As Drs. John and Suanne Roueche walked into the room, a nervous smile stretched across the face of Austin Community College nursing student Mario Hernandez.
“I didn’t see college in my future,” says Hernandez. “I didn’t have the financial support system to make it a reality. I didn’t know about financial aid. I didn’t know there were scholarships. The Roueches made it possible.”
They truly treasure the fact that you’re going to be successful. – Dr. Richard Rhodes
Hernandez and nine other ACC students received the Drs. John and Suanne Roueche Endowed Scholarship at ACC for the 2015-16 academic year.
“Having an opportunity to meet them and say thank you in person was important to me,” says Hernandez. “Hearing their words of advice gives me the encouragement I need to continue pushing through any obstacle that may come my way.”
“You can’t give somebody success, but you can create conditions that help students develop their ability and find success,” says John. “Good things happen when you give your best.”
For decades the husband and wife team have devoted their careers and life to increasing access to higher education and enhancing student success. First established in 2012, the Roueche scholarship at ACC has helped 37 students pursue their passion. The scholarships are offered through an endowment established with the ACC Foundation for which John also serves on the Board of Directors. In 2014, the Roueches established an additional scholarship program for students in ACC’s Veterinary Technology program. Ten students received awards this year.
“They are true believers in the mission of the community college and they put their money where their heart is. It’s a personal investment,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO. “They truly treasure the fact that you’re going to be successful. Through their support students are empowered to reach their academic goals and better their lives.”
Along with supporting students, the Roueches have worked to empower community college systems nationwide. Having mentored more than 200 community college CEOs, including Dr. Rhodes, the Roueches have been instrumental in developing student-centered institutions.
It’s about investing in our future. – Dr. John Roueche
“Their contributions to education are historical,” says Dr. Rhodes. “They are my mentors. They are what I aspire to be as a leader; a person who really puts their heart and soul, their passion, and their money into other peoples’ lives to help them be better.”
Hernandez will graduate in May with his associate degree and has been accepted to Texas State University where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science in fall.
“My future, without their support, was unclear,” says Hernandez. “The faith they had in me and the support they’re giving me through this scholarship not only made my pathway to a career financially possible, it gave me the courage to pursue and to succeed.”
“I was concerned that maybe our scholarships weren’t enough to help people get through,” says Suanne. “I’ve always been surprised at what kind of a difference it makes. What you invest in them comes back. They stay in school. They graduate. They find success.
“It’s about investing in our future. Community colleges take all the people in society who don’t have opportunities and they give them opportunities; they give them a chance. There’s nothing more profound.”
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