Less than six months after retiring, Glenda Nicke returned to Black Hawk College to donate $20,000 to help struggling BHC students.
During her 44 years at the college, she worked in numerous departments and “consistently encountered students who were challenged in finding ways to pay for further education,” Nicke said.
Some were prevented from qualifying for traditional forms of financial aid by circumstances beyond their control, such as parents who refused to file tax returns or undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children (often referred to as “Dreamers”).
“Others were paying for past mistakes such as defaulted loans or poor academic records on their first try for postsecondary education,” she said. A number wanted to take noncredit or short-term programs that don’t qualify for financial aid, such as welding or CNA.
“This scholarship will assist students who face those barriers as well as other unique circumstances,” Nicke said.
The new scholarship will be awarded for the first time for the 2024-25 school year.
An Adult Education advisor will work with staff from both the non-credit and credit areas of the college and the Black Hawk College Foundation to identify prospective scholarship recipients.
“I have seen the struggle firsthand with students who want to pursue their education, but money may be a significant barrier in this pursuit,” said Renée Gillis-Arnold, Adult Education career advisor.
“It is exciting to have additional avenues in which we can make this dream become a reality for these students!” Gillis-Arnold said.
“Glenda’s gift will empower many students in our community,” said Zenaida Landeros, executive director of the BHC Foundation. “She has built a legacy here at Black Hawk College.”
Her BHC career began in the Financial Aid Office and progressed through Talent Search, adjunct teaching contracts, Optional Education, Adult Education, Professional and Continuing Education and the Business Training Center. She retired March 31, 2022, as the dean of adult and continuing education.
When Nicke retired, she asked her friends and colleagues to make a gift to the BHC Foundation instead of buying a gift for her. Those donations made in honor of her retirement have been added to the scholarship fund.
“Glenda’s generosity and devotion to Black Hawk College can be felt out loud,” Landeros said. “It is remarkable to have such an advocate for our college and students.”