2016 Grad Lavinia Soliman Awarded Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Lavinia Soliman with MCCC President Dr. Kevin PollockMay 19, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) proudly announces that 2016 graduate Lavinia Soliman of Souderton has been 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.

Soliman was one of 75 community college students in the country to receive this prestigious scholarship and award and was selected from a nationwide pool of more than 2,000 applicants. 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.

While a student at MCCC, Soliman took on leadership roles in the Student Government Association, MCCC’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, the Environmental Sustainability Club and the Anthropology and Archeology Club. Additionally, she served as a representative on the Student Board for the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and volunteered with several community projects.

 Lavinia Soliman with Provost, Deans and Faculty

Lavinia Soliman (center) stands with Assistant Professor of Economics Jill Beccaris-Pescatore, Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dr. Lynn O'Brien,Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Aaron Shatzman, and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

As a result of her academic and civic achievements, she was named the 2016 Neuman Civic Fellow. Soliman graduated summa cum laude. She participated in MCCC’s Honors Program and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa, international honor society of two-year colleges.

“We are proud of Lavinia’s accomplishments both on campus and in the community,” said MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock. “Being named a 2016 Cooke Scholar is quite an honor for her and the College, and we congratulate her on her success.”

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.

“Many elite colleges and universities are reluctant to admit large numbers of transfer students from community colleges, even when these students have excellent grades and other qualifications,” said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “This is unfair and unwise. The Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholars have a long record of success at the most selective colleges and graduate schools, such as the Ivy League in the United States and the University of Oxford in Great Britain. These extraordinary young people have proven repeatedly and conclusively that top community college students have the ability to thrive in top four-year colleges. They deserve equal educational opportunity.”

Cooke Scholarships fund 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. In addition, after earning a bachelor’s degree, each Cooke Scholar will be eligible for a scholarship for graduate school worth up to $50,000 a year for up to four years.

According to theAmerican Association of Community Colleges, 45 percent of the undergraduate students in the United States were attending community colleges in 2014.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. It offers the largest scholarships in the U.S., comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 8th grade to graduate school. Since 2000 it has awarded about $147 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students and $90 million in grants to organizations that serve outstanding low-income students. jkcf.org.

- Diane VanDyke

Lavinia Soliman with Dr. Kevin Pollock

MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock presents Lavinia Soliman with a certificate from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation prior to Commencement on May 19, 2016. Photo by Sandi Yanisko