50 for 50

Dr. Nancy Ellis — Helping Sandhills make dreams come true

Dr. Nancy Ellis

In 1997, in the dairy aisle of a grocery store, President John Dempsey of Sandhills Community College ran into Dr. Nancy Ellis. She and her husband, John, and their three children had moved to the area in 1973 and became regular donors to the college. As conversation ensued, Dr. Dempsey took the opportunity to ask if she might be interested in serving on the board of the Sandhills Community College Foundation.

Fortunately for the college and a myriad of future students, she took him up on the offer. And this wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer, and former teacher and university instructor who earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UNC at Chapel Hill has been a board member ever since.

Dr. Nancy Ellis’s service includes serving as Vice Chair 2006-2009 and Board Chair 2009-2011. But it was as Chair of the Development Committee from 1998-2009 that a new and exciting idea took form: the Guarantors Program.

“Dr. Dempsey challenged our committee to help people in the community understand the enormous need,” Dr. Ellis recalls. “We came up with an idea to help students who face financial challenges stay in school. The program supplies anything from tuition and books to eyeglasses and gas money.”

“My soul is fed by helping others but I think it’s important to help people who try to help themselves,” says Dr. Ellis. “That’s why I’m so enthusiastic about the Guarantors Program. Guarantors provide practical assistance to people who are working to create better lives for themselves and their families.”

“To me, Sandhills Community College is the greatest institution for good in this community,” she says. “The college changes lives, and the Foundation helps that happen.” 


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