Dr. David H. Sturtz honors parents, supports SC4 students with new $50,000 endowed scholarship

“There’s an old saying: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,’” says Dr. David H. Sturtz, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and St. Clair County Community College alumnus. “My mother was an avid reader and believer in higher education, though neither of my parents attended college. St. Clair County Community College was there for me. It’s where I got my start.”

Dr. Sturtz’s love and admiration for his parents, appreciation of his community college, and passion for improving the health and wellness of his patients inspired him to establish the David and Anne Sturtz Endowed Scholarship in memory of his parents to support SC4 students pursuing health care and STEM programs. The scholarship will help new generations of SC4 students positively impact quality of life in the Blue Water Area and far beyond for years to come.

Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 9.45.37 AMDr. Sturtz grew up in Lexington, Mich. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a way to serve his country, see the world and secure a more stable path to a college education. The Vietnam War veteran chose SC4 at the end of his term to save money and get basic credits out of the way. According to Dr. Sturtz, SC4 advisors and faculty members provided immediate and lasting support and assistance.

“Our ship got in about two weeks into the start of the semester,” he says. “SC4 agreed to accept me late. Advisors like Paul Geer and professors such as Chris Russell took a chance on me and gave me invaluable advice. They helped guide me toward becoming a health care professional.”

Dr. Sturtz earned his Associate in Science from SC4 in 1974. He then transferred to Albion College, where he graduated summa cum laude as a pre-med major before enrolling at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. There, he met his wife, Barbara – the only U.S. Navy scholarship student in a class of more than 150 – and earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery.

Though he had already spent years pursuing his dream career in health care, the organizational skills and perseverance learned in the Navy continued to serve him well in the years that followed. Dr. Sturtz completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Naval Hospital San Diego, followed by a three-year tour at the Naval Hospital Yokosuka Japan as the chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

He retired from the Navy in 1999, practiced at a number of offices around Metro Detroit, and purchased Plymouth Oral and Facial Surgery, PLC offices in Plymouth, Ann Arbor, and Chelsea. In addition, he has taught as an adjunct professor on the U-M School of Dentistry faculty for years and went back to school to earn a Master of Science in Business Administration with a health care administration specialty from Madonna University.

With vast professional experiences and credentials earned from a wide variety of prestigious institutions, Dr. Sturtz’s belief in SC4 holds strong.

“My mom always said the best investment you can make is in yourself,” says Dr. Sturtz, who resides in Northville with his wife and two daughters. “The quality of education and the support and services I found at SC4 were on par with anywhere else I went. I feel very fortunate to have started at SC4. It provided me with a solid foundation, great experience and a seamless transition.”

SC4 Foundation supports students with more than $100,000 in new scholarships

The St. Clair County Community College Foundation (SC4F) recently approved $100,500 in new scholarships for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year. Students pursuing programs in all fields of study at the college may benefit from the scholarships, especially those in health sciences.

“We are grateful to the SC4 Foundation and its continued assistance in helping to maximize student success at SC4,” said SC4 President Dr. Deborah A. Snyder. “With an aging population and health-related job projections showing immense growth in the coming years, health care professionals are more in demand than ever. We have a long history of preparing tomorrow’s health care leaders, and support for our students and college helps us tremendously.”

SC4 grad succeeds with help from Community Foundation’s Complete Your Degree Program

The Complete Your Degree program is celebrating the graduation of its first class of students.

“My time at SC4 in the CYD program has helped me tremendously financially, academically and emotionally to transfer to a university,” said CYD recipient Brittany Simpson. “Being at SC4 and in the program helped me save money because I got to live at home and work while the program covered my tuition.”

Simpson and six of her Marine City High School classmates were accepted into the CYD program when it first launched in the fall of 2017. This is thanks to the generous support of the Alexander & Celestine Lamere Fund.

SC4’s Jo Cassar receives Michigan Student Financial Aid Association Lifetime Achievement Award

St. Clair County Community College’s Director of Financial Assistance and Services Jo Cassar was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association.

