Posted at 12 p.m. Sept. 28, 2016

College receives record estate gift

“It was an incredibly generous gift.”

Lisa Murphy

Associate vice president of Institutional Advancement

Laramie County Community College recently received a Foundation gift of $1.2 million. This was given by Mary Jo Carson to aid in the availability of scholarships.

Carson was a schoolteacher who taught in Cheyenne, Pine Bluffs, and parts of Nebraska. Carson earned a degree from Chadron State in Nebraska. John Metzke and John Clay, close friends of Carson, assisted in her decision to donate her estate to LCCC as she did not have any family or close relatives when she passed away at age 78.

Much of the money the Foundation raises helps students with scholarships. Murphy said, “If you want to keep going, and you want scholarships, that’s what we do. We go out in the community and we talk with people about raising scholarship dollars.” While a good portion of the Foundation money goes toward scholarships, it also supports areas including the Booster Club and the Workforce and Professional Development program.

Many scholarships come with restrictions, but this gift came with no restrictions on half of it.

“We rarely receive estate gifts that don’t have restrictions on them,” Murphy said. The other half will be used to further fund the endowed scholarship accounts Carson contributed to previously, Murphy said. Mellissa Dishman, who handles scholarships for LCCC, said that all of the money has yet to be allocated. The board will meet to decide on the use of money and distribute it next fall.

The donation from Carson doubled LCCC’s average annual foundation gift income. “We usually bring in anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million,” Murphy said. And this, Murphy said, is the single largest estate gift in Foundation history.

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