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Warner Memorial Scholarship makes difference for nursing student

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation is proud to announce the first recipient of the Michael E. Warner Memorial Scholarship, which was established in honor of a longtime member of its Board of Directors.

The scholarship was initiated by Roanoke businessman Geoffrey M. Ottaway, who sought to honor his friendship with Warner after he passed away in 2013. In subsequent years, the Warner family and the Educational Foundation hosted a golf tournament at Hunting Hills Country Club that benefited the scholarship fund.

Erika Buck of Roanoke was named the first recipient of the Warner scholarship, which covers all costs for tuition, books and other related fees for a full-time student with a minimum 3.0 GPA enrolled in and pursuing a degree in Nursing or certificate in Practical Nursing at Virginia Western. Buck is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Nursing (RN) degree and maintains a 3.89 GPA.

A nontraditional student, Buck worked as a phlebotomist full time while attended the College to complete her nursing program prerequisites. Her goal is to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and ultimately specialize as a critical care nurse.

“Thanks to this scholarship, I’m one step closer to achieving my goal,” Buck said. “I’m excited to finish and become a nurse.”

Warner’s widow, Carolyn, said the scholarship honors the healthcare workers who assisted her husband when he became ill. “I was so taken with the nurses who took care of my husband,” she said. “I think Mike would be happy, too, knowing that this scholarship was now available.”

CCAP: Building tomorrow’s leaders

In Spring 2017, Cassidy Peters graduated from Virginia Western with an associate in science degree, Phi Theta Kappa honors and dreams of becoming a health care administrator in the mold of Lisa Cuddy on Fox TV’s “House, M.D.”

What brought you to Virginia Western?

I am a first-generation college student. I live in Ferrum, my family is not super-wealthy. I had no idea how to really do the college thing.

But a Virginia Western advisor approached me in high school and told me about CCAP, how I could go tuition-free if I met all of the requirements. A Franklin County High School teacher also told me about my options with the transfer program.

It seemed like an easy decision to me. I was good for two years and I had all the advising help I needed. To me, I knew this was the best option because — while I’ve never held $20,000 in my hands — I know I don’t want to pay it a year.

What would you have done without CCAP?

My first semester here was a little shaky. I don’t think high school students know how to study. It’s a difficult transition, to try to teach yourself a lot. If I’d gone to a four-year school, my GPA would not be as good as it is and I’d have student loans. And I think I wouldn’t have been as grown up – I really grew up here. I really know what I want now.

What are your plans after Virginia Western?

I am transferring to Jefferson College of Health Sciences to get a bachelor’s in health sciences and then hope to become a physician’s assistant. But my ultimate goal is to get a master’s in healthcare administration. I want to be Cuddy and help run a hospital. I very much crave leadership – a good leader can bring out the best in people.  And I like the idea of saving lives and making that as efficient as possible.

What role did the advisors at Virginia Western play in that decision?

It was my business advisor here who told me, “Hey, you can get your MBA but also have a strong health tie.’ I had no idea that even existed.

What I noticed is when you talk to advisors at four-year schools, the only thing they market to you is their school. Here, the difference is their goal is to get you to your end goal – not just to this school. You guys were looking more at the big picture instead of just selling me on the school.

How important is CCAP in Franklin County?

CCAP really does mean the difference between a kid having to take years off to earn money for school or not. It really is a door for a lot of kids. Because without it, they couldn’t afford it. Like me — I never had parents who went to college. They didn’t know how to take out a student loan or what a FAFSA was. I really had to figure it out by myself. I’m grateful I had two years here to grow up and figure that out myself.

Call for nominations for Distinguished Alumni Award

For many individuals, the road to lifetime achievement started at Virginia Western Community College.  The Virginia Western Alumni Association established the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 to recognize those alumni who have achieved outstanding success and made a lasting impact on their community. The award highlights the diversity of Virginia Western graduates and their impact on the community.

The 2017 Distinguished Alumni honoree was Dr. Carol Swain, a nationally recognized author, public speaker and political commentator.

Anne Hogan (’76), a previous honoree, serves as chairwoman of the Virginia Western Alumni Association.

Eligibility requirements:

To be eligible for nomination, the candidate must:

  • Be a graduate of or have completed a minimum of two semesters at Virginia Western Community College.
  • Have attained extraordinary distinction and success in his or her profession or life.
  • Be a person of such integrity and stature that the College will take pride in his or her recognition.
  • Have attained regional, statewide or national prominence and significant involvement in civic, cultural or charitable affairs.

How to nominate:

Anyone may nominate a Virginia Western Community College alumna/us or former student for this award by completing a nomination form.  This form can be submitted online or downloaded from the College’s website at virginiawestern.edu/alumni:

Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form 2018 – PDF

Distinguished Alumni Form 2018 – Online

Two letters of reference are also required.

Deadline: Nominations must be received by Feb. 28, 2018.

For more information, contact Amanda Mansfield, Donor Relations Coordinator, Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, at amansfield@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6962.