“Grit. Guts. Glory. ” Such is this year’s motto, said Pueblo Community College President Dr. Patty Erjavec, when she was describing the climate of support for PCC students and investing in the future of our community through education.

Supporters of PCC gathered in the Fortino Ballroom Friday night for the annual Donor Appreciation dinner, where awards were given for special contributors and students were able to tell their stories about what a difference such contributions have made.

Bill Wilcoxson and the Quarterly Forum, represented by Chairman Ryan Heckman, were inducted into the President’s Circle. Wilcoxson talked to attendees about his involvement with the PCC auto program and his journey with his family’s dealership, Wilcoxson Buick-Cadillac-GMC. Heckman talked about the Quarterly Forum’s philosophy and why the group of business leaders that comprise QF chose PCC to support with a $150,000 grant for the Project ACCESS and Return to Learn programs.

Mary Lee, recipient of the ¬†Kane Family Scholarship, spoke about why the Return to Learn program was so special to her. The program is designed to help students who were pursuing an education, but “life got in the way.”

Richie Innes, coordinator of the Return to Learn program for PCC, was the surprise star of the evening as he talked about the 96% graduation rate in the RTL program and filled in for scholarship recipient Bethany Page, who had a family emergency. Ryan Heckman talked about the fact that he knew Pueblo people were proud of their community, but that he didn’t really know the people involved were so passionate. “Well, you know me now!” Richie shouted, to applause and cheers from the audience.

Additionally, three dedicated board members were honored: Carlos Baca, Sharon Swerdfeger and Joseph Ulibarri.

Each year the Pueblo Community College Foundation takes this time at the Donor Appreciation Dinner to extend heartfelt thanks to donors and supporters who create possibilities for those who might not otherwise be able to get a good college education. It was evident that it is an extremely good investment.