TOMBALL, Texas – When Matthew Ramsdal enrolled into LSC-Tomball two years ago, he became the first in his family to attend college, so he made a commitment to himself to work hard and to make his family proud. His commitment recently paid off in a big way when he was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, worth up to $40,000 a year, to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.
“I was so surprised when I got the call,” Ramsdal said, smiling. “It was a moment that I will never forget. My whole family is really excited and happy. We stayed up all night just talking about what the future holds for me, and all of the possibilities that previously weren’t possibilities, now that I have this scholarship to help further my education."
The Cooke Foundation selected 55 outstanding community college students from around the nation from a competitive pool of nearly 3,000 applicants to receive Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships this year. All of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have financial need and strong records of academic achievement as shown by grades, leadership skills, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity.
“I faced a lot of adversity,” Ramsdal stressed. “In fact, during my first year of school, I almost quit, but I’m so glad that I kept going. This is really an honor to receive this scholarship.”
The Cooke Foundation works to fulfill Cooke’s vision of helping high achieving, low-income students by educating the public, awarding prizes, providing grants to other organizations with similar missions, and conducting high-visibility research. Cooke, who overcame similar obstacles to those whom the scholarship benefits, was a Canadian entrepreneur and former owner of the Washington Redskins, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Kings.
Ramsdal, a computer science major, who plans to attend the University of Houston once he graduates from LSC-Tomball this month, went on to credit the Lone Star College Honors College Chancellor’s Fellows program in which he has participated, for his success in college and determination to push through the tough times.
“The Honors College is really what saved me,” Ramsdal said of The Honors College Chancellor's Fellows program, which has a required course curriculum, inside and outside the classroom, with extensive Honors College service projects and events. “I received so much help and guidance in the program, and I feel that it was the experience I gained from being disciplined in the Honors College that put me in a position to be considered for the Cooke Foundation scholarship.”
The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions that award bachelor’s degrees. Funds are intended to cover the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad, and opportunities to network with other Cooke Scholars and alumni. Cooke Scholars additionally are eligible for graduate school funding up to $50,000 per year for up to four years.
“Our Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have a proven record of accomplishment at elite colleges and universities and have gone on to successful careers in many professions,”
Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy said. “This is among the most prestigious scholarships in the country and we are extremely proud of the talented students who have been selected.”
Since 2000, the Cooke Foundation has provided more than $152 million in scholarships to nearly 2,200 students from eighth grade through graduate school. The foundation has also awarded over $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.
Lone Star College-Tomball is located at 35000 Tomball Parkway, at the intersection of SH 249 and Zion Road. For more information about the college, call 281.351.3300 or visit LoneStar.edu/Tomball.