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The Honorable Judge Sara Smolinski celebrates as emcee at GRCC's 100th Anniversary Gala.

GRCC Foundation 100th Anniversary Gala

As GRCC celebrates 100 years of meeting the educational needs of West Michigan during the 2014-15 academic year, the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation is celebrating 50 years of supporting GRCC students through scholarships. These milestones were celebrated at GRCC's 100th Anniversary Gala on Oct. 14, 2014.

The evening began as guests strolled through a living timeline depicting the people, images and events that defined each decade of the college's history.

The program began with GRCC Alumni and spoken-word artist Azizi Jasper whose performance "Tomorrow, Today" welcomed guests to celebrate what GRCC will be for the next 100 years. Judge Sara Smolenski emceed the event and welcomed to the stage John Kennedy, Gov. Snyder, Sen. Stabenow, and GRCC Foundation Board Chair Dave Custer who each shared their perspective of the powerful impact the college has on West Michigan, and how their unique personal relationship with GRCC has developed into an unwavering support of Grand Rapids Community College.

Mayor Heartwell lead an invocation before dinner was served. Dinner was prepared and served with the assistance of GRCC's Secchia Institute for Culinary Education students and faculty. Throughout the evening guests were entertained by GRCC Music Department students from the Madrigal Singers, Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir.

During his keynote speech GRCC's President, Dr. Steven C. Ender, emphasized the role the college plays in allowing students from all walks of life access to a high-quality education - whether they earn credentials and begin a career, or transfer to a four-year college or university. Dr. Ender went on to say that sometimes a scholarship means the difference between a student attending college or not, and announced that $1.3 million dollars had been raised over the last 18 months for the newly established "Promise for the Future" scholarship fund in honor of our 100th anniversary. This includes contributions from 84 gala sponsors, who combined with individual ticket sales, were represented by more than 960 guests at the gala.

There are approximately 800 student scholarships awarded annually through the GRCC Foundation. This equates to more than $600,000 in scholarship awards each year. The "Promise for the Future" scholarship will allow the foundation to grant more scholarships each year.