The Changing Lives Gala, the College Foundation’s annual event for scholarships and student success, was held for a second year at the Welcome Center atrium on November 13th.
The Gala, begun at the downtown campus in 2004, has each year “addressed the cost roadblocks that so many encounter in their pursuit of a post-secondary education and career,” said CCC President Wilfredo Nieves. “This event has moved individual donors and groups to step up to create new scholarships at a time of rising tuition and fees.”
Foundation Chair David Seder welcomed guests and acknowledged sponsors and supporters including Travelers, the 2014 campus sponsor, Atrium sponsor VOYA Financial, Hartford Hospital and the Metro Hartford Alliance. On behalf of the College, Dean of Students Doris Arrington introduced a program that recognized three 2014 Changing Lives Scholars: student Jose Diaz and alumni Colema Walker (’13) and Horace Hamilton (’09).
Diaz, the president of CCC’s Latin American Student Association, was one of five students selected in 2013 for the Crossroads to Careers program (C3) supported by Travelers Insurance Companies — a nationally recognized partnership that has created career opportunities in insurance and transfer to four-year schools for Capital students and students from other institutions since 2007. Colema Walker, now a student at Central Connecticut State University, was also a C3 intern at Capital and continues at Travelers as an IT intern while she pursues her bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. Crossroads, part of Travelers’ Empowering Dreams for Graduation and Employment (EDGE), has spread to other campuses, including CCSU.
Horace Hamilton, who earned his bachelor’s in network technology from CCSU in 2012, is now pursuing his master’s degree. Earlier this year Horace joined the Information Technology staff at Capital, working alongside the faculty whom he credits with giving him his start in higher education and a career. Hamilton left his native Jamaica in 2007 to pursue college with encouragement from his cousin, Capital alumna Nickesha Smallhorne-Davis.
Changing Lives Scholars were introduced by Alumnus and Air Force veteran Brennden Colbert (’13), a member of the Foundation board and founder of Capital’s Rotaract Club.
This year’s gala drew 130 guests and raised $28,000. Since 2010 the College’s Foundation has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships to Capital students through galas and annual contributions.
Seventy percent of all students at Capital qualify for some form of financial aid. More than 90 percent of first-time degree seeking students are eligible for financial aid. A primary goal for the College’s Foundation and its annual fund is reducing the costs of getting to and graduating from college without debt.
Scenes from Changing Lives Gala 2014 – (Riley Johnson photos)
Special thanks to the faculty and staff gala committee and student organizations for their participation: Brennden Colbert, Jane Bronfman, Nancy Casey, Cynthia Recoder, Pat Duclos-Miller, Maryjoan Forstbauer, Horace Hamilton, Jada Jenkins, Nancy LaGuardia, John Lagosz, Lorraine Lee, Amy Lemire, Michael Ligon, Bruce Miller, The CCC Rotaract Club and the Latin American Student Association.