CCAC Educational Foundation awards 100th endowed scholarship; total endowment nears $10M

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

Scholarship recipients in CCAC Nursing program are motivated by desire to help others


PITTSBURGH-The Community College of Allegheny County Educational Foundation recently awarded 15 newly endowed scholarships in 2017, bringing the total to 100 endowed scholarships for students studying in a range of programs across the college. The 100th scholarship was provided by Scott and Susan Lammie to establish the Bob Sendall Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded to Culinary Arts students beginning in 2018. Sendall, a world-renowned chef and entrepreneur, is a CCAC alumnus (Class of '78) and an emeritus member of the CCAC Educational Foundation Board.

Today, the total endowment stands at $9,858,835, which will provide funds for qualifying students to pursue their educational goals for many years to come. In the 2016-17 fiscal year, the CCAC Educational Foundation awarded 161 students scholarships totaling $167,225. A number of scholarship recipients are pursuing degrees in Nursing or Allied Health. The students come from diverse backgrounds, and many of them have overcome personal challenges to start on a new career path. They have wide ranging goals; however, all of them share a deep appreciation for the CCAC Educational Foundation's assistance in pursuing their dreams.

Scholarship recipient Brandi Thompson, of the North Side, is on track to graduate in December 2018 with an associate degree in Nursing. Thompson, who previously earned a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Conservation, was inspired to become a nurse when she worked at a nonprofit clinic in Colorado that serves low-income and uninsured individuals. For five years, she worked alongside dedicated health care professionals whose primary concern was to provide quality health care and meet people's needs.

"It completely inspired me, and it opened my eyes to the barriers people face with access to care and how broken the system is. I want to make an impact in people's lives, and I feel like I now have the tools to do so," said Thompson, who works 35-40 hours a week to make ends meet while attending college full time. Thompson has been "very impressed" with the CCAC Nursing program, which is more challenging than she expected, although she maintains a 4.0 GPA. Once she becomes a registered nurse, she intends to earn a bachelor's in nursing and become a certified nurse practitioner, with further plans of becoming a health care advocate for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Scholarship recipient Anthony Konecky, of Greentree, is pursuing a career in nursing following his own battle with an aggressive cancer that resulted in lengthy surgeries and months of radiation and other treatment. He was so inspired by the selfless and "incredible service nurses provide to our community" that he wanted to give back. However, his job did not allow him sufficient time for volunteering. Upon the suggestion of Dr. Robert Ferris, director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, he decided to change careers in his 40s and make medicine his life's work. He is on track to earn an associate in Nursing in May 2019, with plans to further his education and to seek a position at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. 

"I can think of no greater honor than to be able to join the ranks of courageous professionals in the fight against cancer," says Konecky, adding that the move would not have been possible without the college. "If CCAC weren't in our community, I would have had no means of pursuing my goal. And the scholarship has been an enormous help, especially for someone who is working and has two children."

Scholarship recipient Candyce Behr, of Brentwood, will graduate in December with an associate in Nursing. She decided to become a nurse after losing several loved ones, including her best friend to addiction and her stepmother to breast cancer. Behr was working full time as a medical assistant while attending CCAC, but she had to quit her job to complete the eight-hour training days and 12-hour shifts required in the last semester of the program. Once she is an RN, Behr plans to earn a bachelor's in Nursing at Carlow University, then obtain a position in a labor and delivery unit and attend school to become a midwife.

"Getting that scholarship really helped. If I had to go back to work, I couldn't finish my degree," says Behr, who is also a new mother. "Thanks to the evening program at CCAC, I am so close to accomplishing all that I could hope for by becoming a nurse. I have learned that anything worth having is worth the wait and the struggle."

Established in 1979, the CCAC Educational Foundation grew out of the understanding that the Community College of Allegheny County would need additional resources in order to provide comprehensive training programs, to ensure continued accessibility and to maintain its reputation of academic excellence in higher education. Each year, the foundation awards thousands of dollars in scholarships. The scholarships and endowments express the community's commitment to helping students achieve their educational goals. For more information, visit


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