Over 120 golfers enjoyed a beautiful fall day at Jefferson Landing for the 21st Annual WAW Scholarship Golf Tournament and the first one hosted by the Wilkes Community College Foundation.

Deemed a huge success, the tournament raised $160,000 for the Wilkes Community College (WCC) Education Promise scholarship program. Phil Stevens, WAW advisory board president and foundation board member, also presented Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president a check of over $41,000 from the $1.5M endowment fund that has been raised from the golf tournament over the last 20 years. “We greatly appreciate all the participants that have supported the tournament over the years and look forward to much success in the years to come,” said Stevens.

The WCC Education Promise scholarship program, made possible by the WAW Scholarship Endowment board of directors and Diane and Larry Stone of Wilkesboro, N.C., is a two-year, last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition and fees not covered by state or federal grants or other scholarships. The scholarship was designed to ensure that every qualifying student graduating from high school in Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties can get a college education from Wilkes Community College tuition-free.

According to the American Community Survey (2014-2018) by the U.S. Census Bureau (2020), seven in 10 residents of Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties have less than an associate degree. Stevens noted, “We need more citizens completing a college credential and we felt that by establishing this fund, we could accomplish this goal.”

The WCC Education Promise campaign emphasizes the fact that a college education benefits individuals and their families (or future families) through higher incomes, better health, higher job satisfaction, lower chance of unemployment, and more civic engagement. It also benefits the community. A college education is associated with a stronger workforce for local business and industry, stronger economic development potential, greater civic engagement, and lower poverty. According to a 2015 EMSI report, 75% of people with an associate degree earn more than $20 per hour versus 80% of people with only a high school diploma earning less than $20 per hour. Therefore, community college is where that threshold is crossed into a more financially viable future.

We anticipate granting scholarships to 135 students per year with an annual projected cost of $350,000. To fully endow the program so it exists in perpetuity in our community, we are looking to raise $8.5 million. “We encourage everyone who has a heart for students and seeing their educational journey fulfilled to be a part of this historic program for Wilkes Community College,” stated Allison Phillips, VP of Institutional Advancement. For more information about the WCC Education Promise scholarship or how to make a donation to the program, contact Allison Phillips at 336-838-6491 or alphillips068@wilkescc.edu.