Donors to the Butler Community College Foundation got to see exactly who their donations were helping with the “Reaching New Heights” scholarship lunch held at the college Monday.
The event, hosted by the Butler Foundation, brought together donors and recipients of Butler scholarships.
Butler Foundation President Stewart Weaver welcomed those attending the lunch.
“In America we tend to idealize the lone westerners,” Weaver said.
He said he those who should be idealized are those who accepted help from others to accomplish what they did.
“It is a series of people who put down the building blocks for you to achieve more,” Weaver said.
The speaker for the event was Mayor Tom McKibban, a 1972 graduate of Butler County Community College and the 2012-2013 distinguished alumnus. He talked about his time in school and his experiences along the way.
He said as he was leaving high school he was told he had three options: to go to college, work in the aircraft industry or enlist in the military. He chose to to go college. His dream was to teach math and live in Australia.
The answer to his college dream was Butler, where tuition was $4 a credit hour and he received a $100 scholarship which covered his tuition.
After his first year at Butler he changed his career path and went into medicine.
“When I decided to change my career path, after one year at Butler, my advisor and professors were instrumental in helping me find my true calling,” he said. “They cared and they truly made a difference.”
After graduating from college, he returned to the community in 1977. He stressed he didn’t come back to the city of El Dorado or Butler, but to the people.
“A community is more than the geography, schools, hospitals, and restaurants it encompasses,” McKibban said. “A community is only as successful as the people who tie it all together.”
What McKibban didn’t realize until he returned was how many “givers” there are in El Dorado.
“They are my mentors and many of them are with us today,” he said.
McKibban is now a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital, where he has worked for more than 35 years. He is active in leadership of his profession and his community.
“The ‘givers’ of 1970 and givers of today, are not only my mentors and the reason for my success, but also should be an inspiration for each of you to become a mentor to future students and your community,” he continued.
Page 2 of 2 - He encouraged the students to dedicate a portion of their lives to giving back. One way to do that was through volunteering. They also can provide leadership and when able give monetary donations. He encouraged them to join organizations within the college and run for leadership roles within those.
“Always remember there is at least one individual looking up to you as a role model and many more who would benefit from your involvement in their lives, no matter where you are in life,” he said.
McKibban encouraged them to make a difference to others as donors have in their lives.
After a break for dessert, Butler President Jackie Vietti also talked to those attending.
“I have had a privilege of serving in that (president) capacity for 17 years,” she said, stressing it has been a privilege.
“I can’t imagine being anywhere that is more of a difference maker.”
She said they are helping students reach new heights and they couldn’t do it without everyone in that room.
“You help our students know their dreams are real and you help our students know they can reach new heights,” Vietti said. “It is when we work together that we are best able to reach new heights.”