RCTC Receives $75,000 Gift to Fund Student Scholarships

Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) and the RCTC Foundation are proud to announce the Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust has committed $75,000 to RCTC for scholarships over the next three years.  This gift is specifically intended to help make a college education more accessible and affordable for high-need students, especially those who have traditionally faced barriers to receiving an education such as students of color and single parents. The Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust has given $30,000 to be awarded this summer for students with high financial need, who are enrolled at RCTC for the 2021-2022 academic year.  The Skaaren Trust also pledges $25,000 and $20,000 for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 respectively.

The Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust is named for Warren Skaaren, a Rochester-native and 1966 alumnus of Rochester Community College (RCC—predecessor of RCTC) who went on to earn Hollywood notoriety as a screenwriter and executive producer.  After successful work with Paramount Pictures on the film Fire with Fire (1985), Skaaren became known in Hollywood as a “script doctor.”  Skaaren worked on well-known films including Top Gun (1986), Beetlejuice (1987), Beverly Hills Cop II (1988), and Batman (1989).  During this time, Skaaren maintained a connection with his long-time mentor, Robert (Bob) Wise, Associate Dean of Students at RCC.  Skaaren passed away in 1990, and the Trust he created supports causes and institutions that mattered to him.

“Warren Skaaren always spoke about how important his years were at RCTC and of the many ways he benefited from the mentoring he received from Dean Robert Wise,” said Amon Burton, Trustee of the Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust.  “The Trust that Warren created is now funding Skaaren Scholarships so other students can benefit from his successful motion picture career.”  RCTC President Jeffery Boyd, Ed.D., agrees, noting, “We all have special mentors in our lives, and it’s amazing to see one of those bonds between a student and his advisor benefit our students 55+ years later.  I didn’t have the pleasure to know either Warren or Bob, but it is apparent they were both compassionate and generous human beings.  Gentlemen that knew the importance of an education, and who would be pleased to know their gifts to our College are being paid forward to the next generation.”

The $75,000 gift will fund scholarships for students facing significant need.  Specifically, eligible students include students of color (BIPOC), and single parents.  Research shows students in these groups often have reduced access to higher education.  These scholarships will lessen or eliminate the financial barrier to affording a college education.  This summer, thanks to the generosity of the Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust, the RCTC Foundation will award $30,000 in scholarships for students with financial need, with the neediest students receiving scholarships to cover all tuition and fees for an academic year.

“Scholarships to RCTC can be life-changing,” said Matt Bissonette, Ed.D., Interim Executive Director of the RCTC Foundation.  “For many of our students who are living in poverty, a scholarship to RCTC can start a successful career that will provide them with financial stability for themselves and their families.  We are incredibly grateful to the Warren Skaaren Charitable Trust for giving so generously to help RCTC students have a better future.”

Interested students may begin applying for scholarships beginning on May 10, 2021.  All applications must be completed via the online portal on or before June 18, 2021.  Students in need of assistance with completing the application have two opportunities to attend a virtual scholarship workshop with RCTC Foundation staff (May 19 at 3pm and June 15 at 3pm) Students can RSVP by emailing foundation@rctc.edu.

Additional information about this gift and how to apply for scholarships can be found at: https://www.rctc.edu/foundation/scholarships/skaarenscholarships/.