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On Tuesday, June 19, the Charles C. Matthews Foundation met at Panola College to view the new Yamaha AvantGrand piano the Foundation had recently donated to the College. The Yamaha AvantGrand piano will reside in the Frances B. Ross Ballroom located in the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center. This state-of-the-art electric piano utilizes innovative technology to produce a grand piano performance at any volume. The addition of the piano will allow for the Panola College music department to host additional concerts in the ballroom, and since the piano does not require tuning, the piano can be moved throughout the Student Center to be used at a variety of functions.
 
The elegant piano was just one of three generous donations the College received from the Charles C. Matthews Foundation this summer. The School of Energy received funding to purchase the program’s first piece of robotic technology, a KUKA Robotics KORE welding machine. This robot is a hands-on education robot that will be utilized in programmable logic and welding courses. Students will learn how to use the equipment as a robotic tack or track welder with the addition of a Miller wire welding machine to complete the weld. The robot is also capable of being programmed to sketch with the use of a dry erase marker.
 
The Charles C. Matthews Foundation also established the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Endowed Scholarship to help support a growing financial need students face in noncredit workforce and continuing education programs that offer certification. One of the main obstacles the 1,301 workforce and continuing education students faced this past year when enrolling in their courses was the lack of financial aid resources. Even though these programs offer an almost instant return for students to earn a wage, it is often difficult for students to obtain the upfront cost of their education.
 
Students in a workforce program are not eligible for federal financial aid and have minimum opportunities for obtaining a loan to complete their education. With the new endowed scholarship made available by the Charles C. Matthews Foundation, Panola College workforce and continuing education students have the opportunity to be awarded up to 50% of the total cost of their program. This scholarship will help students gain marketable skills and certifications that they otherwise may not have the financial resources to complete. Programs that will benefit from this new scholarship will include certified nurse aide, dental assistant, EKG technician, medication aide, pharmacy technician, phlebotomy, truck driving, welding, and real estate. 
 
“The Charles C. Matthews Foundation has been a wonderful benefactor to Panola College and to our community,” said Dr. Greg Powell, President of Panola College. “We value their continued support and strive to be good stewards of their generosity.”
 
 
 
 (L to R) Jim Payne, Ray Schieffer, Richard Ballenger, Robert Underwood, Vern Reeder, and David Bush (Not pictured) John Conway
 
 
 

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