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Densch Charities donates $2 million to College

The $2 million donation will establish a new scholarship program and also give Wayne Densch Charities naming rights to the Partnership Center on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.

Seminole State College of Florida has received $2 million from the Wayne M. Densch Charities that will be used to establish a scholarship program for first-generation college students.

The donation, which will be distributed in $200,000 increments over 10 years, also gives the Orlando-based Densch trust naming rights to the Partnership Center, a four-story building that opened in 2010 as the centerpiece of the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.

“The college will use this generous donation to establish the Wayne Densch Scholarship, which will provide scholarships and support programs for students who are the first in their families to attend college,” said Dr. E. Ann McGee, president of Seminole State. “Studies show that first-generation college students face unique challenges. Our hope is that this scholarship program will narrow the gap to help make sure these students succeed.”

Research by the College Board found that more than half of first-generation students never graduate. Among the challenges these students face:

  • When parents haven’t graduated from college, they are unable to guide students in navigating the higher education system, including the admissions process and student aid.
  • The students lack experience with time management and money management.
  • The students may feel pressure to enter the workforce immediately and feel guilty about causing financial stress for their parents.

About 25 percent of Seminole State students are the first in their families to attend college, according to Dr. Marcia Roman, vice president of Student Affairs for Seminole State.

“Wayne Densch Charities is dedicated to supporting education and the arts in Central Florida,” Roman says. “This gift to Seminole State College will help students who face additional challenges in meeting their goals. While 85 percent of the annual gift will go to non-endowed scholarships, 15 percent will go to support programs designed to help students graduate. Support programs that address development of the whole person, inside and outside the classroom, impart tremendous value to the individuals, their families and the larger society.”

Those programs will include mentoring, tutoring and assistance with financial planning and budgeting, Roman says. The College expects to implement the Wayne Densch Scholarship program in Fall 2012, with a cohort of students who will complete their first two years of college at Seminole State together.

The Densch donation is the second $2 million gift the Foundation for Seminole State College has received this year. In October, longtime educator Robert J. Schmidt left the College more than $2 million for endowed scholarships.

About the Foundation for Seminole State College: The Foundation is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to enhancing Seminole State College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. Members of the board of directors contribute their management and leadership skills without compensation to support these initiatives. For more information, visit the Foundation homepage.

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