Nearly 400 gather to celebrate scholarships

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The SPSCC Foundation celebrated generosity and perseverance Monday evening during the annual Scholarship Reception.  Scholarship recipients, community donors, and college staff came together, creating an opportunity for donors and recipients to meet in person, share their stories, and make lasting connections within our community. 

Nearly 400 attendees listened intently as Executive Director Tanya Mote and President Tim Stokes welcomed attendees and touched on the importance of removing financial barriers for students.  As they reflected back on the rainy October day reading more than 350 scholarship application letters, and knowing they would only be able to award a portion of those needs, they spoke about the impact that education has on the lives of students, their families, and our community.

Mote reminded the scholarship recipients of the supportive community surrounding them, saying, “We all have pathways that have led us here. Some students came directly from high school to college, others worked then realized education was a pathway to a better quality of life. However you got here, you are welcome at SPSCC, and we are here to support you in your education journey.”

This year’s student speaker, Ryan Patterson, touched the hearts of the attendees as he shared about his journey after high school.  After two years of working retail and almost going to college twice, Ryan found his way back to Olympia in order to find his passion at SPSCC.  A motivated student—with an entrepreneurial spirit like his grandfather—Ryan is pursuing an Associate in Business direct transfer degree in Business and is now in his second year.  He’s the recipi­ent of the Donald V. Rhodes Scholarship in Business Studies, a scholarship that came just as Ryan’s savings got tight and tuition costs seemed impossible.  

In his speech, Ryan shared the impact that the Rhodes family's scholarship had on his journey.  "The amount given to me from this caring couple was not solely about the dollar amount; the scholarship I have been blessed with transcends the simple notion of just a scholarship. The Rhodes had given me a push, a push back onto my path, even when I had started to lose my way. I was given motivation again: the motivation to continue forward with my education."

After he graduates next June, Ryan hopes to attend Saint Martin’s University for Ac­counting, become a CPA, and pursue his dreams in business.

The reception also included a video that featured the stories of several more scholarship recipients, including Kosal Gonzales, a first-generation high school graduate and college student who is a role model for his younger siblings.  Kosal received The Experience Scholarship, funded by the guests at The Experience annual gala.

The Foundation invites the community to help make a difference in the lives of our students:

If you would like to contribute to an existing scholarship or establish a new scholarship with South Puget Sound Community College Foundation, please contact the Foundation Office at 360-596-5430 or learn more online at