Haywood Community College’s Forestry Class of 1969 has established a scholarship fund for HCC Natural Resources students. The annual scholarship of $500 will be awarded in each fall semester. The first scholarship was awarded in the fall of 2012 to 2013 Fish and Wildlife graduate Amber Swicegood.

Members of this class wanted to start this scholarship to honor early forestry instructors Jack Brodhage, Walter Rice, and Bill Siebert. In addition, they want to give the opportunity for an excellent Natural Resources education to a deserving student.

Members of the Class of 1969 are involved in the screening and award selection of the scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a full-time student with a grade point average of at least 2.5 and a letter of recommendation.

“The members of this class are very passionate about HCC and the natural resources programs here. They want to give back and grow these programs while sharing how HCC gave them direction in their lives,” explains Sherri Myers, HCC Director of Institutional Advancement. “It is wonderful to see the interest and desire on behalf of alumni to support current students. I hope graduates of other programs see the importance of a scholarship of this kind and will start their own.”

When Ron Davis, a member of the Class of ’69, came to HCC fresh out of high school in Tennessee, he did not know what to expect. What he found was a welcoming environment where his classmates became his friends and those friendships still remain today. In addition, he used his education from HCC as a stepping stone to further his education at the University of Tennessee. He is now retired from a successful and fulfilling career from the Tennessee Valley Authority where he headed up the environmental department.

“It was important for me to be a part of establishing this scholarship because of what my education at HCC did to help me in my career,” Davis explains. “I also had a desire to reconnect with the college and my classmates. One of the most important reasons for being involved is to be able to help others that are excited about their future and a career in natural resources.”

Davis says his wish for the recipients of the Class of ’69 Natural Resources Scholarship is that they have a great college experience. “I hope they are able to have a great long, successful, and fulfilling career and life.”

For Swicegood, she hopes to start a successful career in the field. She finished HCC this May. “I want to work outdoors with wildlife and try to make a difference,” the Lexington, NC native explains. “Eventually, I want to continue my education at NCSU.”

At HCC, Swicegood was the secretary of the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society and a tutor in the college’s Teaching and Learning Center. She received the Outstanding Fish and Wildlife Management Student for Academic Excellence and Professional Involvement Award.

Another ’69 alum, Steve Sorrells, also wants to make the HCC Natural Resources education a reality for a deserving student. Like Davis, Sorrells continued his education after leaving HCC. He received a degree in horticulture from NC State. He taught at HCC for five years and worked for the Department of Agriculture for 10 years. Since finishing college, he has always had a nursery and greenhouse and just recently retired. In addition, Sorrells serves on HCC’s Board of Trustees.

“It was important to me to give back to the school that has done so much for me,” Sorrells says of wanting to be a part of establishing the HCC Class of ’69 Natural Resources Scholarship.

There are several ways to donate to the HCC Class of ’69 Natural Resources Scholarship. For more information, please contact Myers at 627-4544 or symyers@haywood.edu.