TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 26, 2011) – Tallahassee Community College has established the HERO Scholarship, designed to help students who have overcome heroic odds pay for their college education. The driving force behind this scholarship is TCC professor Dr. Melissa Soldani-Lemon. She has made a significant personal pledge over the next ten years to initiate the launch of the scholarship.
Dr. Soldani-Lemon was inspired by the students in one of her American History classes to create the HERO Scholarship. David Lowe, a triple amputee Vietnam veteran was a student in her class when he tragically broke his femur just weeks before the semester ended and his injury forced him to drop out. He spent 19 months in a Veterans Affairs clinic rehabilitating from his injury. During this time, his classmates assembled care packages for David and other veterans in the clinic to demonstrate their appreciation for the veterans’ service.
Finally healthy, David was ready to return to campus this fall and finish his dream of receiving his college degree, but the financial cost of college was a problem. Seeing the need for additional support for our country’s veterans and the outpouring of support from David’s fellow classmates, Dr. Soldani-Lemon was moved to create the HERO scholarship, to help students that have overcome incredible odds attend TCC.
“Going to college is an act of optimism, and supporting someone else is a courageous act of optimism,” Dr. Soldani-Lemon said. “We cannot do enough for our veterans here at TCC.”
David Lowe is on track to return to TCC in the fall of 2011 with the help of the HERO Scholarship. He intends to finish up his final few classes and graduate in the spring of 2012. David plans to walk across the stage—against all odds—and accept his college degree from TCC next spring.
Dr. Soldani-Lemon believes that, “The HERO Scholarship is a measure of this institution. We want to do more than just help our veterans, we want to welcome them and ensure their success.” The HERO Scholarship and the newly opened TCC Veterans Center exemplify TCC’s commitment to veterans.