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Calhoun College gets about $84,000 from Bunge and BP

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

In separate contributions, two companies recently gave almost $84,000 to Calhoun Community College.

Bunge North America gave $50,000 to support the college’s capital campaign. BP awarded a $33,900 grant as primary sponsor of Calhoun’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation 2007 Career in Gear summer camp for middle and high school counselors.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, chairman for the Calhoun Foundation board of directors, said Bunge’s donation will establish a new scholarship for the college. Gene Moore, Bunge Decatur plant manager, said employees are excited about the partnership.

“We believe in education and appreciate the opportunity to contribute to our community in this way,” Moore said. “We hope that we can encourage lots of young adults to set high goals and also encourage other businesses to get involved with Calhoun.”

Calhoun President Marilyn Beck said Bunge North America and its employees are indeed wonderful corporate neighbors.

“The generosity and support they have demonstrated through the establishment of this new scholarship at Calhoun will help us to provide the necessary financial support so many of our students need to continue and attain their educational and career goals,” she said.

The Calhoun Foundation is in the midst of its $3 million Excellence and Opportunity capital campaign to raise monies to support four priorities: health sciences, math and science, scholarships, and campus development. Community volunteer chairmen Barrett C. Shelton Jr. and Dr. George Hansberry lead the campaign in Decatur and Sandra Steele, Steve Raby and Phil Dotts head the drive in Huntsville.

Calhoun’s Career in Gear camp started last year and was funded in part by a U.S. Department of Labor grant. The purpose of the weeklong camp is to provide information to teachers and counselors about the career opportunities in technical fields.

Thirty-eight teachers and counselors from area schools participated in this year’s camp in June.

Dr. Mary Yarbrough, dean for technologies and work force education at Calhoun, said BP expressed an interest in providing funding for this year’s camp because the company realizes the value of informing students now on the high-paying career opportunities available in the technologies and how they need to prepare for those jobs.

“BP wanted to ensure this summer teacher and counselor technology camp continues and has pledged its support of the program,” she said.

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