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MAC’s Simmons Match campaign enters final month

PARK HILLS – Less than a month remains on the fund-raising campaign that was motivated by an alumnus’s motivation to memorialize his wife and also observe the local community college’s 90th anniversary. As of this writing, only 63 more, $90 donations are needed to secure the foundation’s goal.

Mineral Area College Foundation’s “Simmons Match” will raise money for business, law enforcement and nursing programs at Mineral Area College, which got its start as Flat River Junior College in 1922. FRJC alum Dr. N. Gayle Simmons, who was also a one-time dean at MAC and currently sits on the Foundation board, has pledged a $90 match to anyone donating $90 to the Foundation. For donations less than $90, he’s offering a 10 percent match. The matching campaign ends on Sept. 9, or 9/9. This year, Simmons also turns 90.

“Since FRJC and MAC have been such an integral part of my life, I feel as though I’ve grown up with the college,” he has said. “This is a special year for me. This year marks a milestone for both Mineral Area College and me as we celebrate our 90th birthdays.”

Simmons said he is also dedicating the campaign to the memory of his wife.

“I lost Rowena last November,” he said. “Together, we had worked for several years on MAC Foundation’s Enhancement Grant Campaign to inspire others to become donors. This year is especially personal, because I’d like to remember — and continue — Rowena’s and my partnership to help students.”

Julia Dill, director of the Development and Alumni Relations Office, said each donation will actually be matched twice — once by Dr. Simmons, and once by the state, which matches each contribution on a $3-for-$1 basis. A $90 donation will ultimately result in $720 in funds for MAC programs.

“We’re a third of the way to our 90-donor goal,” Dill said.  “So far, 27 donors have come forward, each receiving a $90 match from Gayle, bringing total funds raised to $5,160. With the State’s additional $3-for-$1 match, their purchasing power will increase to $20,640. This is an amazing number, but we have the opportunity to reach $65,000 in total purchasing power if 63 more donors accept Gayle’s offer and give $90 dollars each.

“I urge alumni and friends to come forward and help Gayle reach his best fundraising total yet.   It’s really the perfect year for the perfect match.”

The Simmons Match is reserved for individuals, one per household, and runs 90 days, from June 9 – September 9. Programs to benefit during the current year include MAC business, law enforcement, and allied health programs. Those who wish to give may use the enclosed giving envelope. Donations can be sent to MAC Foundation, P.O. Box 1000, Park Hills, MO 63601, or (573) 518-2114.

In 1941, Simmons enrolled in Flat River Junior College, predecessor of Mineral Area College, for three semesters, even becoming president of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa, before duty called in 1943 and he took a three-year hiatus for the Army Air Force during World War II.

He returned to FRJC to earn his associate’s degree in 1946, and then transferred to Southeast Missouri State University, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1948.

His graduation led to a successful, 50-year career in education, moving from the classroom to the boardroom, innovating programs and contributing to the communities he served, with wife Rowena, also a teacher, by his side.

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