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December 06th, 2019

sccc logo 2017ROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


This year marks a half century of business for Seward County Community College, and 2019 likewise is the golden anniversary for the college’s development foundation.

Along with those landmarks, the foundation’s signature fundraiser is celebrating its 25th anniversary, one SCCC Associate Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement Chandler Kirkhart finds hard to believe.

“It’s been steadily better and better each year,” he said. 

With both 25th and 50th anniversaries being celebrated, the theme for this year’s SCCC Development Foundation Party Auction, which will take place this Saturday, is appropriately “Silver & Gold.”

Kirkhart said for half of the Development Foundation’s life, the Party Auction has been its gala event.

“Many people in this community interact with the foundation more so at this event than any other event throughout the year,” he said. “This event is in some ways one in the same in their eyes, so we want to make sure that they’re able to celebrate the foundation through an event they’ve come to love.”

With all of the landmarks being celebrated this year at SCCC, life on campus has been quite the whirlwind lately.

“Pleasantly hectic is the best phrase I can use,” Kirkhart said. “Everybody is all hands on deck for the entire year. Even though we’re celebrating the 50-year anniversary for the college, we’re really having a celebration for the next year, if not two years, for that. This marks the beginning of a two-year journey for that first class that came through here, so throughout this next year, we’re going to be doing many award ceremonies and celebrations within departments, within clubs and organizations. Alumni are going to be a part of that heavily.”

Adding to the excitement at SCCC is the new Colvin Allied Health Center and the Champions Center, and Kirkhart said the campus atmosphere particularly has excitement for the Allied Health building.

“I’ve talked to many of them, and they are like children on Christmas Eve waiting to get in that building,” he said. “They are excited for what it’s going to bring for their teaching and for their students and just the future of their program and what it’s going to be able to offer. For the sporting teams here on campus, they are equally as excited because both buildings should finish phase one at the same time.”

Kirkhart said with the new buildings that will soon be a part of the college, SCCC is entering what he described as a transition period for everyone at the school.

“I think transition is a better word than finale,” he said. “It’s not finished yet. This isn’t the end of it all because as we’re finishing these projects, we’re moving on to phase 2 for both of those projects.”

Kirkhart said college officials are already talking about what the next 50 years of SCCC will be like, and leaders with the Development Foundation are doing likewise.

“It’s a huge conversation on campus we’re all a part of, we’re all excited about, and we’re actively listening to one another to make sure the vision and the mission of the college stays true and supports whoever’s here on campus in 2069,” he said.

As for the state of the foundation, Kirkhart said it is currently a curious one.

“We have been going through growing spirts in the last few years, and with these new buildings, we are now realizing what we need to do, what we need to prepare for in the next step,” he said. “The foundation met a few months back to discuss new membership within the board, our vision statement we have worked on to make sure it is aligned with the college’s core values. We just want to make sure we’re making it through this paradigm shift in the best way for our students.”

Kirkhart said recent Party Auctions have gone great, particularly last year’s.

“We had the third best year in its 24-year history,” he said. “Not only that, but I would say the best thing that came from last year was we surpassed a million dollars in gross profits. We raised more than $860,000 in net profits as of last year. The next obvious milestone is to make sure we’re raising more than a million dollars in net profits for our students in the programs their associated with.”

As with past auctions, this year’s event will feature many neat never before seen items.

“We have more than 150 items so far and growing,” Kirkhart said.

Tickets are $20, the same price as 2018’s event, and Kirkhart said that price was chosen to be able to allow younger couples to come in, feel welcome and not have to worry about budgets.

“We want to make sure it’s a fun date night and they too get to have a taste of what it’s like at the Foundation Auction,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun, and we also have $5 child care at the event, so if someone has a 6-month old and above, they can bring them to the Foundation Auction. We’ll have our team watch the kids in a separate place in the same building for $5 a kid. That is really just to make sure there’s no barriers for these younger couples to come in.”

Tickets can be purchased online at Tickets will be held at the SCCC Development off for pick up there before the event. They can also be picked up at the event or hand delivered.

Tickets include entry into the live and silent auction, free beer, wine and soft drinks and live music entertainment. Slow-smoked beef brisket and pulled pork with three sides and desserts is also available for only $5.

Doors for the auction open at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Seward County Activity Center. For more information, call 620-417-1135, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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