First Hamel Scholarship Awarded
Submitted by D. Susan Hayden
As a tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Virginia’s Community Colleges, friends and supporters have fully endowed the Dana B. Hamel Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship, and the first award has been made to a student at John Tyler Community College.
Mercy Mazurek will be the first recipient of the Dana B. Hamel Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship. Mercy is pursuing her degree in chemistry and physics and plans to continue her education to eventually obtain her doctorate. She hopes to become a professor so she too can have an impact on students, just as Dr. Hamel has.
Dana B. Hamel is the first chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, appointed by Governor Mills E. Godwin in 1966. He had arrived in Virginia only a couple of years before, in 1964, to run the Roanoke Technical Institute and then the statewide Department of Technical Education, the precursor to the comprehensive community college system.
After a campaign early this year and a generous contribution from the former chancellor himself, the scholarship fund has now been endowed and holds more than $100,000, to be able to support a student each year.
Mercy, who needs financial assistance due to the loss of her father to cancer in 2011, says she hopes to be working “elbow-deep in mathematics and science,” because those fields are “advancing each and every day. I desire to be a part of a field that requires my education to never come to an end – and I intend to share what I’m currently learning with others in hopes of sparking their love of mathematics and science,” she says. Her goal is to transfer to either the University of Virginia or Virginia Commonwealth University.
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