NORTH ADAMS, MASS.—MCLA is pleased to announce the first recipients of a new annual scholarship created to support the College’s students. The Henry B. and Mary D. Holt Scholarship was established in 2021 to honor the Holts for their lifelong commitment to the arts, and is supported by Frederick and Renee Keator of the GRFHM Foundation.
A total amount of $4,000 will be distributed through multiple awards for the Fall 2021 semester. Scholarships are limited to current and active MCLA students who are in good standing and first-generation students (excluding first-year students) who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in the arts or humanities.
The Fall 2021 recipients are Mardochee (Mardo) Bouanga ’23, Jaydn Dunham ’24, Erin Sears ’22, and Veronica Johnston ’23.
By earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology from MCLA, Bouanga hopes to inspire others in his home country, the Republic of Congo. Dunham is studying psychology and sociology to better understand and help those suffering from mental illness. Sears, a radiologic sciences major, aims to combine knowledge from the medical and humanities fields to be a better patient advocate. An interdisciplinary studies degree will allow Johnston, a bilingual educator and business owner originally from Peru, to access “the American Dream.”
“Renee and I are pleased to honor two great individuals who have demonstrated true commitment over 70 years of marriage,” said Frederick Keator. “We wanted to give back in a way that reflects such a commitment in our current times of disappearing Snapchats and 10-second Facebook and Instagram stories.”
“We also wanted to honor my father, who was a first-generation college student, and do what we could to assist our current first-generation college students. My father’s family arrived on a boat from the Netherlands shortly after Peter Minuit plunked down 60 guilders to the local Lenape people in the early 1620s,” Keator said. When his father became the first in his family to enter college, at the College of the Holy Cross, in 1953, it had been more than three centuries since that branch of the family tree had settled in America.
“Renee and I are pleased to be able to assist those who believe that education is the master key that unlocks virtually everything, and we look forward to what these individuals will do in the future.”
At MCLA, we’re here for all — and focused on each — of our students. Classes are taught by educators who care deeply about teaching, and about seeing their students thrive on every level of their lives. In nearly every way possible, the experience at MCLA is designed to elevate our students as individuals, as leaders, communicators, fully empowered to make their impressions on the world. In addition to our 125-year commitment to public education we have fortified our commitment to equitable academic excellence. For eight of the last 10 years, MCLA has been named a Top Ten College by U.S. News and World Report. MCLA also appears on the organization’s list of top National Public Liberal Arts Colleges, as well as on the top 50 schools in U.S. News’ Social Mobility Ranking, which measures how well schools graduate students who receive Federal Pell Grants.