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Lawson State Foundation Establishes Hall Endowed Scholarship Keynote Speaker Donna Brazile Presents First Contribution to Fund

5/7/2010

LAWSON STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
3060 Wilson Road
Birmingham, AL 35221

NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Geri Albright
Director of Public Relations
(205) 929-6315
(205) 370-8201
galbright@lawsonstate.edu

Lawson State Foundation Establishes Hall Endowed Scholarship Keynote Speaker Donna Brazile Presents First Contribution to Fund

BIRMINGHAM, AL, MAY 7, 2010 - When the annals of time are turned, the wson State Community College Foundation Gala 2010 will have marked two significant milestones – the establishment of the Dr. Ethel H. Hall Endowed Scholarship to provide student scholarships and the recognition of the 60th Anniversary of Lawson State Community College. Approximately 900 persons, including the Lawson State family, sponsors, corporate and community partners, elected officials and other guests were present to support the Foundation efforts and celebrate the legacies of service.

“What a wonderful and breathtaking night this has been. Seldom am I lost for words, but you got me tonight,’ said Dr. Ethel H. Hall, Vice President Emerita of the Alabama Board of Education. “I want to thank you individually and collectively because I’ve learned from you. You’ve helped me to do my job. Dr. Ward and Lawson State – Thank you for letting me be a part of this family.” Dr. Hall, who has served as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education since 1987, was Vice President from 1994 to 2004, and ultimately honored with the distinction of Vice President Emerita by fellow board members.

Dr. Perry W. Ward, president of Lawson State Community College who has had the opportunity to serve under the leadership of Dr. Hall, spoke of her profound influence on Lawson State and our lives. “Dr. Hall has had an impact on us all either directly or indirectly with her wisdom, with her grace, her knowledge and skills in working with people in a variety of situations. “

Dr. Ward also announced the creation of the Dr. Ethel Harris Hall Scholarship fund that will serve both campuses, Birmingham and Bessemer," and said, "that all the students who come through the hallowed halls of Lawson State to know that there was an outstanding board member who had significant influence.”

Several speakers traveled from various locations to share their personal and professional recounts of Dr. Hall. Remembering and reflecting on those days were Mrs. Ann McMillan, community volunteer; Dr. Joe Morton, Alabama State Superintendent; Dr. Freida Hill, Chancellor, Alabama Community College System and Dr. Fred Gainous, former Chancellor, Alabama Community College System. A surprise participant was Walter Turner, local businessman and Lawson State alumnus, who credited that wonderful ‘short lady’ for her influence in his life.

The evening gala featured keynote speaker Donna Brazile, who is a CNN Political Strategist, university professor and an author. Brazille, who deeply believes in the importance of education, was one of the first to commit to the Dr. Ethel H. Hall Endowed Scholarship with a personal check in the amount of $500.00. “You are sitting among a giant, someone who is not just known in the state of Alabama, but also throughout the country,” Brazile said. “Her (Dr. Hall’s) service to education has been tireless, her devotion to education, inspring and of course, she is the in the words of the poet Maya Angelou, a phenomenal woman.”

As a special gift to Dr. Hall, New South Books announced that the publication date of her soon to be released book, “A Memoir of the First African-American to Preside Over the Alabama Board of Education” would be July 2010. “Dr. Hall, your book is going to be a tremendous success and I can’t wait to tweet it and to put it on my Facebook page,” said Brazille. “I hope that you sign my book and I want to make sure that my students at Georgetown know of your life and your commitment to education.”

An echo in Brazile’s message was the importance of education. She identified the $2 billion dollars for community colleges over the next four years and the $40 billion dollars for pell grants contained in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. “President Obama supports community colleges. He understands that community colleges are building the workforce of tomorrow as well as retooling the workforce of today,” she said. “This is a reason to celebrate.”

“Because of my love for education, because of my dedication to help train the next generation, I’ve been honored to have taught at the University of Maryland, College Park; Georgetown University, where I am today; Harvard’s Institute of Public Policy, Rutgers University. Education is my passion; it’s what I believe in, it is what I am willing to work hard for,” said Brazille.

Repeating one of her grandmother’s favorite verses in Galatians, Brazile said, “Don’t grow weary in doing good,for in due time, you will reap the harvest if you don’t give up. My friends for 60 years (at Lawson) you have provided a way out of nowhere. You have provided so many with a passport to their dreams, said Brazile. “Tonight I hope you join me in dedicating yourselves to ensuring that the next 60 years will not be so hard, that you too will make a donation to the Ethel H. Hall Scholarship Fund.”

"This is our moment and our time to do what’s right and to keep education our number one priority. And to make sure that every child gets a head start and a healthy start in life," said Brazile.  "If you did all of that, then Ethel Hall will say that her work is complete but her journey will continue. Thank you to Lawson State.”

In the Foundation appeal, Board Director Robert Dickerson thanked Brazile for her remarks and for the check. He also, on behalf of the Foundation President, Tim Lewis, and the entire Board, thanked all in attendance for their support of education and the Lawson State Foundation. “Your support will continue to give young people the opportunity for education and to be educated at Lawson State,” Dickerson said.

About Lawson State Community College

Lawson State Community College a public, two-year, multi-campus college, opened its doors in 1949 offering trade programs for students throughout the state. Today, through mergers and campus additions, Lawson State now offers a variety of degrees and certificates to a diversified and growing student population. Over its sixty-year history, and especially in recent years, the College has significantly increased enrollment, expanded the curriculum, enhanced relations with business and industry, and improved the college’s capital outlay. The college now enrolls approximately 8,000 credit and non-credit students on campuses in Birmingham and Bessemer.

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