NCTC Foundation Gala honors donors

Elizabeth F. Abu | Feb 26, 2018

The North Central Texas College Foundation held its annual Starlite Gala Saturday, honoring individuals and organizations that have given of their time and resources to further NCTC and their local communities.

The Starlite Gala was held at the Winstar Convention Center in the Grand Ballroom, and over 400 guests were in attendance.

The F.M. Hemphill Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor that can be granted to graduates and former students of NCTC. The NCTC Alumni and Friends established this award twenty-four years ago, fittingly named in honor of the college’s distinguished president of the Class of 1926. This year’s F.M. Hemphill Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to the Isaac “Ike” Stevens, Jr.

Stevens graduated from NCTC in 1972. After earning his bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Tech University in 1974, he returned to Cooke County and taught high school in Era, Texas, for two years before beginning his career as a financial advisor with Edward Jones. During his career with Edward Jones, he opened successful offices in Sulphur Springs and Hereford, Texas, before returning to North Texas and joining the Denton office, which he operates currently since 1996.

During his time as a financial advisor, he has committed himself to helping his clients reap the benefits of their years of hard work.  In addition to other professional credentials, he is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS), a professional designation for financial professionals.

Within Edward Jones he has served in a number of leadership roles, as well as acting as a mentor for new financial advisors.  In 2015, he was awarded the firm's exclusive Spirit of Caring Award, which recognizes financial advisors within the firm who exemplify the values, culture, and spirit of giving back.

Stevens has been active in business and civic affairs in Denton for many years, giving of his time to the North Central Texas College Foundation and for more than 35 years he has been a member of Rotary International. Through his involvement in the Rotary Club of Denton—South, he has for many years worked in the Rotary Flag Program, as well as the Rotary Dictionary Project, a program in which members personally distribute hundreds of dictionaries to local area third graders each year, and given his support for the Rotary Polio Plus Campaign which works to eradicate polio across the globe. He is a past president of the Herford Texas Rotary Club.

He also acts as a sponsor of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Denton County Adoption Day program, and the Lake Cities Education Foundation, in addition to sponsoring and volunteering in support of the North Texas chapter of Smile for a Lifetime, and the Plano Independent School District, where his grandchildren attend school. Stevens attends St. John Paul II Catholic Church in Denton. 

The NCTC Alumni and Friends Association established the Ed Wright Community Service Award to recognize individuals, organizations, and/or businesses for meritorious service to the college and/or the community. 

The award for Denton County went to the Denton Community Food Center. Tom Newell was present to accept the award.

Since it was founded in 1974, the Denton Community Food Center’s mission has been to provide food from a central community storehouse to needy individuals and families in emergency situations. From less than 300 visits in 1974, it has grown to almost 7270 visits in 2017 representing approximately 2743 different local families.  They have distributed over 261 tons of food in 2017 to the local community. 

The food center serves all of Denton County north of Lake Lewisville from our central downtown location.  This includes 21 cities, towns & communities in 31 different zip codes in Northern Denton County.  This center is an all-volunteer staffed and run organization.  Funds raised are used to purchase food to distribute to their clients.  The remaining food comes from food drives and direct food donations.

The Denton Community Food Center also provides food for NCTC students that are struggling to provide for themselves and their families while attending NCTC. 

The Ed Wright Community Service Award for the Graham campus went to Mary Pitcock and her late husband Louis Pitcock.

The Pitcock family helped in the creation of the NCTC Graham Campus, meeting with college staff and community leaders early on to offer their assistance, support and important insights. Having a community college in Graham to serve the citizens and build a stronger workforce was a longtime dream come true for them. 

Both of these individuals knew how important it was to have a place of higher education for Graham. They have provided generous scholarships for students, which will greatly improve lives in their beloved community. 

This couple models what it means to have deep and abiding commitment to family, faith and community. Their lives exemplify what it means to be servant leaders and they were given the Citizen of the Year Grammy by the Graham Chamber of Commerce in 2012. NCTC is honored to consider their family as friends and true supporters of education and opportunity for all.

The service award for Montague County went to the Bowie Friends of the Library. Rebecca Sikes was present to accept the award.

The Bowie Friends of the Library’s mission is to support and raise awareness for the Bowie Public Library. They raise funds to provide support and enhancements for the library including refurnishing the library, hosting summer reading programs for youth, providing computers for public access to the internet, and hosting luncheon speakers for the community. The Friends of the Library also hosts book sales for the community.

They are able to provide expanded resources for the community as well as for NCTC students. Students who do not have computer access at home are able to go to the library to gain access to the internet as well as access to their book collections and online databases.

