Cover Stories

Education for All: St. Louis Community College Foundation

This year, St. Louis Community College (STLCC) is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The milestone means six decades of providing opportunities in higher education to students from all backgrounds. With the steep cost of tuition continuing to rise and many career opportunities requiring a degree or accreditation, that mission is more important than ever. The school’s foundation is dedicated to uplifting the community and empowering students through scholarships, events, alumni support and more.

STLCC has many notable alumni, including St. Louis’s public safety director Dan Isom and Bank of America St. Louis president Marilyn Bush. For Isom, the school provided the opportunity to earn a degree in criminal justice while working for the police department. After graduating and being promoted to sergeant, he also served as an instructor at the college. “I strongly believe in the diversity of education and job readiness that STLCC provides at an affordable cost,” he says. “It is critical for all parts of our community that we have an institution that can provide opportunities for all.

Similarly, Bush was able to earn her degree while working. She joined the STLCC Foundation board in 2016, and as an employer herself, she has a different perspective on the critical services the school offers. “I’ve been really impressed by the variety of educational paths STLCC provides,” she notes. “At Bank of America, we are committed to supporting innovative ways to advance racial and economic equality through education.” The bank recently donated $1 million to the school to create a jobs initiative program to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce.

To further its mission, STLCC launched the Opportunity for All campaign. The initiative is focused on three areas: investing in high demand educational opportunities like health care and finance programs, strengthening employment and workforce certification, and providing students a path to education that does not require taking on substantial debt. “We want our students to enter the workforce without the burden of student loans,” chancellor Jeff Pittman, Ph.D. says. “It provides opportunity not only for students attending the college, but also for the benefit of employers in our region.”

The college also is undergoing a major renovation thanks to the STLCC Transformed program. “We consulted the community about raising our tax levy to provide us the funds necessary to update our more mature facilities into state-of-the-art learning environments and expand high need workforce programs,” Pittman says. “Now, we have the support to ensure our campuses are where they need to be to meet the needs of our students.” The renovations began with a new Center for Nursing and Health Science on the school’s Forest Park campus in 2019.

Initiatives like Opportunity for All and STLCC Transformed are possible in part thanks to STLCC Foundation fundraisers. On Feb. 19, the nonprofit will host its Falling In Love … In Five Courses gala. Held at the Four Seasons St. Louis, the event features a menu prepared by two-time James Beard Award-nominee chef G. Garvin, STLCC executive pastry chef Casey Shiller and students from the college’s culinary arts program. “It’s an opportunity to recognize STLCC’s 60-year history,” Bush says. “I’m most excited to hear from students and celebrate how the school has transformed their lives.”

The St. Louis Community College Foundation is dedicated to removing barriers to higher education through scholarships, community events and more. Its Falling in Love … in Five Courses event is Feb. 19 at The Four Seasons St. Louis. Pictured on the cover: Celebrity chef, restaurateur and cookbook author G. Garvin. For more information, call 314.539.5472 or visit stlcc.edu/about/foundation.

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo courtesy of St. Louis Community College Foundation

Pictured at top: Alumna Marilyn Bush, Chancellor Jeff Pittman, Ph.D.
Photos courtesy of St. Louis Community College Foundation

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