Who benefits from your gift?
Donor and Student profiles
Our students are not the only ones who benefit from the generosity of our community. Our donors find great satisfaction in offering the vital support that transforms lives.
A donor’s perspective
"Learn, earn, return." That was the motto and the lasting legacy of Earl Settlemyer.
Earl was an exceptionally generous partner of Bellingham Technical College. His philosophy can inspire each of us. Earl spent his life in full appreciation of the transformative power of art, music, nature and education. He believed in philanthropy, and lived by the Rotarian motto of “service above self.”
After a successful finance career, Earl was drawn to Bellingham’s appealing natural, educational and cultural environment. He retired here, and soon became a well-known fixture at arts and music events, as well as on non-profit boards—including the BTC Foundation Board of Directors.
Through his expertise and financial support, Earl gave of himself to several local educational institutions: he established scholarships at BTC, Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and the Whatcom Community Foundation’s Bellingham Dollars for Scholars program.
Through the life-changing power of education for everyone, Earl Settlemyer left a legacy of excellence, and an invitation to follow his lead in helping raise our community to its highest purpose.
Earl Settlemyer passed away after a brief illness in May 2010. But his inspiring message will live on, through students whose lives are transformed every year by the power of education, made possible by the generosity of the Settlemyer Family Endowment.
A student's perspective
With hard work and dedication, the rewards are ten-fold.
—Lisa Cook, ConocoPhillips Lummi Tribal Scholarship, Lummi Higher Ed Scholarship Recipient
Lisa Cook is a perfect example of what can happen when students are given a chance to succeed.
A recent graduate of BTC’s Process Technology program, Lisa’s education was made possible through the full-ride ConocoPhillips Lummi Tribal Scholarship. Intended to provide Lummi Nation members with the industry-relevant skills and qualifications needed to compete for today’s living wage jobs, the scholarship covers tuition and expenses in the Process Technology, Instrumentation and Control Technology, or Welding Technology degree programs.
Lisa enrolled in the Process Technology program in 2009. Like many adult students, she faced a few obstacles—from feeling anxious about returning to school, to uncertainty around the program’s challenging math, physics, and chemistry classes.
Support arrived through the IBEST program, and Lisa received the extra help she needed to succeed in her most difficult courses. Throughout the program, Lisa put in long hours of studying to perform at her best—hours that were available only because of the ConocoPhillips Lummi Tribal scholarship.
“If I didn’t have the scholarship, then I would have spent a lot of time at a job to support myself. The scholarship enabled me to fully focus on school and devote myself to the courses,” said Lisa.
Today, Lisa is a full-time operator at ConocoPhillips, using the knowledge and skills she acquired through her BTC education. She enjoys her work and is hopeful about her future. “If not for BTC and the scholarship, I know I would not have the knowledge and chances that I have had. My plans are to stay with ConocoPhillips, which will allow me to build a house—a dream of mine from the start of the program.
“All of the support from BTC staff and donors helped me. With the job market the way it is, you absolutely need education to be able to compete out there. The Foundation supported me with a scholarship and internship, and now I have a job, which will definitely give me an overall better quality of life. My experience shows others that with hard work and dedication, the rewards are ten-fold.”