Mesa Community College (MCC) recently announced the Karl and Aurelia Schroeder Endowed Scholarship, a new financial award which will aid students seeking a degree or certificate in business.
The scholarship, conceived early this summer and founded in October by MCC alumnus Karl Schroeder and his wife Aurelia, is being awarded for the first time.
Schroeder, who credits MCC for helping him succeed in the business world, is president of the Seattle Division for Albertsons Companies, which includes Safeway grocery stores.
“My experience at Mesa Community College was helpful in a number of ways,” Schroeder said. He stood out from his peers, because of his education at MCC, he explained. “There is no doubt in my mind that having the educational experience added to my success.”
He and his wife are seeking to give students opportunities to succeed, like they did.
“If, by providing some financial help we can help open a few doors for individuals to continue to grow and realize their goals, we will have hit the bullseye on our intent with the scholarship,” Schroeder said.
The scholarship has some requirements. “[Students] have to be enrolled at MCC and they have to be pursuing a degree or certificate in business,” Christos Chronis, director of Major and Principal Giving at MCC, said. The scholarship has minimum requirements.
One condition is being a first generation student, but not only first-generation students are considered, exists because of Mr. and Mrs. Schroeder’s background.
“Karl and his wife, Aurelia, really have a soft spot in their hearts to help students that are the first ones to really start this journey,” Chronis said. “It’s their priority.” Because over half of MCC’s students are first generation collegiates, the need to help these students is large, Chronis added.
The Schroeders believe MCC can help these students turn academic weaknesses into strengths, as it did for Karl Schroeder.
“I connected with some very effective professors that helped me develop self-perceived weaknesses into absolute strengths. Math and Algebra are the best examples. I went from thinking I was not particularly good at math, I didn’t like it, to realizing it was very much a strength and fun,” Schroeder said.
Despite their personal emotions surrounding the scholarship, the Schroeders are not selecting the award winners. Chronis said, “The Schroeders are not involved in the award process.”According to Chronis, the selection is made by a committee, as is the case with all MCC scholarships.
The new scholarship’s existence is due to the Schroeders and their care for future business majors. “We both came from hard working families that didn’t have the financial ability to cover tuition.
For that reason, we know that many individuals in a similar situation may not see college as a realistic opportunity for them,” Schroeder said.
He added, “We feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to assist others with some help along the way in hopes that the financial benefit will keep them moving forward in their educational pursuits and hopefully their lives as well.”
Tyler Ardiles is a journalism student at Mesa Community College.