Scores of people packed the Parkhurst Student Commons on Thursday to launch the State Fair Community College Jingle on the Green Christmas celebration and to recognize the contributions of two community members.
SFCC President Marsha Drennon opened the annual holiday event, known for its tradition of lining the SFCC quad with luminaria, by thanking the community for its support of the college.
“This is our opportunity to thank all of you,” Drennon said. “We would not be here without your support. This is an exceptional community college and you should be proud of what we have been able to do through your support and donations.”
Following her remarks, SFCC Board of Trustees Vice President Judy Parkhurst thanked Drennon, who will retire in June after leading the college for 10 years, for her service to the college and the community-at-large.
“(Drennon) has led with vision and SFCC is stronger for her service,” Parkhurst said.
Parkhurst then called Heckart Funeral Home owner Sue Heckart to the podium, where Heckart presented Drennon with a glass luminaria as a token of appreciation.
“I hope you know, Marsha, how much you are loved by all of us,” Heckart said.
A surprised and tearful Drennon accepted the gift, only to be called to the podium again a few minutes later to receive one of two Blue Ribbon Vision certificates presented Thursday by Blue Ribbon Steering Committee President Diane Simon.
“You have done so much for this college and you have added to this community,” Simon said.
Simon then presented a second certificate to Tony Gallagher, chef de gare (commander) of the veterans organization 40 & 8, Voiture 333, noting Gallagher’s service to the veteran community.
Gallagher, who was recognized in October by Missouri Lt. Gov. Pete Kinder with a veterans’ service award, thanked attendees for the honor.
“This award means more to me because this is my community,” Gallagher said.
Following the ceremony, Drennon told the Democrat she “decided later in life what I wanted to do” and sought out a small community college to serve after receiving her doctorate.
“This college is a very special place,” Drennon said. “My heart will be with SFCC no matter where I am and what I am doing, and I plan to remain a part of it for many years to come.”