, which has no set goal.

“I think it’s pretty open-ended,” Harper said. “It’s [sic] general scholarships. There’s no field, so it’s pretty much open [for] anything we have here at the college.”

Besides helping fund the scholarships, the $100,000 also names the Pen Air Room inside the Edward Chadbourne Library, which hosts seminars and financial literacy classes. PSC President Ed Meadows says it also anchors the Alumni Association to the institution.

“There’s always going to be the mission of generating funds for scholarships,” Meadows said. “And there’s nothing more important when you establish a service to [PSC] to make sure that once that service has been established for our alumni, that we give them a reason for being.”

Add to the Pen Air gift a $200,000 endowment from the Robert H. Kahn Jr. Family Foundation. The first four scholarships from this gift have already been awarded for the upcoming spring semester at PSC.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.