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MVCC honors benefactor with renaming

Posted 9/18/19

Mohawk Valley Community College has renamed the Information Technology Building at its Utica campus as Francis A. Wilcox Hall in honor of a donor of $3 million gift. Francis Wilcox was an electrical …

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MVCC honors benefactor with renaming

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Mohawk Valley Community College has renamed the Information Technology Building at its Utica campus as Francis A. Wilcox Hall in honor of a donor of $3 million gift. Francis Wilcox was an electrical engineer with General Electric in Utica and Syracuse, and named the MVCC Foundation in his will. He died in 2011.

Born in Utica, Wilcox graduated from St. Francis de Sales High School, earned a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree from Cornell University. He earned three medals while serving with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in India during World War II.

Of his $3 million gift, $2.5 million is allocated for the Wilcox Memorial Endowed Fund, which will support two full-tuition scholarship funds: The Presidential Scholarship and Exceptional Student Scholarship. These are merit-based awards that benefit more than 70 high school graduates each year and are renewable for their four semesters at MVCC.

Of the remaining $500,000, $250,000 will be used to establish the new Francis A. Wilcox Memorial Adult Student Scholarship, which will be endowed, and the rest will be used to create the Wilcox Family Fund, for other college needs.

The MVCC Presidential Scholarship will be renamed the Francis A. Wilcox Memorial Presidential Scholarship. This full-tuition scholarship, less financial aid, is awarded to students who graduate in the top 10% of their class in an Oneida County high school. Students must be enrolled full-time, taking a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester, and maintain a minimum B, or 3.0, GPA each semester. The endowment of this scholarship will free up funding for the MVCC Foundation, enabling it to help other students in need at the college.

The Francis A. Wilcox Memorial Exceptional Student Scholarship is also full-tuition, but for students who live outside of Oneida County who graduate in the top 10% of their high school class. Awardees are selected by the MVCC Scholarship Committee. Students must be full-time, taking a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester, and maintain a GPA of 3.0.

The Francis A. Wilcox Memorial Adult Student Scholarship will help to create more opportunities for students age 25 and older who live in New York state, show financial need, and have a GPA of 2.0 or higher. The amount will vary, but may be used for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. The student may reapply annually as long as they are attending full- or part-time, and enrolled in a degree, certificate, or micro-credential program.

MVCC held a ceremony to rename the building Tuesday afternoon. Among those attending were Wilcox’s sister Marilyn Keehle, Kevin Keehle, nephew of Francis A. Wilcox and executor to his estate, and his wife Sue Keehle.

“For more than 25 years, MVCC has offered free tuition to the top 10% of students from Oneida County high schools and the surrounding region in an effort to keep the best and brightest in our community,” said Frank B. DuRoss, vice president for community development and executive director of the MVCC Foundation.

“This incredible gift from Mr. Wilcox and the Keehle family will free up approximately $140,000 a year that the MVCC Foundation will be able to allocate to helping the college thrive. Additionally, the new Wilcox Memorial Adult Scholarship and Wilcox Family Fund will help more students succeed by offering an affordable, high-quality education,” DuRoss added.

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