Nearly nine of every 10 Gateway Technical College Promise students remained in college after their first semester — compared to a national average of five of every 10. And several students who’ve received a Promise scholarship have already graduated.

The success of the program shows it is a great investment, and this week’s news that the Gateway Technical College Foundation has surpassed its Gateway Promise program target by raising $3.93 million in three years is outstanding and will help many students reach their educational and career goals.

“Each of us have a responsibility to improve the lives of others. The Gateway Promise is a commitment our community has made in youth for generations — the promise of an affordable path to a college degree through Gateway Technical College,” said Bryan Albrecht, college president and CEO. “It is humbling to know how much our donors believe in, and trust the mission of, Gateway to nurture the hopes and aspirations of youth and adults.”

The Gateway Promise program, established in 2015, helps fill the gap between financial aid and the cost of tuition and fees for eligible students.

A big funding boost came in March when Michael Kopper, Centrisys Corporation founder and CEO, and his wife Michele Whitfield donated $2.85 million to the Gateway Technical College Foundation to support scholarships for students in engineering and manufacturing programs.

It made headlines as the largest award to date to Gateway, and some of the money would go toward the Promise program. Centrisys, a Kenosha manufacturer of decanter centrifuge systems that are sold to municipalities and other organizations globally, is heavily dependent upon engineers and technicians.

“Gateway’s vision for education is the same as ours,” Whitfield, the company’s marketing director, said at the time. “We want to help Gateway to further what they are already doing.”

A month earlier the Gateway Technical College Foundation received a $1.2 million bequest from the Beverly and Otto Tarnowski estate. Some of those funds would go toward the Promise program.

“Many people who have joined our team helped make this promise of the Gateway Promise a reality for generations of our community,” said Jennifer Charpentier, executive director of the foundation. “That includes Gateway Foundation board members, volunteers, generous donors, Gateway faculty and staff, high school principals, counselors and teachers, community youth advocates — and, of course, our students.

“It is because of all of us working together, we have been successful. Thank you.”

Many students, and employers who hire them for key jobs, will offer their thanks too.

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