MCC Foundation’s Gratitude Reception honors major scholarship donors

Major donors to the Metropolitan Community College Foundation were honored at an April 24 event at Three Points Event Space downtown.

The Gratitude Reception’s guests of honor were Matt and Judith Flynn, former MCC-Penn Valley instructors who established the Cristo Rey Kansas City Scholarship in 2007 for students graduating from the midtown Catholic high school. Twenty students have received the Flynns’ scholarship so far.

Judith and Matt Flynn, founders of the Cristo Rey Kansas City Scholarship

Several MCC scholarship recipients attended the event, and others were featured on a video wall in the posh reception space. Foundation board member Elizabeth Alex emceed the program.

“The best part of tonight is what we see here on the screen,” Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said, gesturing to the portraits of students and accompanying quotes.

“We are here for this reason — and that is to support our students,” Dr. Beatty added.

Gabriel Hernandez, chair of the Foundation’s scholarship committee, told the audience: “We all believe in education. We all believe in scholarships.”

Hernandez, a Foundation board officer-at-large,  introduced a video that told the story of why the Flynns started the Cristo Rey scholarship:

The couple were then presented with the 2018 Vision Award from the MCC Foundation “in appreciation of your dedication to student success,” words that were inscribed on a glass vase filled with fresh flowers.

“It probably should be going to the students,” Judith Flynn said in accepting the honor. “They’re the true heroes.”

Honorees Matt and Judith Flynn (center) with MCC Foundation board member Gabriel Hernandez and MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty

MCC-Blue River graduating student Lacy Goettling spoke about her dreams of becoming a Broadway performer. She received MCC’s Jeremiah Dawson Nail Memorial Scholarship, which is open to Blue River performing arts students. When it came to theater, Nail could do it all, from designing sets to acting to directing. Following graduation from MCC-Blue River in 2003, Nail died in 2004 at age 22 following an auto accident.

“This scholarship changed my life,” Goettling said.

MCC-Blue River student Lacy Goettling, recipient of the Jeremiah Dawson Nail Memorial Scholarship

She had decided to become a biology teacher, largely because she “aced it in high school.” But she had a change of heart, opting instead to pursue her passion of performing “for the rest of my life.”

She chose MCC-Blue River because it was close to home and affordable. She has been applying to musical theater programs at four-year schools.

At Blue River, she joined the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and became an officer. “I’d always been a follower,” she says. “I realized that being a leader is awesome.”

The MCC Foundation maintains more than 160 named scholarships and academic support funds, created by generous donors, that provide ongoing support to MCC students and programs.

MCC-Penn Valley President Tyjaun Lee (left) with scholarship recipient Jen Bess

“I want (donors) to know that their generous gift really goes a long way,” said MCC-Penn Valley student Jen Bess, who received the MCC Foundation Board Scholarship.

“If it wasn’t for their generosity, I don’t know if I’d be in school today.”

Chancellor Beatty said MCC scholarships are “literally saving lives . . . Many (students) face huge challenges with food and home insecurity, and these scholarship dollars help our students overcome those challenges.”

How to make a charitable gift to the MCC Foundation:


MCC scholarship recipients who attended the event included (from left) Keosha Mwangi, Qiv’Vaugh Fields, La Donna Thompson with son Timothy, Vanessa Torres, Daisy Garcia Montoya and Emanuel Burnette.
Wayne Giles, MCC chancellor from 1993 to 2005, with his wife, Sue (right), and Wayne E. Giles Scholarship recipients Kay Thomas and Keosha Mwangi
The MCC-Penn Valley Jazz Ensemble