Donations totaling $275,000 have been given to the West Virginia Northern Community College Foundation Inc. to assist in the institution’s Middle College program and for scholarships.
The funds were given to the WVNCC Foundation last December by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Karl and Mildred Niekamp Charitable Foundation, it was announced by Emily S. Fisher, executive director of the WVNCC Foundation, and Dr. Mary Marockie, president of the WVNCC Foundation’s board of trustees.
The Benedum Foundation’s grant of $250,000 is to be used for expansion of the Northern Middle College Early Entrance High School program, initially developed some three years ago and sponsored by Brooke, Marshall and Ohio County School Districts in partnership with Northern. Classes are conducted at Northern’s B&O Building in downtown Wheeling.
Northern President Martin J. Olshinsky, who brought the Middle College concept to West Virginia for the first time, said. “This generous grant will enable us to begin expanding the program to our campus in Weirton. The goal is to serve 120 students from five school districts in the Northern Panhandle.”
Northern Middle College Early Entrance High School targets high school students who have the potential for academic success but perform at a higher level in a student-centered environment. The program moves them to a college site that enhances self-esteem, encouraging students to attend school, achieve academic success and pursue career goals. “The ultimate goal of the program is for the student to graduate from high school and earn an associate’s degree at the same time,” Olshinsky said.
In addition, a contribution of $25,000 was made from the Karl and Mildred Niekamp Charitable Foundation of Wheeling in support of the Mildred V. Niekamp Scholarship Fund at WVNCC. This fund, Fisher and Marockie explained, targets those pursuing a career in business at Northern from Marshall, Ohio or Wetzel counties, with a preference afforded to residents of Marshall County. Fisher and Marockie pointed out the recent donation means the WVNCC Foundation to date has received a total of $175,000 from the Niekamp Foundation for the Mildred V. Niekamp Scholarship Fund.
In a joint statement, Fisher and Marockie said, “These donations will significantly impact the students at Northern, and the Foundation extends its sincere and deepest appreciation to the foundations which so benevolently support West Virginia Northern.”