50 for 50

Katy and Colen Swain - Sweet Fans of Sandhills

Larry Allen

For local residents Katy and Colen Swain, their first trip to Sandhills’ campus was in 1994, shortly after they moved to West End from the Buffalo, New York area.

“We were looking for landscaping ideas so came to the Botanical Gardens. What a surprise!” says Mrs. Swain. “We were inspired by the gardens and the energetic and talented students.”

Since then, the likeable pair have been regulars on campus, for visits with Sandhills people they have met, for cultural opportunities, for Culinary Department events -– and even to get haircuts so the Cosmetology students can practice their skills. Mrs. Swain also served for many years on the Board of Directors for the Horticultural Society and is in charge of volunteers at the Visitor’s Center at the gardens.

Over the years, more than likely, on each visit Mrs. Swain is bringing some delicious goodies from her oven. “Katy’s a fantastic baker,” Mr. Swain says with pride. “People look forward to her sweet rolls, pies, cookies and other treats.”

“My kitchen is my therapy and I love to share what I bake,” laughs Mrs. Swain, who says that they now buy flour and sugar in 25-pound bags.  

Sharing is certainly part of the Swains’ philosophy. They are enthusiastic donors to Sandhills’ Guarantors Program which provides tuition, books, fees and other expenses enabling students to stay in school. The Swains’ generosity also includes participating in the annual fundraising Golf Classic and sponsoring students on horticultural trips.

“We love the college, Dr. Dempsey, the staff, everything!” says Mrs. Swain. “Most of all we love how this college is changing lives.”

“Recently we met a 52-year old nurse who thanked us for making her education possible,” reports Mr. Swain. “We hear again and again how Sandhills has helped so many people. When you donate to Sandhills, you don’t have to worry if your gift will be put to good use.”


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