Scholarship Supporters - Profiles

Photo of Naqui El-Bayadi and wife
Dr. and Mrs. Naqui El-Bayadi

Dr. & Mrs. Naqui El-Bayadi scholarship

Southwestern Community College's health science programs benefit from a scholarship endowment made by Dr. and Mrs. Nagui El-Bayadi. The late Dr. El-Bayadi, a retired surgeon with our local hospital, and his wife, Marion, established this scholarship to provide deserving students from Jackson, Macon and Swain counties financial assistance with their education.

"Dr. El-Bayadi was a physician in this community from 1969-2001, and he served on SCC's Foundation Board from 2002-2005. Through his generosity and commitment to his community, students in health care programs at Southwestern will have an opportunity to receive financial assistance," said Mary Otto Selzer, director of the SCC Foundation.

SCC offers 13 degrees in the health science fields, including nursing, radiography, medical laboratory technology and respiratory therapy, among others.

Photo of William and Frances Groves
William & Frances Groves

William Lenson & Frances Raleigh (Rose) Groves Scholarship

William Lenson Groves was born in 1918 in the small farming community of Rocky, Okla. The son of Stuart "Jack" and Sena Van Stanten Groves, William grew up during some of the worst times in American history: the Great Depression, drought conditions (the Dust Bowl) and World War II. After high school, he went to college in Weatherford, Okla., until the start of World War II. Like most young men at the time, he signed up for military service in the air force. He was a crew chief for the B-24s, and later the B-27s and B-29s, flying out of India, Burma and China.

After the war, William continued his education and earned two college degrees: One from Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford, Okla., and the other from La Tourneau College in Longview, Texas. After finishing his education, William taught in the Pampa, Texas, public schools for 29 years before retiring to operate his family's farm in Okla.

During the war years, he corresponded with a young lady (Frances Raleigh Rose) of Spindale, N.C. After several years of corresponding, they were married. She relocated to Pampa, where William was teaching.

After the death of Frances (b. 2/14/1920; d. 4/10/1987), a North Carolina native, William asked his cousin - Dr. Cecil Groves, then the president of Southwestern Community College, what he might do with the home they owned in Spindale in order to help students and their families. William believed that the experiences and accomplishments in his own life were, for him, an affirmation that education makes a positive difference in lives of people. With the help and counsel of Dr. Groves, William (b. 12/17/1918; d. 12/18/2007) conveyed to SCC the proceeds from the sale of his home for scholarships to help students. The scholarship was given in honor of Frances.

In summarizing the gift, Dr. Groves said: "William was a generous and loving person known for his sincere kindness and humility. He always looked for the good in everyone, especially valuing the contributions of those who labored in the fields and factories to make life better for themselves and others."

Photo of Robert and Freida Hooper
Robert & Freida Hooper

Robert and Freida Hooper Scholarship 

The Robert and Freida Hooper endowed scholarship is open to students enrolled in SCC's radiography and medical sonography programs.

Southwestern's radiography program prepares graduates to work in diagnostic x-ray departments or continue to specialty areas like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), nuclear medicine, sonography, mammography, CT (Computed Tomography) and radiation therapy.

Radiography graduates, who will sit for the national registry administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, can also work toward a bachelor’s degree in the field.

In the medical sonography program, students receive training that prepares them to work in clinics, hospitals, private practice physician offices and other medical settings that perform ultrasound examinations.

Sonography graduates are eligible to take national certification exams.


Photo of Alvin Norton and Virginia Kinkaid
Alvin Norton and Virginia Kinkaid
Alvin Norton Kinkaid memorial scholarship
Throughout his five-decade career as a land developer and general contractor, Alvin Kinkaid could look at a mountain and immediately visualize its possibilities.

Up until his death last year at the age of 79, he literally helped change Jackson County’s landscape by discovering ideal construction sites that preserved the mountains’ natural beauty.

To honor his memory, Mr. Kinkaid’s wife, Virginia, has endowed a scholarship fund that will help students find their own potential in years to come.

The Alvin Norton Kinkaid memorial scholarship is awarded annually to a student in Southwestern Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program.

“With any piece of land, he had the ability to see what could be,” Virginia Kinkaid recalled earlier this week. “One time he took me up to look at a piece of property, and the weeds were taller than I was. He said, ‘This is going to be Horseshoe Cove. Can you see such and such?’ And I’d say ‘Alvin, all I see are a bunch of weeds.’ But he always had the ability to see what could be.”

Mrs. Kinkaid said the idea for memorializing her husband through an SCC scholarship arose during a phone conversation with a friend, Anita Hall.

Hall’s husband, David, had served as a sheriff’s deputy with the Kinkaids’ son, Al Jr.

“I told Anita that I wanted to set up some kind of fund in Alvin’s name, but I didn’t know what to do,” Mrs. Kinkaid recalled. “I was thinking forestry or the fire department because of the land connection. David was in the background, and he asked, ‘Why not law enforcement?’ Alvin supported law enforcement, and Al Jr. just retired after more than 30 years with the sheriff’s department.”

The suggestion immediately resonated with Mrs. Kinkaid, so she discussed it with her son then put in a call to Jackson County sheriff Jimmy Ashe.

Ashe put her in touch with representatives of the SCC Foundation, who helped her get the scholarship endowed.

 “We are thrilled that Mrs. Kinkaid chose this scholarship as a way to pay tribute to her husband’s legacy,” said Mary Otto Selzer, who oversees the SCC Foundation. “For years to come, students who might not otherwise be able to attend college will have the opportunity to realize their own potential thanks to the Kinkaid family’s generosity.”
Photo of Charlie McConnell
Dr. Charlie McConnell
Charlie McConnell Scholarship

Ask anyone who knew Charlie McConnell well, and they’ll tell you he was all heart.

That’s why the Sylva Rotary Club endowed a scholarship through the Southwestern Community College Foundation in memory of the former Jackson County superintendent, who devoted much of his post-retirement years to making a college education more accessible for high school students.

Specifically, he helped former SCC president Barry Russell establish the New Century Scholars program that has been providing last-dollar tuition assistance for deserving students from Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties to attend SCC.

“When he retired, he could have been content that he’d done a lot of great things in his career and just taken it easy – but he wasn’t a guy to just sit down,” said Kenny Nicholson, president of the Sylva Rotary Club and a longtime friend of McConnell’s. “He would have been so pleased that we’re helping children in his name.”

The Sylva Rotary Club raised more than $15,000 through donations and fundraisers to endow the “Charlie McConnell Scholarship,” which will be awarded for the first time this fall. McConnell was a past president of the Sylva Rotary Club.

“Charlie’s legacy will live on every time a young person earns a college degree through New Century Scholars and this newly endowed scholarship,” said Mary Otto Selzer, director of the SCC Foundation.

Ruth McConnell, Charlie’s wife of 46 years, said: “The scholarship is quite a compliment to Charlie. It’s really special to me, and our children (Greg McConnell, Jeff McConnell and Kristy Bullock) have taken a big interest in it too.”

Nicholson, a longtime principal for Jackson County Schools, said he’s known McConnell since their high school years when Nicholson attended Sylva-Webster and McConnell was at Cullowhee High.
Their friendship flourished through their time working together in the school system.

“One thing I really enjoyed about working with Charlie was the way his first thought on anything would always be about what he could do to help the kids,” said Nicholson, a longtime educator and former principal for Jackson County Schools. “Don’t get me wrong; he was also very concerned about the well-being of our teachers and staff. But he also knew that without the kids, none of us (teachers, administrators) would have been there."