Octavia Spencer to Speak at Tri-C Foundation Presidential Scholarship Luncheon

Academy Award-Winning Actress Headlines Oct. 4 Scholarship Event

Octavia Spencer, Academy Award-winning actress and star of critically acclaimed films including The Help and Hidden Figures, will be the keynote speaker at the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation’s 2017 Presidential Scholarship Luncheon.

The event to benefit student scholarships at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel on Public Square.

Since its inception in 1992, the Presidential Scholarship Luncheon has raised more than $17 million to help Tri-C students with financial need pursue higher education and achieve their dreams.

“Students who have benefited from academic scholarships tell us that this assistance is life-changing,” said Trina Evans, chairperson of the Tri-C Foundation. “The support of the Presidential Scholarship Luncheon and events like it ensure that our students find success through academic pursuits or workforce training and keep our region strong.”

One of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Octavia Spencer has become a familiar fixture both in television and on the silver screen. Her performance as Minny in the DreamWorks feature film The Help won her a 2012 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critic’s Choice Award among numerous other accolades. She will soon be seen in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and the independent drama Small Town Crime, for which she also serves as a producer.

This year, Spencer starred in The Shack, based off the highly successful novel of the same name, as well as Marc Webb’s emotionally moving drama Gifted. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughn in the Academy Award-nominated drama Hidden Figures, which tells the true story of several African-American women who provided NASA with critical information needed to launch the program’s early successful missions. Her performance earned her second nominations for the Academy Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globe Awards and NAACP Image Awards.

The role is particularly meaningful for Tri-C. The College’s Minority University Research Education Project (MUREP) Aerospace Academy, funded by a NASA grant, exposes historically underrepresented K-12 students to multiple hands-on activities related to the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and aerospace. The academy seeks to increase the number of students in the identified populations who enroll in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors in college.

“Octavia Spencer has brought many unforgettable characters to life throughout her career,” said Megan O’Bryan, vice president of development and Tri-C Foundation. “Through the medium of film and television, she has helped us better understand the human condition and inspires generations to come. Her presence at our annual luncheon will benefit many more lives as we raise awareness and funds for student scholarships. We are honored to welcome her to Cleveland and to Tri-C.”

Spencer is the latest in a proud tradition of distinguished, multi-faceted speakers to headline the Presidential Scholarship Luncheon. Past speakers include former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, journalists Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw, and Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

For ticket information, call the Tri-C Foundation at 216-987-4868 or visit www.tri-c.edu/give.

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