TNCC Hosts Benefit Scholarship Gala Honoring William and Janice Grace


Published: April 13, 2010

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) and its Educational Foundation will host a benefit gala on Friday, April 23 honoring Mr. and Mrs. William M. Grace for their outstanding record of public service. A fund raising and dinner event set for 6:30 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, the gala will support the establishment of an endowed scholarship for TNCC students enrolled in courses related to the arts and/or business. The scholarship will be named for Mr. and Mrs. Grace.

“Thomas Nelson Community College is privileged and honored to recognize two pillars of our community whose civic engagement and personal generosity continue to uplift countless citizens. Bill and Janice Grace model exemplary leadership in their public and private spheres and for their good deeds, we are grateful,” said TNCC President Alvin J. Schexnider.

The event will include Cathy Lewis founding host of “HearSay with Cathy Lewis” on 89.5 WHRV-FM as mistress of ceremony. Honorary co-chairs of the event’s steering committee include U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Newport News Mayor Joe S. Frank and Hampton Mayor Molly Joseph Ward. Mayors Frank and Ward are scheduled to attend.

“This is going to be a wonderful event to honor two citizens, Bill and Janice Grace, who have contributed so very much to our community. Their support of Thomas Nelson is one more example of their generosity,” said Mayor Ward.

Mayor Frank agreed. “I am delighted that Thomas Nelson Community College, which has done so much to improve the lives of so many, is honoring Bill and Janice Grace at a Gala on April 23. Both Bill and Janice themselves have been an important part of this community for many years,” he said.

“Their commitment, involvement, and significant contributions of time, energy, and resources in so many fields of endeavor, education, economic development, and public service — as well as the advancement of young people — have made a significant mark on this community. This wonderful recognition by TNCC is richly deserved,” Mayor Frank added.

Sen. Warner echoed Mayor Frank’s remarks. “Bill and Janice have contributed so much to the economic, educational and cultural vitality of this region,” said Sen. Warner. “I congratulate them for their years of service, and I congratulate TNCC for organizing this event and choosing to honor Bill and Janice Grace with a scholarship in their name.”

Mr. Grace’s connection to TNCC dates back to the 1990s when he served as director of the Educational Foundation and Mrs. Grace is an alumna of the College who received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Data Processing Technology. Mr. Grace is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam and Korean. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri.

The Graces head Newport News-based Grace Industries — Mr. Grace as President/Chief Executive Officer and Mrs. Grace as Vice President/Financial Manager. The company was established in 1973.

In addition to his role as a businessman, Mr. Grace is a renowned photographer, serves on the boards of numerous professional, community and civic organizations and has received many awards for this work. The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce named Grace its Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award in 2006.

Other organizations with which he participates include, but are not limited to: An Achievable Dream, Virginia International Terminal, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Boys and Girls Club of America, People to People, Newport News Industrial Development Authority, WHRO Public Broadcasting, Oyster Point Development Corporation, Virginia Air and Space Center, United Way of the Virginia Peninsula and the Virginia Living Museum.

Mrs. Grace is active in the civic arena as well with memberships in the Oyster Point Investment Club, Chesapeake Carats, Inc. and Peninsula Sales & Marketing. She serves as an accountant with Rand Enterprises, Inc. in Newport News and was named among Who’s Who in America in 1989.

For more information about purchasing tickets to attend the April 23 scholarship benefit event, please contact the TNCC Educational Foundation at 825-2719.

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