Carl Sandburg College Receives $250K Donation From Graham Health System for New Scholarship Program

GALESBURG — Carl Sandburg College on Thursday unveiled a new scholarship opportunity, supported by a $250,000 commitment from Graham Health System, that will be available to students in select health programs as well as career and technical programs.

“This significant donation will empower us to offer additional support to current and future students and further the college’s mission and vision,” said Eric Johnson, chief advancement officer for the Carl Sandburg College Foundation. “Graham Health System’s generosity is a game-changer for the Carl Sandburg College Foundation and the entire Sandburg community. They recognize our vision and have stepped up to help us transform the lives of our students in an even bigger way.”

The Graham Scholars Program will cover all educational fees and is open to new and returning full- and part-time students from Illinois and Iowa. International students also are eligible to apply. To qualify for consideration, students must display financial need, maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and be enrolled at Sandburg in one of the following programs:
• Accounting
• Administrative office assistant
• Advanced industrial maintenance
• Basic industrial maintenance
• Cisco networking security
• Computed tomography
• Computer support associate
• Computer technician certificate
• Magnetic resonance imaging
• Medical assisting
• Medical office assistant
• Network security
• Nursing
• Practical nursing

“What you see represented in this generous and profoundly appreciated gift from Graham Health System is an investment in the advancement of everybody in our community,” Sandburg President Dr. Seamus Reilly said. “Not just in the health professions, but in all of the areas that go toward enhancing the quality of our lives. It's a vision in terms of what we can control and what health care looks like in the future.”

Applications for the Graham Scholars Program and other scholarships awarded through the Sandburg Foundation are available at The priority consideration deadline for the 2024-25 academic year is March 15. Students can apply through June 15 for secondary awarding.

“There is an old saying in life that we are all warmed by many fires we did not start over our lifetimes. We want to start a number of fires at Carl Sandburg College,” said Bob Senneff, president and CEO of Graham Health System. “We are wanting to continue to build an authentic relationship with Sandburg and the Galesburg area. We need to and want to inform and educate students on the many paths they can take in health care and then financially support those that need it as they travel that path.”

Founded in 1969, the Carl Sandburg College Foundation is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation organized exclusively for educational purposes to assist in developing and augmenting the college's facilities and carrying out the educational functions of Illinois Community College District 518. Contributions to the foundation expand and enhance Sandburg's programs; support students through scholarships and crisis loans/grants; and provide for the capital needs of the college.  

In the last five years, the Sandburg Foundation has awarded $1.1 million in scholarships to Sandburg students; $135,000 in faculty-staff innovation grants; $112,000 in textbooks and course supplies funding assistance; $74,000 in crisis grants support; and $58,000 in nursing success grants, all thanks to the support of generous donors. Make your donation to the Sandburg Foundation at any time at or by contacting the foundation at 309.341.5349 or

A leader in health care in central and western Illinois, Graham Health System includes Graham Hospital in Canton as well as 10 clinic locations serving the Canton, Elmwood, Farmington, Galesburg, Lewistown, Macomb and Williamsfield communities. Graham also staffs six specialty clinics (general surgery; orthopedics; ear, nose and throat; obstetrics and gynecology; podiatry; and wound care) in Havana, in partnership with Mason District Hospital. Graham Medical Group specializes in family practice; internal medicine; pediatrics; general surgery; orthopedics; obstetrics and gynecology; ear, nose and throat; podiatry; urology; wound care; vascular; pain management; and breast surgery.

(L-R) Jake Green, senior director of development for Graham Health System, and Graham Health System President and CEO Bob Senneff present a ceremonial check for $250,000 to Carl Sandburg College President Dr. Seamus Reilly and Eric Johnson, chief advancement officer for the Sandburg Foundation, on Thursday at Sandburg. The donation from Graham Health System will be used to start the Graham Scholars Program, a scholarship for Sandburg students in select health programs as well as career and technical programs.