Over the 26 years that Jack and Gail Debnam have owned Western Carolina Properties, they’ve noticed the essential role Southwestern Community College plays in the region.
SCC’s ability to quickly adapt to the changing needs of Jackson, Macon, Swain Counties and the Qualla Boundary was the primary reason the Debnams decided recently to give $1,000 to the college’s Student Success Campaign.
“SCC offers a product that’s more agile than the typical higher education,” Jack Debnam said. “They try to meet the demand of what our population and businesses need, and they’re better aligned to do that.”
The most ambitious fundraising effort in the Southwestern Community College Foundation’s history, the Student Success Campaign aims to narrow the gap between scholarship need and availability by raising more than $1 million through community’s generosity and with the help of a federal challenge grant.
Every dollar donated up to approximately $300,000 will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the U.S. Department of Education.
“Generous gifts like the one the Debnams made are going to make it possible for more students than ever before to get a quality education at Southwestern,” said Mary Otto Selzer, director of the SCC Foundation. “We are pleased that Jack and Gail are so keenly aware of Southwestern’s significant impact on the region, and we are thrilled by their support.”
The Debnams’ daughter Cori and son-in-law Jason attended SCC, and Jack Debnam said he’s particularly impressed by the fact that 90 percent of Southwestern graduates remain in the area after receiving their degrees, diplomas and/or certificates.
“As a commissioner, I’m a firm believer in supporting our local community,” Jack Debnam said. “Through SCC, you get more bang for your buck.”