2023 Scholarship Dinner Brings Recipients and Donors Face-to-Face …. Many for First t Time … on Oct. 19 as Del Mar College Foundation Marked 40th Anniversary
Over $2 million from both Foundation and designated scholarship awards combined currently impacting 950 DMC students this academic year; Foundation honored Dr. Imelda Delgado’s $100,000 Planned Giving Scholarship commitment while recognizing three students
Article by Melinda Eddleman
Scholarships can be life-changing. Students getting the chance to share with donors how scholarships are making their dreams possible through education is priceless.
For Del Mar College (DMC) students, that opportunity occurred during the DMC Foundation’s 2023 Scholarship Dinner held Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Windward Campus with both recipients and donors meeting face-to-face…many for the first time. The event gave scholarship recipients a chance to share with benefactors their personal stories and show appreciation for their support. Donors included individuals who have given directly to the DMC Foundation as well as those representing outside organizations that have awarded scholarships to DMC students.
Donors make life-changing investments that impact the lives of our students with supporters being individuals, private foundations and industry partners. The Foundation’s annual Scholarship Dinner recognizes their generous support as a celebration of philanthropy and people while connecting our scholarship recipients with the individuals and organizations making higher education attainable for them.
This year’s event also marked a milestone––the DMC Foundation’s 40th anniversary.
Among the individuals credited with starting the College’s Foundation are late former DMC presidents Dr. Jean Richardson and Buddy R. Venters, Corpus Christi businessman and philanthropist Eugene “Gene” Bouligny, retired DMC Executive Director of Strategic Communication and Government Relations Claudia Jackson and Dr. Edgar Cortes, Jr., DMC alumnus and former DMC Board of Regent and Foundation Trustee whose wife––Dr. Imelda Delgado––was recognized for her $100,000 commitment as a Planned Giving donor.
Busby noted that since 2010 alone, more than $20 million in DMC Foundation scholarships and privately-funded student emergency aid has been awarded to over 16,450 students attending Del Mar College.
For the 2023-2024 academic year, $1,842,549 has been awarded to 802 students in DMC Foundation scholarships while 148 students have received $248,569 with funding coming from external organizations. The Foundation manages a total of 276 scholarship funds.
Currently overall, 950 DMC students have received over $2 million combined in support for their education at Del Mar College.
The Scholarship Dinner featured videos highlighting three recipients for this academic year as well as Dr. Imelda Delgado, who has committed to a $100,000 Planned Giving Scholarship donation, which is a gift that does not become active until the donor’s passing. Dr. Delgado is a DMC retiree, Hall of Fame inductee and a Del Mar College alumna.
Long before the College began offering Dual Credit programming, DMC Music Department founder C. Burdett Wolfe recruited Dr. Delgado as a Music major after hearing the young pianist play a recital in McAllen, Texas, while she was still a junior in high school. Wolfe convinced Dr. Delgado and her family that she was ready for college … Del Mar College.
Dr. Delgado moved to Corpus Christi and attended W.B. Ray High School in the mornings and then took classes at DMC late in the afternoon and evenings to complete both her high school diploma and first two years of music study at a time when faculty in the department were very limited in number and stage performances were held at Roy Miller High School because the College didn’t have a stage.
Dr. Delgado made her living at this time (mid-1950s) as an accompanist and was paid 50 cents an hour. She also relied on scholarships to get through school.
I would never have been able to go to college without the scholarships at Del Mar. I had a tremendous experience and opportunity, being taught by first-rate musicians, accompanying first-rate singers who were on the faculty and learning the literature for soloist and the literature for accompanist.
And, Dr. Delgado credits becoming a firs-rate musician herself by completing her studies at Del Mar College and then moving on to study at The University of Texas at Austin and Indiana University.
Regarding the Planned Giving Scholarship, she noted, “I wanted to honor C. Burdette Wolfe because he began the Music Department, he began the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and he opened the doors for me to come to college.”
The Scholarship Dinner attendees also saw unique stories from students who have received scholarships for this academic year.
Process Technology major Amanda Wright, a recipient of the Chemours Future of Chemistry Scholarship, found herself raising three boys on her own and supporting her family by cleaning houses.
“I found myself contemplating, ‘Is this something I’m going to do for the rest of my life,’” she said, noting that she recalled 10 years earlier she had an opportunity to work at a plant to become an operator and reflected that seizing that prospect “would have given my children a better life by getting out of our daily financial struggles.”
Even though she still faces weekly and monthly challenges, Wright noted, “Scholarships have meant a lot to me because now I don’t have to only put a hundred dollars down on a bill. I can just go pay it off that semester so services don’t get turned off.”
Wright said that even small donations mean so much to people who don’t have it. “And, anyone who can do that and give from their heart … it empowers, inspires and touches people who are recipients of these scholarships.”
Ethan Sullivan’s story showed no less a need for scholarship support, too.
The Drama major said about himself, “Growing up, my mother was a victim of the Opioid crisis, and so that led into a longer history of drug abuse. It was very difficult for my family.” His parents divorced when he was around age 10.
He also recalled that mending his relationship with his mother took several years, but he figured out what had happened and what his mother’s addiction meant as he grew older.
Becoming his biggest supporter last fall, Sullivan’s mother saw his first performance as a freshman at Del Mar College, Shakespeare’s “A Mid-summer Night’s Dream.” The production was the first and only performance she saw.
Sullivan’s mother died this past January with the young actor losing his “number one fan.”
His Sue Sellors Finley Drama Endowed Scholarship now allows him to pay for books, tuition, food and even gas to drive to auditions.
It’s a wonderful gift. And, as I become an adult and learn what it means to go into this career to make it my passion, my dream and to keep fighting, [the scholarship has] been an incredible gift that keeps me going.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2024, the Foundation will start taking scholarship applications for the next academic year, which is 2024-2025. Donations can be arranged year-round.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.