Covanta Niagara presented $250,000 to Niagara County Community College President James P. Klyczek and several members of the NCCC board of trustees, NCCC Foundation board of directors, and NCCC distinguished alumnus State Sen. George Maziarz Tuesday evening.
The presentation was made in the private dining room in Savor, the college's fine dining restaurant in the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. Funds will be used to enhance the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) facilities in the college's proposed Learning Commons on the main campus. This lab will provide students with opportunities to utilize all materials related to their biology, physics, chemistry and engineering sciences courses outside of class hours.
In addition, $100,000 of the funds will be set aside for the Covanta Community Scholarship fund. This endowed scholarship will recognize students with a high level of activity in the community who are seeking to pursue an associate degree in environmental studies or engineering studies at NCCC.
The scholarship represents one of the outreach goals of Covanta's Clean World Initiative by providing tuition assistance and support to area residents pursuing careers in the environmental services and/or renewable energy sector.
"The Niagara Falls community is not only where we work, but also where the majority of us call home, so we are very pleased to provide education and training assistance for local students," said Kevin O'Neil, Covanta Niagara business manager. "It's our hope that with this scholarship and work experience we can help to provide the next generation with the tools they need to have successful careers."
Maziarz said, "As a state senator and proud NCCC alum, I am very pleased to see this substantial investment being made to promote 21st century educational opportunities in our region. The scholarships and the Learning Commons will provide students with the right opportunities for success in our ever-changing economy."
Covanta Niagara owns and operates an energy-from-waste facility in Niagara Falls, which has been converting waste into clean energy since 1980. The electricity and steam produced by the facility supplies surrounding businesses and the regional power grid.
"We are very grateful to Covanta for their commitment to the community and especially to our students," Klyczek said. "Establishing a $100,000 scholarship fund in the NCCC Foundation will provide much-needed assistance to students pursuing careers in renewable energy or environmental services."
Henry Wojtaszek, NCCC board of trustees chairman, said, "Securing community support is essential to our success. Covanta's contribution of $150,000 toward our Learning Commons capital project is further evidence of their support of the college - it's not often a company commits a quarter million dollars for our students!"