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Harrah’s endows scholarship to benefit SCC students

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Jan 8 2020
Four men and a woman pose for a photo indoors at Harrah's.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort officials recently announced plans to endow a scholarship through the SCC Foundation. Pictured are, from left: Brett Woods, Director of the SCC Foundation; Dr. Don Tomas, SCC President; Brooks Robinson, Regional Senior Vice President and General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Properties; Dr. Jo Ray, Harrah’s Regional Vice President for Community Relations & Employee Wellness; and Dr. Thom Brooks, Executive Vice President for Instruction and Student Services at SCC.

Through support of Southwestern Community College’s annual fundraising gala and the state’s first table-gaming school, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and General Manager Brooks Robinson have become more than just partners with SCC.

“They are friends,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC President. “They are friends to our college, to our foundation and – most importantly – to our students.”

In December, the region’s largest employer made a commitment to take its support of SCC and its students to an entirely new level. Robinson and Dr. Jo Ray, Harrah’s Regional Vice President for Community Relations & Employee Wellness, signed an agreement on Dec. 16 to endow a scholarship through the SCC Foundation over the next three years.

The scholarship will be awarded for the first time in the fall of 2020.

“The impact of Harrah’s generosity and support through the gala as well as this new scholarship will be felt by our students for decades to come,” Dr. Tomas said. “It’s been an honor to work so closely with Mr. Robinson, Dr. Ray and their team these past few years. I personally could not be more grateful for their friendship.”

Robinson’s official title is Regional Senior Vice President and General Manager of Harrah’s Cherokee Properties. Since 2012, he has served on the Board of Directors for the SCC Foundation.

“Our partnership with SCC is mutually beneficial,” Robinson said. “We provide support to grow students educationally and professionally, and in return SCC provides us quality employees. In the process, we form and grow relationships and friendships, and in the end, everyone wins. It is these types of partnerships that Harrah’s Cherokee values. Our Code of Commitment promises that we will work in our communities to make them better places to live and work.”

Since Harrah’s began hosting the SCC Foundation’s gala and providing a leadership level of support in 2015, the event has raised more than $350,000.

Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 area residents have graduated from Southwestern’s table-gaming school with the opportunity to fill some of the top-paying jobs in the area.

“Throughout my time at Southwestern, our friends at Harrah’s have offered their unwavering support,” said Brett Woods, Director of the SCC Foundation. “This new scholarship just goes to show how serious they are about helping our students succeed. We greatly value their friendship, and we look forward to working with them for years to come.”

To be considered for the scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time and be pursuing an associate degree. Candidates must have and maintain a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or better. Preference will be given to children of Harrah’s employees. However, if a child of a Harrah’s employee does not apply in a given year, preference will be given to residents of Harrah’s service region – the seven North Carolina counties west of Buncombe.

For more information about the SCC Foundation, click here or contact Woods directly (828.339.4241 or b_woods[at]southwesterncc[dot]edu).