STLCC Foundation Receives Funds to Establish Endowed Scholarship for Health Care Careers
The St. Louis Community College Foundation has received a contribution from BJC HealthCare to establish the Valerie Bell and Kelvin Westbrook Endowed Scholarship for Health Care Careers. The gift was made to recognize Kelvin’s longstanding board service to BJC HealthCare and to support the vision of Valerie and Kelvin to improve opportunities for young people.
This scholarship fund is established by BJC HealthCare in honor of Valerie Bell and Kelvin Westbrook and will encourage and inspire deserving students to earn a degree in a health care career path at St. Louis Community College. It covers tuition and books for a year, and will follow the selected student to graduation if that student remains in good standing.
“We are honored and humbled by BJC’s generous gift to the STLCC Foundation to assist students pursuing careers in health care professions,” said Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D., STLCC chancellor. “Increasing accessibility to scholarships increases opportunities for our students to enroll and persist in a health care career pathway, particularly during this pandemic. We are grateful for BJC’s generous investment in our students and in transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s health care professionals.”
STLCC now trains the vast majority of nurses and allied health care workers in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The College’s Center for Nursing and Health Sciences is home to approximately 900 students in nursing and 13 other high-demand health science professions. The College recently expanded the capacity of its nursing program by more than 50%. The emergency medical technician and ultrasound technology programs have also expanded to meet demand.
Rich Liekweg, CEO of BJC HealthCare Systems, said the scholarship fund will enhance STLCC’s ability to train quality healthcare professionals as well as increase diversity in the medical professions to better serve patients throughout the region.
“Kelvin Westbrook is one of BJC’s longest serving board members, retiring as board chair in December 2019. Together, Kelvin and Valerie have devoted so much of their time and energy to helping to improve health care and education in our region,” said Liekweg. “BJC is pleased to be able to reflect both of their passions with the establishment of the Valerie Bell and Kelvin Westbrook Endowed Scholarship for Health Care Careers.”
At STLCC, more than 59% of students receive financial assistance, with unmet student financial aid topping $40 million.
A respected attorney and civic volunteer, Bell is passionate about public education. She is a former member of the St. Louis Community College Foundation Board of Directors. She is a current member and past chair of the board of the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation.
Westbrook is president and CEO of KRW Advisors, LLC. KRW Advisors provides strategic and general business and consulting services to companies in telecommunications, media and other industries. He serves on the boards of several public companies. Westbrook has provided valuable insight into helping STLCC grow its commitment to developing trained health care professionals for the region.
“Community colleges, including SLCC, perform a special service by providing postsecondary educational opportunities for many whose circumstances put them on a nontraditional path to college education,” he said. “In fact, community college facilitated my journey to becoming the first among 11 siblings to graduate college and Harvard Law School, and to a successful legal practice in New York City and business career in St. Louis. We are hopeful the funding from BJC will assist others from similar backgrounds in pursuit of careers in healthcare.”
Bell and Westbrook, who married after meeting at Harvard Law School, will select the scholarship recipient with recommendations from the student’s academic program lead. They will meet the first scholarship recipient, as well as attend the student’s graduation or pinning ceremony.
Recipients must meet the following criteria:
- Be currently enrolled at STLCC and pursuing a degree in a health care career pathway.
- Complete a scholarship application.
- Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and be in good standing.
- Demonstrate unmet financial need as determined by the financial aid office under the standard federal needs analysis formula.
- Preference will be given to students of color.
- Recipient will be required to send a note of thanks to the donor as a condition of receiving the award and agree to meet with the donors at a mutually agreed upon time.
Students must complete a scholarship application and submit other materials as required to the financial aid office. Applications are available on the STLCC Foundation Scholarship website.
About the STLCC Foundation
The St. Louis Community College Foundation was established to assist STLCC in fulfilling its mission of serving students and the community. The foundation forms partnerships to attract funding for scholarships and programs that benefit STLCC students and the community at large.