Cassar is only the 14th person among all colleges and universities in Michigan to receive this prestigious recognition since it was first awarded in 1985. With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, she is known as a leader among financial aid professionals in the state and across the country.

“We are so proud to have Jo on our team,” said Vice President of Student Services Pete Lacey. “After joining SC4 in 2001, Jo has helped improve college access for thousands of students and families by sharing her knowledge and expertise. Congratulations to her on this outstanding and well-deserved honor.”

SC4 student Kristyn Franzel named Michigan’s 2019 New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar

St. Clair County Community College student Kristyn Franzel has been named Michigan’s 2019 New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar and will receive a $2,250 scholarship.

New Century Transfer Pathway Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar is selected from each state.

The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

“We congratulate Kristyn Franzel for receiving this prestigious scholarship, and we are honored to partner with the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation and the AACC to recognize her outstanding achievements,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for two-year college students to succeed and for putting college completion within reach.”

The New Century Transfer Pathway Scholars will be recognized at Phi Theta Kappa’s Presidents Breakfast in Orlando, Florida, on April 15 during the AACC Convention.

“I am beyond blessed for this opportunity and to be bestowed the honor of New Century Transfer Pathway Scholar,” Franzel said. “St. Clair County Community College and Phi Theta Kappa have held such an important place in my life and being affiliated with them will be crucial to my success in the future.”

A Sandusky High School graduate and Clyde, Michigan, resident, Franzel will soon graduate from SC4 with an Associate of Science degree and has plans to transfer to Oakland University to pursue a mathematics degree with a specialization in secondary education.

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students to grow as scholars and leaders. The society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 nations. Learn more at ptk.org.

SC4 to host Degrees and Donuts Open House April 27

St. Clair County Community College will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, in the SC4 Welcome Center, Room 150.

Degrees and Donuts will provide an opportunity for prospective students to take a campus tour and learn about in-demand careers, SC4 programs, transfer opportunities and support services. The event also will feature donuts from Chef Shell’s Restaurant and Catering and coffee from the Exquisite Corpse Coffee House

“We are excited to offer this unique open house opportunity,” said Admissions Director Tom Kephart. “With our commitment to maximizing student success combined with top programs in high-demand fields, expert faculty, small class sizes and affordability, an SC4 education just makes sense.”

He added, “We look forward to assisting anyone with questions on April 27, and we are grateful to Chef Shell’s and the Exquisite Corpse Coffee House for their support.”

Faculty members from various program areas, as well as representatives from Admissions, Advising, SC4 TRIO, the Achievement Center, Walsh College, Ferris State University and UM-Flint, will be in attendance at the event.

SC4 offers students a wide array of degree and certificate programs taught by faculty members that have spent time in both the classroom and the workforce. Students also have the option of completing the 30-credit Michigan Transfer Agreement, which allows them to easily transfer a block of general education courses to any participating four-year college or university in Michigan.

Degrees and Donuts is free and open to all prospective students and their families. Learn more about SC4 programs and how to apply at sc4.edu/programs.

SC4 student among recipients of Ellucian Pathways Scholarship

Ellucian, the leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, recently announced that St. Clair County Community College is amongst the recipients of the Ellucian Pathways Scholarship. The scholarship is designed to provide financial support to students at institutions with guided pathways programs who, due to financial constraints, may have difficulty continuing their education.

Kathy Brady, a student in the Associate Degree Nursing program at St. Clair County Community College, received the scholarship to help continue her education after family hardship forced her to put her plans on hold. Kathy shared her inspiring story in a video as part of the scholarship application process.

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“It is clear that guided pathways programs are helping students complete their degrees, but the sheer volume of submissions for this scholarship underscores the need that still exists for so many students,” said Jackie Yeaney, chief marketing officer at Ellucian. “We truly believe that education has the power to transform lives and are extremely proud to support the Pathways Scholarship recipients as they continue their education and achieve their goals.”

