Santa Fe College is celebrating 50 years of service to Alachua and Bradford counties, and its designation as the number one community college in the nation, by embarking on an ambitious scholarship and capital campaign.
Throughout its 50 years, the college has focused on making quality education accessible and affordable to the population it serves, not only in its service area but to students in all 67 Florida counties, all 50 States and more than 100 Countries.
The first is a major scholarship campaign with a goal to raise $5 million in endowed scholarships to be awarded to deserving students in Alachua and Bradford counties.
In addition to the scholarship goal, the Foundation is spearheading the fundraising for a major renovation and addition to the athletics facilities. This project includes a new baseball/softball fieldhouse, as well as a state-of-the-art training facility. Currently in the design phase, this project will not only provide needed locker room facilities for the baseball and softball teams, but also state-of-the-art performance enhancement training opportunities by world class trainers for athletes in every sport.
The Foundation is also raising money to provide for a complete upgrade and expansion of the college’s current, outdated auditorium space with the idea of turning it into a multidiscipline, state-of-the-art facility. The goal is to create a space suitable for student orientation, digital films, fine arts performances, college presentations and the myriad of community requests for a state-of-the-art venue.
Scholarships, provided primarily through endowments, have contributed to the college being named number one in the nation by the prestigious Aspen Institute.
“The Institute pointed to our exceptional work in keeping students on track to graduate with degrees as a major factor in honoring us,” said Foundation Executive Director Chuck Clemons. “Easing their financial burden helps our students stay with their studies until completion.”
Alan Hitchcock, the current president of the Foundation board, is heading both the scholarship and the capital campaigns.
“It’s a wonderful gift to provide scholarships to deserving individuals, giving them an opportunity to get an education and improve their lives,” Hitchcock said.
While Hitchcock and the Foundation will be busy raising private dollars for these projects, the college has begun the planning process for a major expansion of the Blount Center in East Gainesville. The expansion of the Blount Center, and its transition to a full-service campus, will provide a full range of services and opportunities for students on the east side of town. In addition, the increased capacity will allow Santa Fe College to become an integral part of the innovation hub now being developed by the University of Florida in close proximity to the Blount Center.
“Every student, regardless of economic means or family circumstance, deserves the best this college can of fer in terms of a well-rounded education,” said Dr. Jackson Sasser, president of Santa Fe College. “Santa Fe College is, therefore, committed to doing everything it can to provide these opportunities with both public and private resources.”