WAXAHACHIE — The Navarro College Foundation presented Navarro College Waxahachie Campus with a $35,000 check on Wednesday to upgrade the physics lab in order for Physics II classes to be offered in the fall.

The donation will allow Navarro College to develop partnerships to feed engineering students into their respective programs to assist with the high demand for engineers in the local job market, while simultaneously growing the program and offering more resources for students to transfer to four-year universities.

The event commenced at 4 p.m. with attendants including the Doug Barnes, Waxahachie Director of Economic Development, Miran Sedlacek, president of the Navarro Foundation and Waxahachie City Manager Paul Stevens.

“This donation will help us offer the Physics II program,” said Dr. Kenneth Martin, President of Navarro Ellis County Campuses. “In order to go into our engineering program you need to have that Physics II course, and without this, we couldn’t have had the supplies we needed to offer a quality type program. Our students will be able to transfer to universities and major in engineering programs in which they want to — whether it’s Texas A&M, Baylor, Tarleton. It really makes a big big difference in how they fare at those universities.”

Adding to almost 100 fields of study offered at Navarro in Waxahachie, the new Physics II program — which many students have already begun signing up for — will act as a “stepping stone” for students to proceed in their career considerably faster and cheaper.

“You need the stepping stone to get further on, and if you don’t have that, you’re kind of at a mid-point and have to get further on and waste more time,” said pre-engineering major Nick Taylor. “This is something that’ll bridge something that we didn’t know existed before, so it kind of opens up a trail that changes that route into a much faster pace.”

He added, “If I didn’t take the second part of this physics course, I would have had to wait another six months to transfer to UTA to start, so this is really great in terms of expediting what you are doing.”

The Navarro College Foundation was established in 1974 and acts as the “philanthropic arm” to Navarro College to seek additional resources beyond state and local appropriations. Since first established more than 40 years ago, the foundation has rewarded over $200,000-per-year in scholarships.

The funds originated from Navarro Ellis County’s “Brilliance" fundraising program, which raised roughly $190,000 at this year’s event. In addition to the physics program, the remainder of the proceeds will benefit dual credit students, sports functions and scholarships.

“We’ve only just begun,” said Terry Gibson, academic dean of Navarro Ellis County. “We are planning to really expand our offering and we want to do more to offer the kinds of classes that are needed to boost the economy, the things that are necessary for this community, and, really, the nation.”

Through it all, the crowd unanimously agreed that none of it could have been done without the help of the community.

“The community support of this, that’s where the money comes from,” Sedlacek said. “It is so critical in its success and being able to do this that people come out and donate to this level that we can provide scholarships, we can provide support for classroom instruction tools and that’s our sole purpose of existence is to support the college.”