Oct. 14 2021 8:40p
(WGTD)---Kenosha philanthropist Andy Callahan choked up a bit when explaining to an audience at UW-Parkside Thursday why he and his family had decided to donate $3 million to create a new scholarship program primarily for minority students.
Callahan had just heard the story of sophomore nursing student Jacky Velasco, who said her college education was thrown into doubt as she struggled in high school, and then again when finances ran out at the end of her freshman year, even though she had a 4.0 GPA.
Speaking during a dedication ceremony Thursday for the new Callahan Family Student Success & Learning Commons, Velasco told the family that its donation will help to solidify the success of students selected for the scholarships who otherwise might not make it. "Your guidance will give each and every one of us the ability to reach our full potential," she said. Velasco is in the first cohort of Callahan Scholars, as they're being called.
The scholarship program is set up to help fund the college educations of 40 students each year. Those students will also benefit from a student success coach who’s been assigned to work exclusively with the Callahan Scholars.
In exchange for the family’s generosity, a newly-renovated space in Wyllie Hall that’s now home to a consolidated group of support services was named in their honor.
The Callahan Family Student Success & Learning Commons is part of a state-funded, $35 million renovation of Wyllie Hall that won’t be completed until next year. Another major component is a remodeling of Parkside’s library.