MOUNT VERNON — The annual Friends of the Campus event held recently at the COTC Knox Campus had a unique flavor this year as COTC leaders pledged their ongoing commitment to serve the Knox County community. After a much-publicized enrollment decline this fall semester, COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D., reassured the group that the college is unwavering in its commitment to Knox County and to keeping the Ariel Hall facility open for business. “COTC’s extended campuses fulfill the core of our mission as we work to meet the education and training needs of the Knox County community,” commented Coe. “I have elevated oversight of these campuses to the Office of the President and expect each one to play a vital role in the strategic positioning of the college as we move forward.”
Coe reported to the group that despite not meeting fall enrollment goals, the college’s quick response and plan will erase the potential $3.75 million deficit that had been created. The college will remain financially sound with adequate reserves and no external debt.
The Friends of the Knox Campus event, established in 2009 to engage donors who had participated in the Knox Campus Capital Campaign, provides the college with an opportunity to give a state-of-the-college update every fall. This year the group was expanded to include donors who had given to the Next Generation Challenge, a scholarship campaign that concluded in June 2012 and raised close to $21 million. Inclusion of the Next Generation Scholarship donors increased the Knox Friends of the Campus to nearly 300 individuals.
Matt Kelly, COTC’s director of development, recognized the incredible support for education and commitment to access evident by the $21 million in pledges to the recent scholarship campaign. Kelly reported the scholarship dollars are already hard at work: 15 scholarships were awarded to COTC students this fall semester and the number of students receiving scholarships is expected to grow exponentially in the near future. “There is the potential for a campaign of this magnitude to generate 550 new scholarships each year, which is an incredible competitive advantage for the college and a wonderful opportunity for hundreds of students every year in perpetuity.”
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