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New Scholarship Honors Maria Parham Guild Gift Gallery Volunteer


Volunteers from the Guild Gift Gallery at Maria Parham Health recently presented $25,000 to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund to create a new scholarship. This scholarship — the 14th established by the Guild Gift Gallery in recent years — honors the memory of one of the volunteers, the late Vernell Champion of Henderson. Champion passed away in November 2018 at age 76.

“Vernell was one special lady,” her fellow gift shop volunteer, Cathy Robertson, remembered. “Vernell was a valuable asset to the Guild Gift Gallery for more than eight years. She was a loyal volunteer, always ready to lend a helping hand anytime, and she was a special friend to all who knew her. She was an active member of Victory Baptist Church and also of South Henderson Pentecostal Church.”

The new gift continues a tradition of the organization’s generous support for education. The volunteer-operated Guild Gift Gallery offers convenience items and gifts as a service to both patients and visitors at the hospital. Profits from sales are used to provide scholarships to people preparing to enter the healthcare professions. The new VGCC scholarship will assist deserving students in programs such as Nursing, Radiography, Medical Assisting, and Pharmacy Technology.

“Vance-Granville continues to be grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Guild Gift Gallery,” said Eddie Ferguson, VGCC’s Endowment Fund director. “We’re honored that we get the opportunity to celebrate the life of Mrs. Champion in this way, by helping students achieve their educational goals for years to come.”

Because the Vernell Champion/Guild Gift Gallery at Maria Parham Presidential Scholar Award is endowed, it will be awarded in perpetuity.

“Mrs. Champion’s legacy of volunteer service will be an inspirational example to students who receive a scholarship in her name, as they prepare to serve in the healthcare field,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, the president of VGCC. “Thanks to volunteers like Mrs. Champion, the Guild Gift Gallery makes a significant difference in our community by supporting students in their pursuit of rewarding careers.”

About the Endowment Fund

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 scholarships to students since 1982. Numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, and churches have endowed scholarships, as well as the College’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business, or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information, call (252) 738-3409.

Photo of volunteers at Guild Gift Gallery