The scholarship awarded a total of $50,000 dispersed to 10 institutions with guided pathways programs. Each institution will provide scholarship funds to students who submitted a video sharing their story, education goals, and the impact higher education has on their life. Remaining funds will be used at the institution’s discretion to help additional students in need continue their course of study.

Mission Accomplished: Marine City woman completes nursing degree with boost from scholarship

Dec. 13 marked a major achievement for Nikki Leonard, 24, of Marine City. She graduated from the Licensed Practical Nurse program at St. Clair County Community College.

From her earliest years, Nikki says she knew someday she would be a nurse. So, she started taking pre-requisite courses for nursing and then decided to take a break from school before entering the program at SC4. During her break, she decided to test the waters of the medical field and become a certified nurse aide. Following the month-long class, she got a job as a CNA at Medilodge of St. Clair. It was then that life threw her a curveball. Her mother got very sick.

Read more of Nikki’s story from The Keel.

During Michigan College Month, think about SC4

October is Michigan College Month, the statewide focus of a larger national initiative that encourages graduating high school seniors to submit at least one college application and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Oct. 31.

Michigan is home to some of the country’s finest two- and four-year colleges and universities. Still, the decision to attend college remains a difficult choice for many, even with recent studies showing that graduates have greater access to job opportunities and earn $1 million more on average over their lifetimes than those with only a high school diploma.

Beyond the numbers, going to college also provides formative sociocultural benefits, bringing students together in diverse communities to bond over shared interests and different perspectives while challenging preconceptions that prove costly in today’s global marketplace.

Why SC4?


The cost of a college education can make an undeniably smart choice more difficult. That’s one of the main reasons why community colleges like St. Clair County Community College are so important: They offer options and affordability.

  • Associate degree programs prepare you to immediately enter your chosen field in as little as two years.
  • Save time and money on a bachelor’s degree by earning affordable credits you can transfer to a four-year institution.
  • SC4 offers a more personalized learning environment, with smaller class sizes and more one-on-one engagement with instructors.
  • If you’re not sure what to study, you can explore various subjects that interest you by taking courses that cost less.
  • Study on your schedule. SC4 offers more flexible courses in the evenings after business hours and online.

Campus life

When considering community college, campus life is sometimes listed as a drawback. While flexibility and affordability are important, many students are interested in a “true college experience.” That’s where SC4 sets itself apart, offering the benefits of a community college with the feel of a four-year institution — including the opportunity to complete a degree or earn easily transferable credits at nearly a third of the cost.

  • A 29-acre campus in the heart of downtown Port Huron, a uniquely vibrant city where something new is happening every day. Our city is right on a busy international border, straddling the banks of the St. Clair River and steps away from the beautiful shores of Lake Huron.
  • Accredited programs led by faculty members who have achieved success in their fields, lending their expertise to prepare students for fulfilling careers.
  • Brand-new campus housing right downtown, with room for 80 students and all the creature comforts.
  • 11 athletics teams, with tailgates, game days and all the excitement of college sports.
  • A center of arts and culture in the community, with everything from special exhibits to one-of-a-kind concerts, plays and so much more.
  • A full fitness center — free for students — with a basketball court, walking track, weight room and cardio equipment.
  • A wide array of student clubs and activities to explore interests and passions.
  • Dedicated advisors and student support services like the math, writing and achievement centers.

This Michigan College Month, let’s not lose sight of our important local institutions. Amidst rising costs, SC4 is a different kind of community college offering more than you’d expect.

SC4’s annual Financial Aid Night to provide community with valuable insight on paying for college

PORT HURON — St. Clair County Community College will host its annual Financial Aid night at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the college’s Fine Arts Theatre.

Open to students, families and all area residents, the event connects SC4’s financial aid experts with the community to share valuable information about financial aid processes, opportunities and tips to maximize the money you can receive.

With the 2019-20 Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) becoming available Oct. 1, the event provides timely assistance for anyone who wants to learn more about paying for college. While Financial Aid Night is hosted by SC4, students and families interested in any college are welcome to attend.

The college also hosts a number of financial aid info sessions throughout the year. Learn more at sc4.edu/financial-aid.