June 25, 2008

Lucille Ball Scholarship Award Winner Announced

Gallager Bobseine is the first recipient of the newly reestablished Lucille Ball Scholarship at Jamestown Community College.

Following an aircraft accident two years ago in Mayville, New York, the then 17-year-old Bobseine was airlifted to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. The flight instructor he was sitting beside was killed on impact.

Recovering from 42 broken bones and other injuries delayed the Cattaraugus, New York, resident’s plans for attending Jamestown Community College (JCC) by a year. But it didn’t deter him from receiving certification for his private pilot’s rating and his intention to complete his Business Administration degree at JCC before transferring to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University for his B.A. in Professional Aeronautics.

Bobseine comes by his love of flying naturally, as his father is also a pilot. His dream is to create his own business around his passion, eventually opening a flight school and offering transportation services in helicopters and light jets. His determination and overcoming of obstacles were the traits that led to his selection as the winner of the Lucille Ball Scholarship.

In keeping with the character of its namesake, the scholarship is to assist a Jamestown Community College student pursuing an Associates Degree in performing arts or business, with special consideration given to students who show exceptional drive and determination and/or who have overcome unusual challenges.

Fifteen-year-old Lucille Ball was sent home from drama school in New York City with a message to her mother that she had no talent. It was through persistence and hard work that she came to receive international accolades as The Queen of Comedy. Her business acumen as the first woman to head a major studio, Desilu Productions - the largest production studio in Hollywood at the time - led her to personally champion the creation of Star Trek and Mission Impossible.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz originally announced their creation of a scholarship at Jamestown Community College when they visited Jamestown in 1956 for the world premiere of their MGM film, Forever, Darling. The scholarship continued until Desilu Studios was sold to Gulf & Western in 1967.

In reflecting on his award, Bobseine noted, "I am immensely thankful to be selected for this award. I understand we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. I could not agree more with Lucille’s philosophy that persistence and determination are the keys to succeeding."

This spring, ten initial funders from across the country each provided $1,000 to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation (CRCF) to launch the endowment for the Lucille Ball Scholarship. They are Ford and Jane Blaney, Wanda Clark, Chris and Tricia Olsen, William Peck, Melody Thomas Scott, Todd and Alexis Singleton, Ken Souza, William and Barbara Stubbs, Darrell Vail, and Lou Weiss. William Peck made an additional contribution so that the first scholarship could be awarded this year.

Randy Sweeney, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, commented, "The Community Foundation has had the opportunity to help support a number of the activities of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center since its start several years ago. We are thrilled to continue this relationship with the administration of the Lucille Ball Scholarship Fund, which will award a student from Jamestown Community College. We are delighted that Gallager Bobseine has been selected as the first recipient, as he certainly depicts the characteristics of hard work, drive and a CAN DO spirit."

Online gifts to the Lucille Ball Scholarship Fund can be made through CRCF’s website.

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