State Fair Community College

'Sapphire Soiree' gala raises more than $133,300

Posted 3/18/2013
SEDALIA—The State Fair Community College Foundation’s March 9 “Sapphire Soirée” gala raised more than $133,300 for student scholarships and programs, the most ever raised by the event.

Proceeds from the fifth annual fundraising evening of dining, “Sedalia Stars” dancing, chances for a sapphire ring, and a live auction that included opportunities to create new scholarships will be used for student scholarships and programs.

Audience members endowed four new $10,000 scholarships:

• Dr. Harold Daum donated $10,000 for a scholarship to benefit art students

• Ron, Steve, and Sam Ditzfeld donated $10,000 to endow a scholarship for student athletes.

• Sue Heckart donated $10,000 to create the Stella L. Heckart Endowed Music Scholarship in honor of her mother, and surprised retiring President Dr. Marsha K. Drennon by endowing a $10,000 scholarship in her honor.

She also announced she was renaming an existing Heckart family scholarship the Jacqueline Almquist Endowed Scholarship in honor of Almquist, who has served as executive director of the foundation since 2007 and has moved to Omaha, Neb.

• John and Lori Swearingen donated $10,000 to endow a scholarship for business students.

• Trane pledged $5,000 to create a scholarship.

Audience members also gave one-time donations of $200, $500 and $1,000 for scholarships or programs of their choosing.

Drennon also announced the foundation had recently received more than $1.28 million in gifts and pledges from several donors:

• The Sylvia G. Thompson Charitable Trust pledged $705,000 over five years to expand the nursing program to include evening and weekend classes.

• Jim and Barbara Lamy Cooney announced plans to donate $250,000 from her estate to the Cooney Endowment for the Arts Scholarship, which she created in November 2012 with $10,000.

• The estate of Leona Schenewark Larson donated a 116-acre farm to the foundation, which sold for $225,000. The money will establish the Leona Schenewark Larson and Pauline Schenewark Wheeler Scholarship for high school graduates in Pettis, Benton, Henry, and Johnson counties. Larson died last year at age 91.

• The estates of Robert W. Mason and his son, Mark W. Mason, donated $100,000 to be used for scholarships for nontraditional students. The foundation last year received a $500,000 donation from the estates for student scholarships.

More than 260 people attended the gala in the Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts on campus. Honorary chairperson was foundation board member Joe Fischer.

Photo galleries of the evening may be viewed online at

DVDs of the evening’s entertainment are available for $12. To place an order, contact local photojournalist Randy Kirby at (660) 827-2425.

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