For local residents Colen and Katy Swain, their first trip to Sandhills’ campus was in 1994, shortly after they moved to West End from the Buffalo, New York area.
“We were looking for landscaping ideas so came to the Horticultural Gardens. What a surprise!” said Katy. “We were inspired by the gardens and the energetic and talented students.”
Since then, the likeable pair have been regulars on campus, for visits with Sandhills people they have met, for cultural opportunities, for Culinary Department events, and even to get haircuts so the Cosmetology students can practice their skills. Mrs. Swain also served for many years on the Board of Directors for the Horticultural Society and is in charge of volunteers at the Visitor’s Center at the gardens.
Over the years Katy has been known to bring delicious goodies from her kitchen. “She is a fantastic baker,” Colen says with pride. “People look forward to her sweet rolls, pies, cookies and other treats.”
Sharing is certainly part of the Swains’ philosophy. They are enthusiastic donors to Sandhills’ Guarantors Program which provides assistance for tuition, books, fees and other expenses enabling students to stay in school. The Swains’ generosity also includes participating in the annual fundraising golf tournament and sponsoring students on horticultural trips.
“We love the college, Dr. Dempsey, the staff, everything!” said Katy. “Most of all we love how this college is changing lives.”
“Recently we met a 52-year old nurse who thanked us for helping making her education possible,” reported Colen. “We hear again and again how Sandhills has helped so many people. When you donate to Sandhills, you don’t have to worry if your gift will be put to good use, you know it will.”