Spring on the York College campus

Back to List

York College of PA Trustees Create Scholarships for Students Who Give Back to the Community

May 03, 2022
Headshot of Kevin Jackson

Supporting scholarships has been the most popular way for York College friends and family to participate in the EVOLVE Campaign. That holds true for two relatively new trustees who are both alumni of the College. But they have added a twist to recognize something that is characteristic of York College. They are funding scholarships for students who give back to the community.

Jackson Community Hope Scholarship

“VP of Development Troy Miller recognized what is important to us,” said Kevin Jackson MBA ’99, chief experience officer at Wolf Home Products. “He helped pull it all together -- family, education, community involvement.”

The Jackson Community Hope Scholarship supports a student who has shown a commitment to exemplary community service, especially as relates to equity in education. The recipient, chosen as a rising sophomore from among the York College Changemakers, will receive a three-year scholarship in the amount of $2,000 per year. Students will apply for the Jackson Hope Scholarship in their second semester of their first year, and from among those applicants, the Center for Community Engagement staff will choose one exemplary applicant to receive the scholarship. It will recognize their engagement in this work, their positivity and its influence upon the youth of our community, and as a demonstration of the recipient’s future leadership potential.

“This is also my way to give back to the community that helped bring me along,” said Jackson, who grew up blocks away from York College on West Maple Street. As a young kid, he spent a lot of time on campus, playing basketball and arcade machines in the student union. “I always had a love for York College growing up. This scholarship is one of the ways that my wife and I could put the Jackson name on it, have some legacy, and give back.”

Jackson’s wife, Anika, is vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion for Family First Health in York. As a couple, they are very committed to lifting up those from their community. Anika serves as a Her Traditions Advisory Board Member for York Traditions Bank; as a board member of the Memorial Health Fund for the York County Community Foundation; as a board member of the York Academy Regional Charter School; and as an in-class volunteer for Junior Achievement of South Central PA. 

Kevin Jackson is also a popular speaker at schools, colleges, and businesses. His speaking engagement fees are used to give back to the community, to purchase things like school supplies. His family – Anika and his son – participate when he offers talks.

“I am one of first guys in the neighborhood to go to college, come out, and get a good job,” Jackson said. “I did the right things, came back, and lived in the community. I now have a responsibility on my shoulders to be a mentor to those who look up to me and inspire them to do the right thing, too.”

The Katie Leonard Community Advancement Scholarship Fund

After graduating from York College in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in English, Katie Leonard, EdD, stayed in York and went on to hold multiple positions working with government officials and nonprofit organizations, including serving as the executive director of Downtown Inc.

Photo of Katie Leonard   “I had a wonderful experience at York College,” she said. “That positive experience is the main reason I decided to stay in York for several years after graduation. I enjoyed getting involved in the community and saw the College as a big piece of that.”

A desire to maintain and enhance the robust and beneficial relationship between the College and the local community led her to establish The Katie Leonard Community Advancement Scholarship Fund. “For me, this scholarship represents how the College and community are one – how the community can enrich the York College experience for students and how York College students can enhance the York community,” she said.

Currently a trustee of York College, Leonard is president and CEO of Johnson College, a private, two-year technical college in Scranton. She joined Johnson in January 2007 as the coordinator of grants and annual fund. Her continued success in fundraising and community outreach led to several positions within the College, leading up to her becoming executive vice president and overseeing all campus operations.

Her biography reads, “In her time with the College, Dr. Leonard formed industry relationships, reestablished the alumni program, increased annual giving, and initiated the College’s rebranding in 2011. She executed the College’s first-ever capital campaign in 2013, which raised, comprehensively, over $5 million to build the new Health Science Technology Center on campus, the College’s largest building project to date. After a nationwide search, Dr. Leonard was selected Johnson College’s 8th President & CEO in January of 2018.”

York College and Johnson College signed an articulation agreement in 2022 that allows students to complete their two-year degree at Johnson College and then transfer to York College to complete a bachelor's degree or transfer credits and continue their education. 

The Katie Leonard Community Advancement Scholarship will support a student who has shown a commitment to engaging in research and activities that address an important community need. Students selected will receive either a three-year scholarship for $2,000 per year or a $2000 stipend to advance a project through work over the summers following their first, sophomore, and junior years. Recipients will be chosen from among students in the Engaged Scholars Honors Community. Students will be invited to apply in the second semester of their first year, and from among those applicants, the Center for Community Engagement staff will choose one exemplary applicant to receive the scholarship or project stipend. 

“As an alum of York College, it is important to me that students serve the community in which they are living,” Leonard said. “I am hoping this scholarship encourages a student to immerse her/himself in the York community, getting to know the people, and addressing a community need. My goal is that the student feels as if he/she is having a positive impact on the community and that this impact shapes the student’s worldview for years to come.”