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(From L to R, Dr. Charles Colbert, Chris Colbert and Linda Colbert)
“Teaching music appreciation kept his mind active and engaged, providing a life-extending sense of purpose,” recalls Chris about his father’s thirteen years with the College. “My father has enjoyed a lifelong career in music and has always loved both performing and teaching. He was fortunate to be able to make a living through music and took great pleasure in inspiring others through music. We are thrilled that the scholarship that now bears his name has found a home at Palm Beach State.”
Two years ago, his father’s health issue prompted Chris to reflect on the man’s life, career and passion for music. Inspired by a local and longtime music associate of his father’s, Chris had seen Paul Chaffin, a Lake Worth music store owner and member of the musical community, recognized with a scholarship in his name at Palm Beach State.
“This was an important choice while he’s with us,” recalls Chris, referring to the timing as almost selfish in nature. “We wanted family and friends to be with him to experience this gift. And the endowment is something for the future, something that exists of him and will exist beyond him.” While his mother’s own interest in music and his partner’s nursing degree from the College also helped Chris to settle on Palm Beach State, another significant factor fostered his decision. “If Palm Beach State students have a need, even a small scholarship can make a huge difference between going and not going to school. We thought that we could make the most impact here and build a legacy that would provide for students.”
In June 2019, celebrating Charles’s 90th birthday at a family gathering in Ohio, Chris presented his father with a custom-framed letter from Palm Beach State President Ava Parker, announcing the scholarship in his name. An emotional moment for all, heartfelt tears flowed from the man who has known a lifetime’s harmony of music and family and is now healthier than ever.
Today, Chris’s gift is bringing opportunity to the students of Palm Beach State by establishing the music scholarship, an expression as meaningful as the music itself. According to Chris, this is a way to give back, especially with parents who always emphasized the importance of education. “My father is a woodwind specialist; he plays saxophone, clarinet, bassoon, oboe and flute. As a kid, I was exposed to great music, which was a tremendous gift really. This is a salute to someone who has been sharing music with so many for so long.”
A universal language that unites people, transcends culture and celebrates diversity, music and its many facets can move us personally, emotionally, spiritually – as powerful as it is comforting in moments of joy or times of strife. If it’s true that music can change the world because it can change people, it certainly changed Charles Colbert’s life. Now, the scholarship that honors him is changing the lives of Palm Beach State students through the gift of music.
(From L to R, PBSC VP, Institutional Advancement & Foundation Executive Director, David Rutherford; PBSC President Ava L. Parker; PBSC Foundation Chair Emeritus, George Gentile and PBSC Foundation Board of Directors Chair, Ricky Wade)
English author John Bunyan proclaimed in the seventeenth century that "you have not lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you." While our students may repay us simply by virtue of their achievements, they often do not know who to thank for their ability to pursue higher education and their dreams for tomorrow.
On May 7, the Palm Beach State College Foundation invited those who have contributed to a student's future during the 2018-2019 school year to the Fountains Country Club for an evening of celebration. The event acknowledged donors and the significance of what it means to grant someone an opportunity that may not otherwise be possible. With live music, an interactive presentation from several outstanding engineering students and a chance to socialize with old and new friends, the evening brought a sense of fellowship and Panther pride.