COC receives Rotary Club donation

From left: James Kneblik (COC Foundation Director), Jill Mellady (COC Foundation Board of Directors Co-Chair), Cindy Schwanke (COC Culinary Arts Instructor), Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook (COC Chancellor), Linda Pedersen (Rotary Club of Santa Clarita Vocational Chair), Michelle Rey (COC Foundation Executive Director), Michael Joslin (COC Associate Vice President of Student Services) and Glenn Terry (Rotary Club of Santa Clarita President). Courtesy photo

College of the Canyons has received a $9,500 donation from the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita, which will be divided equally to establish a scholarship fund for culinary arts students and the college’s Basic Needs Center (BaNC).

The one-time grant will make it possible to award four expendable scholarships to culinary students and cover the general operational costs of the BaNC.

“While the Rotary organization has been a strong supporter historically of the College and COC students, we are proud to see this renewed and ongoing support,” said COC Foundation Executive Director Michelle Rey.

The donation was presented to the college on Jan. 22 by Rotary SCV President Glenn Terry and SCV Rotary Vocational Chair Linda Pedersen.

“Because there is a relationship between COC’s Institute for Culinary Education and our community’s restaurants, the grant seemed a perfect fit for a college program that benefits community businesses as well as students,” said Pedersen. “Rotary thinks these scholarships, and the students that they support, will provide one more link in a beneficial community interaction.”

COC’s relationship with Rotary can be traced back to when the college first opened its doors in 1969. The COC president and assistant superintendent at the time, Robert Rockwell and Charles Rheinschmidt, respectively, were both members of the club.

In addition to creating a scholarship for culinary arts students, the donation will help the college’s BaNC meet the needs of housing- and food-insecure students. Opened in 2019, the BaNC provides currently enrolled students with free food, clothing, personal hygiene items, shower kits, on-site microwave access, and specialty items.

“I can remember what it was like living on my own and trying to make ends meet,” said Terry, who attended COC before becoming an insurance account executive. “We want to take those concerns out of the equation so that students can focus on school.”

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