Judy Garrett recalls father’s love of teaching in community colleges
December 14, 2009 (El Cajon) – – Honoring a family member’s devotion to community college students during a teaching career spanning more than two decades, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board President Bill Garrett and his wife, Judy, have donated $13,500 to a scholarship fund at each of the district’s two colleges, for a total gift of $27,000.
Judy Garrett, a member of the foundation boards at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, presented a check for Cuyamaca College at the November governing board meeting. A similar donation from the Garretts to Grossmont College was announced at the college’s foundation gala in October.
The couple’s donation in the memory of Judy Garrett’s father, Reynold Stone, augmented by a 50 percent match from the Bernard Osher Foundation, establishes a perpetual $1,000 annual scholarship at each campus.
“Dad was a gentle, unassuming man whose greatest joy came from helping others gain beneficial new skills, whether tutoring his fellow high school students, teaching the radio communications technicians he served with in the Army during World War II, helping his own daughter and son with their homework, or teaching college students electronics, engineering, and computer courses on three different community college campuses,” Judy Garrett said.
Stone taught from 1950-1957 at the New York State Technical Institute’s Binghamton campus recently visited by President Obama, and from 1970-1985, at the Tennessee State Technical Institute’s Chattanooga and Nashville campuses. Over the years, the schools evolved from technical institutes to junior colleges, to now, community colleges. Between teaching jobs, Stone was an electrical and hydraulics systems engineer for Boeing.
Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said the district is “most appreciative” of the Garretts’ contribution.
“We are extremely fortunate to benefit from the philanthropy of Bill and Judy Garrett,” she said. “Their dedication to our entire district is reflected in these very generous gifts that will assist students at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in perpetuity. I trust that Judy’s father would be most pleased.”
The Garretts’ donation to benefit a Grossmont College Osher scholar has been designated to a theater arts student to memorialize Stone’s love of theater.
“After my father and stepmother retired, they traveled throughout the Southeast and Midwest, often planning their sightseeing trips to include musical theater shows, dinner theater productions, and other entertainment,” Judy Garrett said. “To honor that part of their lives, Bill and I donated $13,500 to establish the Reynold Stone Grossmont College Bernard Osher Memorial Scholarship to be awarded to theater arts students.”
The donation to Cuyamaca College honors Stone’s teaching career with the designation of computer and information science students as scholarship recipients.
“My father-in-law had an appreciation for the magic of both the performing arts and the technical world,” Bill Garrett aid. “Whether it was a night at the theater with his wife, or helping a student find the solution to a tricky technical problem, he was a man of broad interests and a zest for life. But above all, he was a teacher at heart.”
Even after retiring in 1985, Stone stayed close to the classroom, volunteering his time teaching computer courses at a senior center and older-driver safety programs for the AAA Club in Nashville, Judy Garrett added.
What is the Osher scholarship?
The 2008 Osher Initiative for California Community College Students included a $50 million commitment to students, marking the single largest gift to a community college system in U.S. history. The initial $25 million from Osher established the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment, which this fall provided Osher scholarships to 1,250 students attending the state’s 110 community colleges. The awards are funded by investment returns, thus creating a perpetual scholarship fund that will help future generations.
At Grossmont College, the $274,000 from the initial endowment brought $500 scholarships this fall to 13 students. Cuyamaca College’s $120,000 benefitted six students.
An additional Osher foundation pledge of $25 million challenges community colleges to raise $50 million by June 30, 2011, thus increasing the community colleges scholarship endowment to $100 million. Based on enrollment, Grossmont’s challenge is to raise $549,000; Cuyamaca’s is to raise $239,000. Investment returns from these sums could fund $1,000 scholarships to as many as 79 students each year. The Osher Foundation has pledged an additional $20 million in endowed scholarships to California community college students transferring to University of California and California State University campuses.
Although community college fees remain low at $26 a unit, other costs such as textbooks, housing, food and transportation are a challenge for many.
“Receiving this scholarship means so very much to me and is something I am very proud of,” said Roxanne Jones, a Grossmont College Osher scholar. “It also gives me a sense of achievement, along with motivation to continue my studies. It is somewhat difficult to concentrate on my studies while worried about books, food, and gas money, all at the same time. The assistance from the Osher Foundation will help to alleviate some of my financial stressors, thus allowing more time to focus on my education.”
The Osher Foundation endowment bolsters financial aid programs at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, where assistance is available in the form of grants, work, loans and scholarships. In 2008, a total $20 million in financial aid was distributed, with nearly half of all students enrolled receiving average awards of $3,000.
Financial aid information, as well as filing forms, are posted at www.grossmont.edu/fa/default.asp and www.cuyamaca.edu/finaid/ Students are encouraged to file college scholarship applications for the spring semester starting Jan. 25. For other information about the district and the colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu. .