On The Record
Laurie Wadhams and her husband Tim are leading the Washtenaw Community College Foundation’s Campaign for Success. To date, the Campaign has garnered over $8 million in contributions and pledges, far and away the most successful fund raising effort in the college’s 50-year history. The contributions will support faculty innovation and student scholarships and success. Wadhams, who is also the Foundation Board Secretary and serves on the Women’s Council, credits the success to a number of factors: “We have a fabulous, very active and engaged leadership committee. We have benefitted from WCC’s outstanding reputation and from the leadership and support of President Dr. Rose Bellanca, former Vice President of Advancement Wendy Lawson and current Executive Director Julaine LeDuc,” she said. “Donors have stepped up and are very generous. We anticipate the community will continue to support WCC, and the numbers should continue to grow.”
For Wadhams, working to support the mission of WCC is a cause near and dear to her heart.
When she graduated from high school in 1966, her family expected her to go to college, although she wasn’t always the most focused student. She did not fare well academically during her first semester at Central Michigan University and was sick. She didn’t return the second semester as she recovered.
“After healing, my dad said to me: ‘If you do not want to go to college, that’s okay. But you have to get off your fanny and do something,’” Wadhams said.
She found work as a secretary at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, but she felt unfulfilled. “I realized I wanted to go back to school,” she said. “And this time, that desire was coming from me.”
Wadhams attended WCC in the fall of 1967, when the college was so new that her classes were held in trailers. “The instructors were wonderful and the classes were much smaller,” she remembers. “I did very well. It proved to me that I was capable and that I could do the work.” She stayed a full year at WCC and then transferred to Eastern Michigan University, where she excelled and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
Now, when hearing her friends reminisce about their college days, “I remember my most favorite year of my college experience—and that was at WCC,” Wadhams said. “That’s where I come from.”
The WCC Foundation is still gathering support for student scholarships. You can donate online at: wccnet.edu/foundation.