Student Facilitates Establishment of New Women’s Scholarship at TNCC


Published: April 4, 2006

Ferguson Enterprises on behalf of Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) student Marla Petty, donated $1,330 to the Thomas Nelson Community College Educational Foundation to establish a Business Scholarship for Single Women.

Under the scholarship, one-time awards of $400 each will go to three deserving female students this upcoming fall semester, according to a spokesperson for Newport News- based Ferguson, the leading plumbing and heating distributor in the U.S., and one of the core businesses comprising Wolseley plc, based in the U.K. Awards will be given each semester thereafter until the scholarship funds are exhausted.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must be pursuing a degree or certificate in business. Eligible students, taking at least three hours per semester, must have completed six hours with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

Sandra Robertson, associate professor of business, explained that the scholarship came about as a result of Petty’s participation last summer in a project called “Business Plan for Changes for Women” as part of an Introduction to Business class. One area of the project involved a promotional piece to market the company, said the professor, who was Petty’s instructor at the time.

“Marla organized a celebration for women and presented the idea to Ferguson’s chief financial officer. The outcome was a successful celebration acknowledging women called ‘Women’s Awareness Day.’ At Ferguson corporate office on Jefferson Avenue, more than 400 women participated in workshops on all types of health issues for women. There were about 25 interactive stations on women’s health, exercise, diet, including screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, just to name a few.” Robertson said.

“One component of Marla’s business plan was to present a scholarship to a woman who might not be able to afford to go to TNCC. Ferguson honored this request by providing the monies Marla requested,” Robertson added.

Petty acknowledged that the project was a huge, but worthwhile, undertaking.

“I balanced a full- time job, part- time job, two classes, volunteered for the Hampton Bay Days on the sponsorship committee, and planned the event all along with being a single mom. It is truly an amazing feeling to have seen my idea come to life,” said Petty. “This would not have happened if it weren’t for the support of Ferguson, TNCC, friends and family, and most of all, my daughter. To hear my daughter say she was proud of me and that she loved me and Ferguson for letting her mommy have this opportunity was more rewarding than anything else.”

Through this opportunity I have gained even more appreciation for Ferguson. How many companies open the door for an associate’s idea? I see what Ferguson has to offer as a company just as they now know what I have to offer as an associate,” she added.

To apply for the scholarship contact, Lisa Smith of TNCC’s Financial Aid/Veterans’ Affairs/Scholarships office at 825-2848.

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