Simmons Match Reaches $100,000 in Purchasing Power
Dr. Gayle Simmons, namesake of the Mineral Area College Foundation’s Simmons Match campaign, holds a picture of his late wife, Rowena.
Mineral Area College Foundation announced today (Nov. 7) that their annual campaign, the Simons Match, was the most successful to date. Donors, alumni, and friends saw the total amount of giving climb to $19,851. When combined with the Simmons Match and the state of Missouri’s $3-$1 match, the total purchasing power for the college reached a record $100,000 for the Foundation’s Enhancement Grant fund.
Dr. Gayle Simmons, namesake and provider of the Simmons Match, said he was touched by the response from the donors. As a former Flat River Junior College graduate and long-time educator, Dr. Simmons has made his matching gift in honor of his late wife, Rowena Simmons, who passed away in 2011.
“Rowena valued education, and MAC was an integral part of our lives,” Dr. Simmons said. “I am enormously grateful for the tremendous support of MAC’s students and the opportunity to do something so powerful in Rowena’s memory.”
Programs to benefit from the purchasing power attained through the Simmons Match campaign are determined in part by Missouri’s workforce priorities and have included the educational fields of allied health, business, and law enforcement. Funds have provided classroom enhancements such as instructional equipment and technology to give MAC students the competitive education and skills needed for securing employment.
Kevin Thurman, assistant to the college’s president and director of the foundation, said donors’ recognition of MAC’s positive impact on the area was “inspiring.”
“The public support was overwhelming,” he said. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how much our community cares about the positive impact MAC makes in the lives of those who attend.”
The Simmons Match tallied $4,962, which Dr. Simmons gave in Rowena’s honor. He then gave an additional $187 in honor of Melvin DeHovitz, a FRJC alum and friend, who recently passed away. The end result was an even $25,000 in funds raised, and when coupled with the state’s 3-1 match, the fundraiser generated $100,000 in purchasing power.
Dr. and Mrs. Simmons both graduated from FRJC in the 1940s. Dr. Simmons spent a 50-year career in education, which included a return to FRJC to serve as a dean during the 1950s and ‘60s. Rowena taught for 37 years in classrooms in Missouri, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
Following her retirement, she co-chaired fundraising efforts for MAC Foundation and believed strongly in the power of higher education to improve lives.
Dr. Simmons said he was grateful to the donors of this year’s campaign.
“Rowena believed strongly in the benefits of education and was passionate about helping students achieve their educational goals,” he said. “I want to thank each and every one who helped to ensure Rowena’s legacy of supporting affordable, quality education.”