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Phi Theta Kappa/AACC Award $50,000 in Frank Lanza Healthcare Scholarships

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Jackson, MS – Ayla Priestly has always tried to live by her mother’s words: “Don’t leave this world without making a difference.” And even as a nursing student at River Valley Community College in New Hampshire, she is already doing just that. In a few short weeks she will travel to Guadalupe, Mexico, to provide medical supplies and triage to a remote mountain community.

A Phi Theta Kappa member and president of her college’s Nursing Honor Society, Priestly’s goal is to become a certified critical care registered nurse. Named a Frank Lanza Memorial Scholar for 2013, she is one of 20 healthcare students nationwide who will receive a $2,500 scholarship to help her achieve her dream of helping others.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), with the generous support of CAE Healthcare (formerly METI) and L-3 Communications, Inc., have awarded $50,000 in scholarships to the 2013 Frank Lanza Scholars. Twenty community college students were selected to receive up to $2,500 each for completion of associate degrees.

The Lanza Scholarship program targets part-time, full-time and international students who have completed 50 percent of their course work toward an associate degree in nursing, emergency medical services or respiratory care programs offered by regionally accredited community colleges. Phi Theta Kappa membership is not part of the application or judging criteria; however, the majority of the 2013 recipients were Society members. A panel of independent judges selected the recipients by application based on academic and leadership endeavors as well as community service.

"Funding provided for these scholarships is critical to helping community colleges students meet the high cost of completing these rigorous health-related programs," said Phi Theta Kappa's Executive Director and CEO, Dr. Rod A. Risley. “Healthcare is among the top majors for today’s community college students and also for our Phi Theta Kappa members, so it’s important that we help these students complete their degrees and become a vibrant part of the economy.”

2013 Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship recipients include (* notes membership in Phi Theta Kappa):

  • Deleana Andersen, Grays Harbor College, Aberdeen, WA*
  • Benjamin Bisland, San Juan College, Farmington, NM*
  • Cherlynn Bowlan, Rose State College, Midwest City, OK*
  • Colleen Conway, Columbia State Community College, Columbia, TN*
  • Kathy Davis, Muskegon Community College, Muskegon, MI*
  • Cher Durham, Wake Technical Community College, Raleigh, NC*
  • Caitlin Hainley, Des Moines Area Community College, Newton, IA*
  • Beth Harbold, Northland Pioneer College, Holbrook, AZ*
  • Angel Hernandez, Adventist University of Health Sciences, Orlando, FL*
  • Ugochukwu Iyeh, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA*
  • Christopher Kelly, Luna Community College, Las Vegas, NM*
  • Marie Bernadette Kincheloe, Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA*
  • Paul Larche, SUNY Clinton Community College, Plattsburgh, NY*
  • Shaina McKnight, Mercy College of Northwest Ohio, Toledo, OH*
  • Ayla Priestley, River Valley Community College, Claremont, NH*
  • Justin Pritchard, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville, NC
  • Heinrich Schander, Tarrant County College, Trinity River Campus, Fort Worth, TX*
  • Patricia Dawn Smith, Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth, FL*
  • Alanna Steele, Skagit Valley Community College, Mount Vernon, WA*
  • Andrea Sustaita, Oregon Coast Community College, Newport, OR*

Frank Lanza served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War. He was a member of the board of directors for the Coast Guard Foundation and received the 2003 Distinguished Corporate Leadership award from the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines' and Airmen's Club. Lanza was also a member of the board of governors for the Aerospace Industries Association and the American Italian Cancer Foundation. A philanthropist, he and his wife supported a variety of charities through a family foundation.

Lanza founded L-3 Communications in 1997, a global aerospace and defense company that has grown to $15 billion in annual revenues and employs approximately 66,000 people worldwide. With its corporate headquarters in New York City, L-3 is a leader in C3ISR systems (command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), aircraft modernization and maintenance, government services and specialized products that serve the military, homeland security, aviation and other commercial markets. L-3 customers include the U.S. Department of Defense, other U.S. government agencies, allied foreign governments and commercial customers. Under his leadership as chairman and CEO, L-3 became the nation's sixth largest defense contractor – comprised of more than 73 operating units, among them Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI), now known as CAE Healthcare.

In honor of Lanza's visionary business leadership and generous commitment to charitable causes, Lou Oberndorf, founder and retired Chairman of METI, initiated the endowment of the Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship, which was funded by L-3 Communications, METI (now CAE Healthcare), AACC, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Oberndorf and his wife, Rosemary, also recently established the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship.

A long-term supporter of community colleges, who now serves as a Trustee of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, Oberndorf said he has attended a number of the Society's conventions and seen the sucess of scholarship recipients first-hand. “When it comes to Phi Theta Kappa members and community college students, seeing is believing,” he said. “How could you not want to help these amazing individuals achieve their goals?”

Based in Washington, D.C., AACC is the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level and works closely with directors of state offices to inform and to affect state policy. AACC represents almost 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 11 million students. Community colleges are the largest and fastest-growing sector of U.S. higher education, enrolling close to half (43 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.