ADAMS -- Berkshire Community College (BCC) announced that its Foundation has received a $490,000 gift from the estate of Grace Hampel, a long-time resident of the Berkshires who passed away in 2011. The bequest is the second largest estate gift in BCC's history.
Hampel approached BCC's Development Office 15 years before her passing to discuss how she could help future students. A scholarship in her name was the result.
The Grace S. Hampel Scholarship will assist promising high school graduates from the northern part of Berkshire County who demonstrate a commitment to earning a degree at BCC.
The first preference for scholarships will be to qualified Hoosac Valley graduates who have demonstrated a financial need and academic promise.
Students from other high schools in Northern Berkshire will then be considered. Up to $12,000 in earnings from the gift are available to spend on awards to a number of students for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Hampel, who was born in 1926, grew up in Adams and resided there throughout her life. She attended Adams Schools and graduated from the former Adams High School in 1945. She later graduated from Becker College in Worcester.
She began her career at Williams College, where she worked as a stenographer and secretary to then-President James Phinney Baxter III. She later joined the Pittsfield General Electric Co., where she worked for 38 years in various managerial secretary positions. She retired in 1988.
In addition to valuing education, she was a supporter of animal rights and conservation. Hampel also had a life-long interest in music and had an extensive classical music collection. As an adolescent, she sang in church choirs. She later volunteered at Tanglewood.
A woman with many interests, Hampel enjoyed reading, arts and crafts, sewing and embroidery and gardening. A bird lover, she maintained large gardens on her property and nurtured trees and plants to attract birds.
The deadline for students to apply for BCC scholarships is April 12. To apply, visit www.berkshirecc.edu/scholarships. For more information about planning a gift to BCC, call the Foundation's Development Office at 413-236-2185.