Lottery winner gives record donation to Midlands Tech

Lottery winner gives record donation to Midlands Tech
Dr. Ronald L. Rhames was inaugurated Thursday as the first alumnus president of Midlands Technical College. (Source: Courtesy)
Dr. Ronald L. Rhames was inaugurated Thursday as the first alumnus president of Midlands Technical College. (Source: Courtesy)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Dr. Ronald L. Rhames was inaugurated Thursday as the first alumnus president of Midlands Technical College. He is the first person to graduate from a South Carolina technical college and later become its president.

During the celebration, fellow Midlands Technical College alumnus Solomon Jackson announced a $1.25 million gift to support scholarships in the college's QuickJobs program - the largest individual gift in the college's history.

Jackson won nearly $260 million in the Powerball lottery six years ago. This is not his first major gift to a Midlands college. In 2010, he gave $10 million to Morris College in Sumter, where he studied theology in the 1970s. His numerous other philanthropic efforts include $500,000 to Benedict College for two luxury coaches and $1.7 million to the Booker T. Washington Foundation to help save its historic auditorium.

"I am honored to be inaugurated as the sixth president of Midlands Technical College," said Rhames.  "We are all deeply honored by the gift Mr. Jackson has pledged to the college today. I thank him, and our students thank him. Mr. Jackson's generosity will see that more MTC students get the best education and services available."

Jackson, a member of the Midlands Technical College Foundation Board, says the college has always been a special place to him.

"MTC itself was a school that seemed like they wanted to help you," said Jackson, the first person in his family to graduate high school and go to college. "For that reason I said, 'I'm going to go to Midlands Technical College.' And I'm glad I did."

Rhames, the honorary first member of the recently launched MTC Alumni Association, is hoping other alumni, business and individuals will show their support for the college so the college can continue changing lives.

"I'm proud to be the leader of my alma mater," Rhames said. "This is home to me. This is my community."

Dr. Rhames earned his associate degree in business management from MTC and went on to study at Benedict College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in economics. He earned his master's degree in administration from Central Michigan University and doctorate in business administration from Nova Southeastern University.

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