Generous donation is largest in school's history
Erie Community College officials gathered during National Nurses Week to formally announce the largest gift in their school's history - a $1.1 million private donation to benefit its nursing program.
"This college has proven to be a leader in training Western New York's workforce," said ECC President Jack Quinn Friday inside the North Campus Kittinger Building. "With a gift like this, we can do our job even better and absolutely look forward to the opportunity to do so."
The donation was made to ECC through the estate of John Thomas Swanson, a California resident whose in-laws were connected to Buffalo and proponents of the college's nursing education. According to Jeffrey Bagel, ECC's associate vice president of the college's foundation and alumni relations, Swanson's belief in the college's career-focused education influenced his tremendous generosity.
"Mr. Swanson recognized the value of community colleges, and specifically the outstanding nursing program at ECC," Bagel said. "It was his core belief that, by investing in ECC, he could provide an incredible tribute and legacy to his mother-in-law, Florence Meldrum, while also providing ECC students an opportunity to continue and excel with their educational endeavors."
Monies will be used to set up an endowment named for Swanson's aforementioned mother-in-law, whose father, Alexander, joined with partners Robert Adam and William Anderson to open Buffalo retail giant AM&A's in 1875. The Florence Meldrum Scholarship Fund will be used to fund scholarships and other financial aid for future students of ECC's nursing program, already one of the college's most popular and sought-after concentrations. This added aid will further increase interest in program entry and, hopefully, influence other donors to support students inside other scholastic directions.
"The ECC Foundation prides itself on individually working with donors to create personalized scholarship opportunities for our students," Bagel said. "This endowed scholarship will not only assist our nursing students in perpetuity, but it also sets a positive example for other donors to create endowed scholarships that will greatly impact the lives of ECC students forever."
Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.