The family of the late Jeremy Bruce recently established an annual scholarship fund to help Monroe County Community College students attain the dream of attending college. “Jeremy recognized the importance of higher education,” said is parents, David and Kathaleen Bruce. “His path toward ultimately earning a bachelor’s degree started at MCCC and we want to give others like Jeremy the same opportunity.”
Jeremy graduated from Jamestown High School in New York in 2002. Following high school he attended MCCC before he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps where he served from 2004 – 2008. He was deployed twice to Iraq and fought in the battle of Fallujah. Despite being wounded during both deployments, including a traumatic brain injury from an IED, he completed his service and returned to college.
He continued his higher education journey studying at University of Toledo then transferred to University of Colorado, graduating in 2015 and earning a bachelor of arts degree in political science. However, his educational pursuits did not end there.
Having come from a proud tradition of military service in his family, including his parents who served nearly 36 years combined in the military along with a brother, grandfathers, uncles and an aunt, his family also instilled in him a strong sense of service to the community. Surrounded by those whose professions focus on helping others, including social workers, teachers, healthcare workers and a minister, Jeremy embarked on a lifelong journey of learning all he could about the world around him.
He travelled extensively in an effort to learn about people of the world, their history and different cultures. His journeys took him to India, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Thailand, Africa, the Caribbean and throughout Europe. He especially loved children, taking treats and gifts on his visits. He often spent time helping in the communities he visited, including assisting with the opening of an orphanage. He often commented with amazement that the people with the least were often the most generous and kind people he met.
In May 2018 Jeremy was diagnosed with late-stage esophageal cancer, likely the result of exposure to burn pits while serving in Iraq. He fought valiantly to prolong and make the most of his life beyond the initial 6 – 12 months he was initially told he had left. Having returned to Michigan to be near his family, Jeremy passed away at the age of 35 on September 29, 2019.
In establishing the Jeremy Bruce Memorial Scholarship, his parents embraced the Mark Twain quote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” During Jeremy’s short life he discovered his reason for living, in part through the education he received at MCCC and other institutions that led him to understand how important and empowering life-long learning can be.
In addition, in honor of Jeremy’s love of travel and exploring different cultures and lands, a second scholarship will be awarded this year to a student who plans to participate in MCCC’s Study Abroad program, which provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable knowledge about multicultural influences and global issues.
“We don’t know where Jeremy’s life might have taken him had he lived,” said Kathaleen and David. “We know, prior to his diagnosis he had planned to continue his world travels to Central and South America. Through this scholarship we want, in some small way, to do something positive to help others and keep his memory alive.”
In the next several weeks The Foundation at MCCC and the college’s Financial Aid Office will begin to award scholarships like the Jeremy Bruce Memorial Scholarships for students pursuing their education at MCCC during the 2023-24 academic year. For more information about available scholarships visit www.monroeccc.edu/scholarships.
To donate to the Jeremy Bruce Memorial Scholarship or learn more about the other scholarships or programs to which you can donate visit www.monroeccc.edu/foundation/give or call 734-384-4214.
About The Foundation at Monroe County Community College
The Foundation at Monroe County Community College is the charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the educational and cultural experience of our students and community.
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 at MCCC touches thousands of lives each year through cultural arts programs, scholarships, and educational initiatives that guide and shape the business and civic leaders of tomorrow. Just as important, The Foundation offers a means for individuals of all ages and walks of life to express their philanthropy, act on their concerns, and follow the dictates of their hearts.
For more information about The Foundation at MCCC visit 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 and transform lives by providing opportunities and excellence in higher education. 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 at 7777 Lewis Ave.,Temperance, Mich., 48182, near the Ohio-Michigan Border. Detailed information about MCCC is available at www.monroeccc.edu.