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Mike and Joanne Davis

A profile picture of Mike and Joanne.
The college makes it easy to give in ways that are meaningful to the donor.
Longtime Columbia residents Mike and Joanne Davis rank Howard Community College high on their list of community assets.

The couple feels closely connected to President Kate Hetherington, as well as two previous HCC presidents and their staff; they also enjoy meeting with students who speak enthusiastically about their college experiences.

“The college offers access and affordability to students without compromising quality; employers have a resource for workforce improvement; and retirees have options for lifelong learning,” notes Mike.

As a former chair of HCC’s Commission on the Future, Joanne is impressed by the college’s eagerness to seek input from the community it serves. Additionally, she applauds HCC for conducting the rigorous self-assessment process required by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. “That process opens the college to expert outside scrutiny. It speaks to their commitment to best outcomes for students.”

As to their philosophical approach to charitable giving, Mike and Joanne are in agreement: they need to feel connected to an organization and invest in places where their gift can have the greatest impact.

“The college makes it easy to give in ways that are meaningful to the donor,” says Mike, who served for 10 years on the HCC Educational Foundation.

As one example, the Davis’s made a scholarship donation honoring their fathers by naming a physical science lab after them in the Science, Engineering and Technology Building. This scholarship will help create opportunities for veterans who’ve returned to college to study engineering. Both Mike and Joanne’s fathers served in World War II; one went on to become a physicist, the other an engineer.

Joanne Davis recalls the starfish story, where a man came upon a beach awash with starfish. A young boy was throwing them back into the ocean one by one. The old man chuckled and noted there was only one boy and thousands of starfish. “What difference can you make?” he asked. The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and said, “I made a difference to that one!”

Mike and Joanne Davis hope to do exactly that, student by student, with their gifts to Howard Community College.

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