Sonya Kirkwood, Sinclair Librarian, moved from Kentucky to Dayton 43 years ago during the Civil Rights Movement to pursue her goal of working at Sinclair. It was at Sinclair that she met her future husband, Professor Charlie Williams, while participating in an orientation session for his class. Although their personalities were very different – Sonya an introvert and Charlie an extrovert – they fell in love and married 18 years later. One thing they both had in common, though, was a love for Sinclair.
Sonya and Charlie support Sinclair and its mission wholeheartedly. They have given countless hours to helping students in many ways. “Since the founding of this college by David A. Sinclair, it has been blessed with leaders who have given their all to educate and support students. Charlie and Sonya exemplify that deep commitment. Their dedication – and that of so many others – is what makes this college so great,” says Sinclair’s President and CEO, Steven L. Johnson. When asked why giving to others was so important to her, Sonya replied that everyone she met throughout her life was willing to help her, so she wanted to give back.
For the past 15 years, Charlie and Sonya maintained a 5.6 acre farm in Beavercreek that Charlie, an ordained minister, used to perform weddings, hold retreats, and carry out his ministry. In recent years, however, the farm had simply become too much for them to take care of and, after some discussion, they decided to donate the property to Sinclair as a means of funding scholarships for students. “In essence, it is a continuation of the ministry for which it was used during the past 15 years,” said Charlie
This gift came just as the Sinclair Foundation was working to fund an emergency grant program to address unexpected financial barriers experienced by students. Their property was sold in 2017 and the net proceeds were used to establish two funds: the Dr. Charles C. Williams and Sonya Kirkwood-Williams Emergency Grant Fund and the Dr. Charles C. Williams and Sonya Kirkwood-Williams Scholarship. Their generous gift has fully funded both endowments and will allow Sinclair to address emergency needs and award scholarships immediately.
Senior Vice President for Advancement Madeline Iseli appreciates the Williams’ devotion to education: “Charlie and Sonya are two dedicated, committed educators who have, for many years, given generously of their talent and time to change the lives of students. Now, this generous gift of their ‘treasure,’ in the form of property, has endowed two significant student-supporting funds, and will be a legacy that will continue to change students’ lives. Sinclair and its students are indebted to this generous couple.” Thank you, Charlie and Sonya!
The Sinclair Foundation is pleased to announce that the Company 7 BBQ restaurant, located in Englewood, has recently established a scholarship specifically for the training of first responders.
The Grilliot family, owners of Company 7 BBQ, are a family of firefighters, and they are dedicated to improving the lives of first responders—first as owners of a company that made firefighting equipment, and now with the Company 7 BBQ Fire Science Scholarship Fund set up through the Sinclair Foundation.
The scholarship offers up to $2,500 to deserving Sinclair students who are enrolled in a Fire Science program, have successfully completed Fire Fighter Level 1, are enrolled in the Level 2 program, and have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
“We are honored by the commitment that Company 7 BBQ has made to Sinclair students,” said Taylor Watkins, member of the Fire Science Technology program. “This scholarship will be life-changing for students who have a desire to enter a career as a first responder but who may not otherwise be able to afford the training.”
Company 7 BBQ is involving the entire community in the fundraising effort, as well, by inviting patrons at Company 7 BBQ to “round up” their tab, with the proceeds going directly to their First Responder Fund. “By rounding up your Company 7 BBQ tab, you will be donating your pocket change to the education and training of tomorrow’s first responders. These students could someday be your neighborhood firefighter, police officer or EMT, and the life they may save could be your own,” encouraged Bill Grilliot.
Sinclair received a Scholarship donation from Sinclair Alumnus Doug Rasor along with wife, Barbara Rasor, to help advance the college’s Culinary Arts program. The Rasors created the “Doug and Barbara Rasor Culinary Arts Scholarship”, to provide financial assistance to students already enrolled or planning to enroll at Sinclair College and pursue a degree in the Culinary Arts program. Doug who has served in the military, has intended that the fund give first preference to veteran students. The Scholarship will help students with tuition, fees, books, supplies and other non-tuition related expenses required for study at the College.
“The two of us are excited to see how this contribution will help passionate, hard-working students excel, regardless of their circumstances.” said Doug Rasor. “My degrees from Sinclair and Wright State helped me gain opportunities to work with great companies like Texas Instruments, SimuTech (a local Dayton area company) and eventually start my very own company, Rasor Advisors. I honestly cannot say enough good things about the foundation I gained from these institutions and it only gives me great pleasure to give back in whatever way possible.”
Doug and his wife Barbara (Wissinger) are both Brookville natives. Doug graduated from Sinclair College after completing his associate’s degree in Electronics Engineering Technology and then transferred to Wright State to get his bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering. He has over 30 years of experience in Technology startup and semiconductor businesses. His current company, Rasor Advisors works with startup companies and Venture Capital firms to develop marketing and funding strategies. Doug enjoys restoring classic cars and playing guitar for a 60’s tribute band in Brookville, Ohio called the NOMADS. He also spends his personal time attending cooking schools and exploring new gourmet recipes with his wife Barbara.
Barbara started her career at Winters Bank in Dayton (now JP Morgan/Chase). She also has held various positions at the University of Texas Dallas and at The North American Coal Corporation. Barbara and Doug are both passionate about cooking and healthy eating, a major reason why they are especially interested in the Culinary Arts program.
“Early in our careers Barbara and I were working long hours and developed poor eating habits” said Doug. “We were inspired to start cooking as a way to get out of our unhealthy eating habits and in the process found that preparing meals together was a great way to enhance our personal relationship. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been to several cooking schools, worked at restaurants and have gained an incredible amount of respect for chefs and people that work behind the scenes. That’s why we chose the Culinary Arts program.”