For twelve very fortunate Monroe County Community College students the cost of a college education was significantly reduced this year because of the generosity of a woman who was in their position nearly 50 years ago.
These twelve students from across Monroe County are the first of many groups of students who will benefit from the generosity of Ethel K. (Russeau) Fountain.
Ethel was born in Monroe in 1927. After graduating from Monroe High School she married Ronald J. Fountain in 1952 and the couple made their home in Monroe. As a non-traditional adult learner, she attended MCCC and earned a general business management certificate in 1976. She worked for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company as a switchboard operator and as a paper assembler for the Monroe Evening News prior to her retirement in 1992. “Throughout their lives Ethel and Ron were hard workers, and excellent savers and investors,” said Michele Mizell, one of several nieces and nephews. Ron passed away in 2000.
In 2015, after realizing she had amassed an amount of money that could make a large impact on others in the community she reached out to The Foundation at MCCC to explore options. Although many years had passed, she never forgot the impact MCCC had on her life. “She grew up poor, in a family that couldn’t afford to send anyone to college. She also believed that education was the key to earning a good living,” said Mizell. “Helping students through The Foundation was the right fit.” She created the Ethel K (Russeau) Fountain Endowed Scholarship. Funded through her estate, the scholarship provides support for students enrolled in any applied technology program. As a non-traditional student herself, she especially wanted to support students who are returning to college to prepare for a hands-on technical career.
“During the time we were working with her to establish her endowment, everyone in The Foundation came to fondly refer to her as ‘Aunt Ethel’,” said Dr. Joshua W. Myers, executive director of The Foundation. “Aunt Ethel lived humbly. She saved and invested wisely. As a result, she left a sizeable estate to which she dedicated 70 percent to her scholarship.” When she passed away in 2018, her gift was the single largest scholarship in the history of the college, exceeding $700,000. “Because the scholarship is endowed, The Foundation will award significant scholarships to recipients like these 12 fortunate students for many years to come.”
Each of the ‘inaugural’ Fountain Endowed Scholarship recipients received $2,000 for tuition, fees and books. The group includes:
John Clagg of Newport received his GED in 2001. He will be attending MCCC to receive a degree in automotive service technology. John is the son of John and Mary Clagg, husband to Jessica and father to Noah.
Jazlyn Clark of Monroe is a 2018 graduate of Monroe High School. She is studying construction management technology while attending MCCC. Clark is the daughter of Heather and John Clark.
Kyle Haener of Newport is a 2016 graduate of Jefferson High School. He is studying welding technology at MCCC. Haener has participated in SkillsUSA welding competitions and is a member of MCCC’s intramural basketball league. He is the son of John and Rhonda Haener.
Dominic Hall of Lambertville is a 2019 graduate of Bedford Senior High School. He will be pursuing a degree in either the welding program or automotive program while attending MCCC. He is the son of Cherise and Anthony Hall.
Jessica Hutson of Monroe is a 2019 graduate of Monroe High School. She is studying nuclear engineering technology while attending MCCC. Hutson was a member of the all-women’s select choir at MHS and has volunteered helping the Fire Explorers. She is the daughter of Donelda Kinne and Jeff Hutson.
Cody Leach of Monroe is a 2018 graduate of Monroe High School. He is pursuing a degree in welding technology while attending MCCC. He volunteers his services on local farms to help groom, feed and tend to horses and other farm animals along with plowing fields, repairing equipment and harvesting fields. Leach is the son of Jason and Michelle Leach.
Michelee Ridgon of Monroe is a 2004 graduate of Monroe High School. She is completing her associate degree in construction management technology while at MCCC and then plans to transfer to Eastern Michigan University to obtain her bachelor degree. Ridgon is the daughter of Kenneth Ridgon and Rhonda Henhawk.
John Robbins of Monroe is a 1993 graduate of Taylor Truman High School in Taylor, Michigan. He is studying mechanical design technology while at MCCC.
Spencer Stevens of Monroe is a 2000 graduate of Monroe High School. He is pursuing a mechanical design technology certificate while attending MCCC. Stevens has volunteered and worked for MCCC as a student assistant in the Introduction to Machining and CNC and Introduction to SOLIDWORKS classes, is a Learning Assistant Lab tutor and is on the Mechanical Design Technology Advisory Committee representing students. Stevens is the spouse to Megan Bailey.
Dominic Tedora of Monroe is a 2019 graduate of Monroe County Middle College. He is pursuing a welding technology degree at MCCC and plans to transfer to Ferris State University pursuing a welding engineering degree. He is currently training for his third black belt in Kai-Zen Do. Tedora is the son of Deric Tedora and Danielle Nebehay.
Destiny Watkin of Newport is a 2016 graduate of Jefferson High School. She is pursuing a nuclear engineering degree while attending MCCC.
Kendra Wegienka of Flat Rock is a 1993 graduate of Woodhaven High School, Brownstown Charter Township, Michigan. She is pursuing a degree in welding technology while at MCCC. She is the mother to Matthew and Jacob.
Amber Wiener of Newport is a 2008 graduate of Powell Valley High School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. She is pursuing a degree in construction management technology while attending MCCC. She has been involved in a Boathouse/Gift Shop design project to be built in Cross Village, Michigan. She is the daughter of Alfred Wiener, Jr. and Kimberly Zuniga and the mother to Aron Nickels.
Students can apply for scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year December 31, 2020 through March 1, 2021. The college’s AcademicWorks Online Scholarship Application system allows students to apply for multiple scholarships online quickly and easily. More information about available scholarships and the process for applying can be found at www.monroeccc.edu/scholarships and select the Endowed/Annual Scholarships button.
About The Foundation at Monroe County Community College
The Foundation at Monroe County Community College was established in 1998 by the MCCC Board of Trustees as the development and enrichment organization of the college. The Foundation at MCCC leverages voluntary support from donors to enhance the educational, literary, scientific, and cultural experience by helping Monroe County Community College meet its mission. The Foundation touches thousands of lives each year through cultural arts programs, scholarships, and educational initiatives. Detailed information about The Foundation at MCCC is available at www.monroeccc.edu/foundation.
About Monroe County Community College
Founded in 1964, Monroe County Community College is a public, two-year institution supported by tax monies from Monroe County, educational funds from the State of Michigan and student tuition. The college’s mission is to enrich lives in our community by providing opportunity through student-focused, affordable, quality higher education and other learning experiences. The Main Campus is located at 1555 South Raisinville Road, Monroe, Mich., 48161, with easy access to Toledo and Detroit. The Whitman Center is located in Temperance, Mich., 48182, near the Ohio-Michigan Border. Detailed information about MCCC is available at www.monroeccc.edu.