Honor student graduates debt free with degree

May 29, 2014

PENDLETON — Jeremy Davies isn’t the type to sit still and let a good opportunity pass him by.

He looks forward to a challenge and being productive. For the past two years he has maintained a hectic schedule, attending automotive technology classes and labs at Tri-County Technical College during the day and then moving on to a job at BMW where he put in an additional 20 hours per week as one of the company’s technical scholars.

He maintained a near-perfect 3.95 grade point average and served as vice president of Alpha Zeta Beta, Tri-County’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society.

When he walked across the stage May 8 as one of the College’s first automotive technology graduates, he wasn’t saddled with loans.

He graduated debt free, thanks to a Tri-County scholarship, as well as a prestigious Marine Corps Foundation Scholarship he accepted last year.

He said the Sue Lawrence Gignillat and Thomas McCutchen Gignillat Scholarship he received through the College’s Foundation his first year opened the door to his future.

“The scholarship made the first step in my journey possible. This scholarship not only sent me to college in the short term but opened up my future to endless possibilities based on my education,” Davies said.

The Foundation scholarship, coupled with lottery tuition assistance, the BMW Scholars tuition allotment and paid internship and the LIFE scholarship, paid for his first year of college.

His second year of school was paid for by the Marine Corps Foundation Scholarship fund. He and three other individuals were recipients of the Gen. William L. (Spider) Nyland Honorary Scholarship, named for the former Scholarship Foundation Chairman.

Davies is the son of the late Lance Corp. Peter L. Davies, USMC, who served with the First Marine Division. Last spring Davies attended a reception in New Orleans to receive the scholarship and he addressed a group at the Scholarship Foundation’s meeting.

Davies was offered a full-time job at BMW after graduation but chose to further his education and will pursue an automotive engineering technology degree at Ferris State University in Michigan.

His career goal is to work as an engineering technologist and pursue a master’s degree on down the line.

“I want to participate in the design of cars. But my ultimate goal is to be successful. I want to change the world in the way we look at cars through safety, decreasing automobile deaths and performance. Tri-County has provided me with hands-on and book knowledge that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else in the Upstate,” he said.

The Seneca High School graduate saw the automotive technology curriculum brochure at the Hamilton Career Center and was instantly interested in enrolling in the two-year program offered at the Pendleton Campus.

He also hopes to graduate from Ferris with little or no debt. He has secured a transfer scholarship, along with a grant and work study assignment. He’s applied for a renewal of the Marine Corps scholarship, as well as a Buick Achievers scholarship.

“It’s no fun if it’s not a challenge,” he said. “It’s been hard, working and going to school. I live in Seneca so the commute to BMW was one hour one way. It’s been a test of will but I knew what I was doing was too good to throw away.”