Phi Theta Kappa Supports Completion, Awards $5,000 to Oberndorf Scholars

Jackson, MS – Ten Phi Theta Kappa members have been selected as Oberndorf Scholars and awarded a total of $5,000 in scholarships. Selected from nearly 100 applications, the scholars receive scholarships of $500 each to complete their associate degree studies.

Phi Theta Kappa’s Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship helps Phi Theta Kappa members overcome unanticipated financial barriers preventing the completion of the first college credential, an associate degree or certificate, while enrolled in the two-year college. This scholarship was created through a collaborative effort between benefactors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf, the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and the 2011-2012 International Officers.

In 2011 Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf challenged the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation to raise $125,000 in order to receive a one-to-one challenge grant. When it was announced that the challenge was met at the 2012 Annual Convention, the Oberndorfs challenged the Foundation to raise another $125,000 which they matched one-to-one, resulting in a total $500,000 endowment for the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship.

“We are very grateful to Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf and donors to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation for meeting the challenge to create an endowment and making these scholarships available to our members,” said Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director and CEO Dr. Rod Risley. “Congratulations to our recipients. Without a doubt the Oberndorf Scholarships will make a tremendous impact on the lives of these hard-working, high-achieving students – making it possible for them to complete their associate degrees.”

The Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship recipients are:

Isabel Rose Babasa, Pima Community College-Downtown Campus, Arizona

AshleyCronin, Washington State Community College, Ohio

Yohanna Diaz, Roxbury Community College, Massachusetts

Alicia Diggs, Northeast Texas Community College, Texas

Joie Frontz, Tarrant County College-Northeast Campus, Texas

Michelle Merkling, Rainy River Community College, Minnesota

Stephen Milburn, Northeast Texas Community College, Texas

Marcus Sands, Northampton Community College, Pennsylvania

Heather Venezia, Harrisburg Area Community College-Lancaster Campus, Pennsylvania

One Anonymous Recipient

“Every Phi Theta Kappa member, advisor, alumnus and administrator has the ability to make a difference for students struggling to complete,” said Phi Theta Kappa Foundation CEO Dr. Nancy Rieves. “We are so grateful to all the donors who are making these dreams of college completion come true.”

The Phi Theta Kappa Foundation is focused on long-term financial stability for Phi Theta Kappa. It is dependent upon the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to ensure its future through the support of existing and the establishment of new endowment funds. For more information on how to contribute to scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members through the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation, contact Dr. Rieves at 800.946.9995, ext. 3537.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually. Learn more at

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