Blackburn College hosts Scholarship Dinner
By: JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
On Feb. 15, the 29th annual Macoupin County Scholarship dinner and auction was held at Woodson Hall on the Blackburn College campus.
The event was made possible through the Macoupin County Scholarship Fund, which was created in 1990 through the efforts of the Honorable John Russell and Norma Dunn. Russell and Dunn recruited local community members that were committed to the idea of providing scholarships to Macoupin County students that had chosen Blackburn to serve on the first governing board.
The first speaker of the evening was master of ceremony Pete Genta, Russell’s son.
“He was a tremendous supporter of our local community,” said Genta as he remembered his fallen family member. “He was also very creative and a great guy.”
This year’s scholarship recipients are Annamarie Cosenza of Carlinville (junior, graphic arts), Josephine Manar of Bunker Hill (sophomore, elementary education), Megan Dees of Livingston (senior, elementary education), Olivia Olroyd of Carlinville (junior, communications), Travis Osborn of Carlinville (freshman, computer science), Annabelle Hulett of Carlinville (freshman, biology pre-med), Shelby Perkins of Carlinville (freshman, secondary english), Nicholas Russell of Staunton (junior, business management), Jordan Huxtable of Virden (freshman, professional writing), Riley Sandretto of Gillespie (freshman, secondary social science education: history), Alex Jasper of Mt. Olive (freshman, secondary social science education: history) and Alexis Tucker of Brighton (junior, biochemistry).
Kelly Taylor-Wilson, Dr. Patricia Kowal, Elizabeth Young, Madonna Reed Tideman, Kelly Orban, Mandy Kaegy and Patterson Friese were a part of the 2020 Macoupin County Scholarship Dinner and Auction Committee.
Since the first auction in 1991, the fund of this event has distributed almost $400,000 to 125 students. In addition, it has contributed nearly $300,000 toward endowed funds that would ensure continued future support.
“The scholarship fund has three purposes,” master of ceremony and P. Genta’s wife Char Genta said as she addressed the dinner guests. “First, to help Macoupin County high school students pay for college; second, to help Blackburn attract more students from in and around the county; and third, to encourage greater understanding and support between Blackburn College and the community just like the one that is gathered here this evening.”
The auctions, both live and silent, featured a collective total of 134 items. Guests bid on and won event tickets, vacation getaways, kitchen appliances, paintings, wine, memberships, coupons, tools, desserts, gift baskets, hair products and much more. The live auction was hosted by Mike Crabtree.
A raffle ticket drawing was additionally held for a 50-inch UHD Samsung flat-screen television that was donated by Joe Santos.
“I would like to thank everyone for their dedication to Blackburn as well as their interest to our students,” complimented Blackburn interim president John McClusky.