Grainger Foundation Increases Scholarship Opportunities for CTC Students

The generosity of the Grainger Foundation has reached incredible levels. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $30,000 in scholarship money to Columbus Technical College students. Qualifying students must be in the automotive technology, welding, or heating/ventilation/air-conditioning (HVAC) programs. The program has been so successful that as of fall semester of 2013, officials with the Grainger Foundation upped the ante by providing five students per term, instead of four, with $525 each that can be used for tools and equipment in their chosen careers. That increases the annual scholarship to $8,000.

The most recent winners of this award are: welding student Ricky Kopec and HVAC students LeRoy Willis, Cecil Wommack, Michael Morgan, and Brian Howley. Part of the scholarship application process includes each student writing an essay that addresses why he or she should be a Grainger Scholar. In his essay, Ricky Kopec wrote about how he would use the money toward buying his own welding machine and how he tries to lead by example in the classroom and life in general.

Grainger winners, fall 2013

A big group came out to support the winners of the fall 2013 Grainger Scholarship including (front row) Columbus Technical College President Lorette M. Hoover and Grainger Branch Manager Brian Brock. Winners Brian Howley, Cecil Wommack, Michael Morgan are also pictured on the front row. (Not pictured are winners Ricky Kopec and LeRoy Willis.)

“I have had an ‘open door’ to my fellow classmates…I have volunteered to do several projects, including a giant grill for a church,” Kopec wrote.

Student Cecil Wommack is a 61-year-old Viet Nam Army veteran. When he found himself unemployed in the summer of 2012, he enrolled in the HVAC program at Columbus Technical College and hopes to find a good-paying job when he finishes.

“I chose the HVAC field of study because no matter what state the economy is in, people need heating and air-conditioning and businesses need refrigeration to keep their business open,” Wommack wrote.

LeRoy Willis is a 54-year-old unemployed veteran who describes himself as a self-motivated individual. He is proving himself right with maintaining a 3.87 GPA in the HVAC program. The extra money provided by the Grainger Foundation Scholarship will be a big boost for him.

“It will give me the tools that are required to finish my classes with the hands-on teaching that I need. I will also be able to further the need for tools in my career with working on the air-conditioning systems at a job that I hope to get when I graduate,” Willis wrote.

Meanwhile, winner Michael Morgan looks forward to opening his own HVAC business. Brian Howley lost his job as Cessna in March of 2011 and looks forward to a forging ahead with a comfortable future in the HVAC industry.

About Grainger: Grainger has been a part of the Columbus business community for more than 20 years as the leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair, and operating products. The Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation based in Lake Forest, Illinois, was established in 1949 by William W. Grainger, founder of W.W. Grainger, Inc. The donation was recommended by Brian Brock, Branch Manager in Columbus. For more information about Grainger, contact Kristen Lawrence, Communications Manager at