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State representative Joe Sam Queen donates to SCC’s Student Success Campaign

N.C. Representative Joe Sam Queen (second from right), who resides in Waynesville, recently gave $2,000 to the Student Success Campaign at Southwestern Community College. Pictured with Queen are, from left: Dr. Don Tomas, SCC president; Dr. R. Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System; and Mary Otto Selzer, director of the SCC Foundation. Queen represents Jackson, Haywood and Swain Counties.
In order to help more students have the opportunity to earn a college education, state representative Joe Sam Queen recently gave $2,000 to the Student Success Campaign at Southwestern Community College.
Queen made the donation in memory of his cousin, Mary Jane Queen, a Jackson County musician who passed away in 2007.

“Mary Jane Queen is the matriarch of the musical Queens of Caney Fork,” said Rep. Queen, who lives in Haywood County. “The Jackson County Queens and the Haywood County Queens are descendants of two Revolutionary War brothers. We’re kinfolk and kindred spirits. Her and her family have been so important to the music, dance and craft in Jackson County. She’s my Jackson County kinfolk, so I just wanted to honor her for her art and the roots of heritage that we share.”

The most ambitious fundraising effort in the Southwestern Community College Foundation’s history, the Student Success Campaign aims to narrow the gap between scholarship need and availability by raising more than $1 million through the help of a federal challenge grant.

That Title III grant matches every dollar (up to $300,000) received before Sept. 30.

“We’re thrilled that Joe Sam Queen is supporting our Student Success Campaign,” said Mary Otto Selzer, director of the SCC Foundation. “We had 225 students apply for scholarships this academic year, but we were only able to fund 43 of those due to limited resources. Generous donations like the one Joe Sam made are going to allow us to help more students in the future.”

That opportunity to help students achieve their dreams is what led Queen to make his gift.

“I’m all about student success,” Queen said. “It’s important to have scholarships available for our students in need. We want everyone in Western North Carolina to have an opportunity … Education is the ladder to success. If young people will stick in there and do the work, I’m happy to provide the scholarship.”

For more information about the Student Success Campaign and the SCC Foundation, visit or contact Selzer at m_selzer[at]southwesterncc[dot]edu or 828.339.4241.