The Ed Wright Community Service Award for the Cooke County was presented to Cooke County United Way. United Way Board Chair Lynn Switzer and Executive Director Angie Hare were present to accept the award.

Cooke County United Way has served the residents of Cooke County since 1955, bringing people together from all across the community to tackle issues and develop a plan to create long-lasting changes. They believe that to be a part of the change, it takes everyone in the community working together to create a brighter future. Their goals include improving people’s health, helping others achieve their potential, and promoting financial stability and independence.

Their Allocation Committee and Community Impact Task Force annually work through a process to respond to the greatest needs facing Cooke County. All funds collected are allocated through this process and awarded to Partner Agencies and Community Impact grant recipients. Over the years, this organization has assisted thousands of individuals in Cooke County.  

Cooke County United Way is also supportive of the college and our students by providing scholarship funds as well as internships for students and funding many educational initiatives that support current as well as future NCTC scholars.

NCTC Foundation Board Executive Vice President Shane Wiley and NCTC Foundation Board Member Steve Schmitz, along with NCTC Chancellor Dr. Brent Wallace and NCTC Board of Regents Chair Karla Metzler recognized inductees into the NCTC Foundation Honor Circle.

Members of the Patrons Honors Circle who have given between $1,000 and $4,999 included: Robbie & Diane Baugh, Donna Ashley Photography, Kim Birdwell, Jack & Diane Cody, Dr. Rochelle Gregory, William Hill, Jr, Charles Horn, Jillian Hunt, Stephanie Lindsey, John & Karla Metzler, Louis Pitcock III, Allison Rix, Diane Roether, Derrell & Isabel Smith, Norman Stovall, James Tatom, Shane & Karen Wiley, Faith Community Health System, Solaris Hospice, Burkett Enterprises, INC, Robson Ranch Kiwanis, Guaranty Bank & Trust, Bowie VFW Post 8789, Cross Timbers Title, Ford Country of Lewisville, Advanced Rehabilitation & Healthcare of Bowie, DEF Recycling, Pinnell Square LP, Enderby Gas, Glenn Polk Ford, Great Western Dining Service Inc., Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter Inc., Freedom Group Corporation, Sue Swint Realty, Gainesville Livestock Auction, and UNT Office of Alumni Relations.

Inductees into the Benefactors Honor Circle, who have given between $5,000 and $9,999, included: Mike & Linda Cates, Terry & Rebecca Jones, Jimmy Moore, Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, Martindale Feed Mill, Eikon Consulting Group LLC, Graham First United Methodist Church, Dennards Farm Supply Inc., Jacksboro National Bank, and Jenzabar Inc.

The Founders Honors Circle, including inductees who have given between $10,000 and $19,999, included: Dick & Patty Haayen, Debbie & Alan Sharp, Larry & Karon Sullivant, and TDIndustries.

Bronze Honors Circle inductees, who provided gifts between $20,000 and $29,999, included: Lary & Shelly Kuehn, Atmos Energy Corporation, and Kiwanis Club of Gainesville.

Inducted into the Sterling Silver Honors Club for gifts between $30,000 and $39,999 was B29 Investments.

Inducted into the Pure Gold Honors Circle for gifts between $40,000 and $49,999 was Danny Reeves.

Inducted into the White Diamond Honors Circle for gifts between $50,000 and $99,000 were Follett Higher Education Group and Bowie Rotary Club.

Finally, inducted into the Blue Chip Honor Circle for gifts over $100,000 were Maurice Robeson-Irish and the Texas Pioneer Foundation.

Wallace thanked those in attendance for their support of the college and the NCTC Foundation.

“I want you to know this is an exciting evening in the life of NCTC,” Wallace said. “We are celebrating our partnerships with so many individuals and entities that help us provide educational opportunities for our students. NCTC works hard to empower our students to reach their full potential.”

NCTC scholarship recipients also spoke about the impact the scholarship they received has made on their lives.

The NCTC Wind Ensemble played pieces by The Beatles while guests were arriving and the NCTC College Singers provided entertainment during dinner.

For more information about helping provide scholarships through donations to the NCTC Foundation or about membership in the NCTC Alumni and Friends Association, contact Debbie Sharp by email:



Distinguished Alumni Ike Stevens

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD— The F.M. Hemphill Distinguished Alumni award was presented to Isaac “Ike” Stevens, Jr. at the NCTC Starlite Gala. NCTC Chancellor Dr. Brent Wallace (left) presented the award to Stevens (right).


To view the full album of photos from the 2018 NCTC Starlite Gala, visit our North Central Texas College Facebook Page.