In the fall of 1996, driven by the high student loan default rate and a lack of scholarship opportunities available for SMCC students, faculty and staff initiated a fundraising campaign as a perpetual source of scholarship funding support.
Two faculty members, Dr. Jerome K. Garrison Sr., and the late Lorraine Calbow, volunteered to lead the grassroots initiative. They exceeded their goal of raising a minimum of $100,000.00 in pledges and contributions from SMCC faculty and staff.
The acronym STARS (Students Transformed to Achieve Radiant Success) was chosen.
In 2015, Several years after Loraine had retired from SMCC, Dr. Jerome Garrison was asked to establish a STARS Community Board and expand the fundraising efforts to include community members. As a result, two signature fundraising events emerged, The STARS Talent Show held in the fall and the STARS Gala held each spring.
Today the STARS fund currently has approximately $500,000.00 in donations and pledges. In addition, the college has awarded more than $160,500.00 of spendable funds to SMCC students in the form of scholarships from the fund.
Will you help us support students by donating to STARS? Your generous donation to STARS will keep giving for years to come because we award scholarships only on the spendable interest from the principle. By giving you would be helping to create a bright future for our society and for our dynamic first-generation college students.
The annual Shining Stars Talent Show and Fundraiser is a signature event at South Mountain Community College to promote the talent in the community and to support student success. Shining Stars gives a stage to local talent, and helps fundraise for scholarships supporting SMCC students continue their education.
Every Spring, South Mountain Community College hosts its annual STARS Gala, a black-tie event welcoming guests from across the valley. An annual event, the STARS Gala recognizes a key supporter of the college every year, with proceeds from the event going to help the STARS Scholarship.
In addition to the Annual Gala and Talent Show fundraisers nearly $500,000 has been pledged and contributed, including by our very own faculty and staff.
To date, more than 200 students have been awarded $100,000 in scholarships since the funds reached maturity. These principal funds will give in perpetuity, long after all of us are gone.
Pledge forms are available at the SMCC Student Enrollment Services building. SMCC employees may have contributions deducted from their paychecks, at the following levels: