$1 million gift speaks volumes
Pity the director of alumni giving at community colleges. What happens all too often is their graduates go on to attend other colleges and universities, and they direct their charitable gifts to the last school they attend.
That’s one reason the Zucker family’s $1 million gift to Trident Technical College is even more valuable than one might think. In addition to allowing the school to purchase technology and provide student scholarships, the gift sends a message about TTC’s vital role in the regional landscape. It also should inspire TTC alumni to support their alma mater.
The Zuckers have made significant contributions to education in the Lowcountry — with their time and energy as well as their wealth. By choosing TTC for this high-profile gift, they are recognizing that the school does what many other colleges do not: It offers an affordable avenue to higher education. For some it is a stepping stone to a four-year degree at another college. For others, it is an opportunity to learn skills that can help them be successful in a competitive job market.
It is no wonder that TTC enrollment has increased dramatically over the years.
That is good news for economic development. Trident Tech tailors some of its programs to meet specific needs of businesses and industries in the region. Companies like Boeing consider that a valuable asset when deciding whether to locate or expand their operations here. It is no coincidence that TTC offers courses in airplane maintenance and assembly.
The range of programs reflects the community’s needs. TTC offers more than 150 programs of study, including business technology, nursing, culinary arts, engineering and criminal justice as well as humanities.
Anita Zucker, chief operating officer of The InterTech Group, is herself a community college graduate who worked her way through school as a teaching assistant. After completing a two-year program at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., she graduated from the University of Florida. Her personal success since then is, in part, a dramatic testament to the value of community colleges.
Trident Technical College is in the middle of a campaign to raise $3.5 million for technology and scholarships. The Zuckers’ gift pushes the amount already raised to $2.6 million.
It is an extraordinarily generous donation, and an investment in the community that is sure to produce impressive educational and economic dividends.