ATC Foundation Director Retires After 20 Years of Service
Mary Commons’ passion for helping others led to more than two decades of fundraising to benefit the students and employees of Aiken Technical College (ATC).
Commons retired May 29 as the ATC Foundation Director, where her efforts positively impacted students and employees of the College.
“Mary has been an advocate for our students and helping to reduce barriers that could otherwise prevent, or impact, students’ ability to pursue higher education. She often asked, ‘what else can we do to help?’ when addressing student needs in and out of the classroom. We truly appreciate her efforts over the years and wish her well in her retirement,” said ATC President Dr. Forest Mahan.
Commons was hired in July 1999 as an administrative specialist for the ATC Foundation. A few months later, she took on the role of interim director and was ultimately named the Foundation’s director.
She brought with her years of experience in event planning, fundraising, and involvement with non-profit organizations and efforts. One of her first fundraising efforts happened when she was a child, said Commons.
“When I think back on my life, I think I was destined to work in the fundraising field. As a child, we always tried to raise money for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. We would put on plays and have lemonade stands to raise money and have our parents call in and donate the funds we raised,” said Commons. “We felt so excited and felt like we were helping kids who didn’t have a childhood like us.”
During the past 20 years, Commons led the ATC Foundation and College through two capital campaigns, raising about $4.8 million collectively, and established 15 new endowments and 45 new scholarships for students.
She created numerous initiatives, including a campus Blessing Box, Student Emergency Support Fund, Benefactor & Recipient Scholarship Breakfast, and the Providing Academic Gateways for Education (PAGE) program to make textbooks available in the ATC library for student use.
She also managed annual fundraising events such as the employee Family Giving Campaign, The Giving Gala, and the former Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
In addition to her efforts with the College, Commons has been involved in the Aiken County community by participating in various organizations, including the Aiken Downtown Rotary Club, the Aiken Chamber of Commerce Ambassador team, and the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“I feel very honored and proud to have served in the role of Director of the ATC Foundation. I am going to miss the students, faculty, and staff. I’m so proud of Aiken Technical College and the role it plays in the community and putting knowledge to work,” said Commons. “Thank you to my outstanding Board of Trustees and our College President Dr. Forest Mahan, whose leadership has guided the course of the College for bigger and better times ahead. Dr. Mahan leads by example, and I have nothing but praise for his leadership.”
As Commons begins retirement, she plans to travel, spend time with family, learn how to play the ukulele, and to continue serving others by “volunteering in Aiken and giving back to the community I love so much,” she said.