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The new McKeon Scholars Award annual student scholarship fund was officially endowed in a reception held on the College of the Canyons campus earlier this month.

Former U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon spoke at the event and cited the many benefits of civic engagement programs and the importance of a younger generation’s involvement in helping to better their community. Following the address, McKeon presented a $10,000 check to members of the COC Foundation to start the new scholarship fund.

The McKeon Scholars Award is scheduled to be awarded in the spring 2016 semester. In order to be eligible, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and also major in political science and/or express interest in pursuing a career involving public service and civic engagement. This annual $500 scholarship award will be used to assist in the costs of obtaining a college education and can be used towards tuition, textbooks, and/or living expenses.

“This is a tremendous honor to support student success at College of the Canyons, and inspire the next generation of community leaders,” McKeon said. “If we can encourage people to serve and be involved, the impact on our colleges, our community, and our country will be immeasurable.”

COC students were also provided with the opportunity to share their perspective on civic engagement-related activities and present new initiatives to former Chairman McKeon and other college administrators.

“We are proud to partner with Chairman McKeon in equipping a new generation of leaders,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “Because of his generosity, today’s students will be inspired to complete their educations, pursue their dreams of public service, and become tomorrow’s leaders.”

According to The Signal, The $10,000 donation comes as a result of a pledge McKeon made during the first installment of the McKeon Leadership Forum. This forum is a speaker series geared towards promoting civic engagement within the community. The inaugural event was held last November and featured General John F. Kelly, United States Marine Corps Commander, U.S. Southern Command. Gen. Kelly spoke of the importance of civic responsibility among all citizens.

“We all need to reconnect to what makes America so extraordinary. To rediscover why we should be proud of who we are, what we stand for, to be part of something bigger to strive for something better, but to strive together,” Kelly said. “We can find this very easy in our county and our society, and that is through service.”