Million Dollar Gift to Benefit Education Students at Lake Erie College


A generous bequest from a Lake Erie College alumna will help Lake County education majors achieve a teaching degree who pursue their degree at Lake Erie College.  Joanne Cole Bhatta of Naples, Florida attended the Painesville College where she studied education. Bhatta passed away in May of 2019 and her estate included a $1 million gift to establish the Mary Barnes Cole Endowed scholarship in honor of her mother.

Bhatta’s career as a teacher included time spent with the US Army Special Services where she taught on U.S. bases in Germany, France, Japan and Cuba. She served proudly on the education faculty at Lake Erie College. To receive the scholarship, the students must be a resident of Lake County, Ohio, and enrolled as a student in Lake Erie College’s School of Education. 

“Our primary focus is expanding the numbers of high-quality teachers here in Lake County and our region,” said Katharine Delavan, Dean of Lake Erie College’s School of Education. “This transformative gift allows us to eliminate some of the financial barriers to degree attainment.”

Dr. Bryan DePoy, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Lake Erie College, echoes this sentiment by stating that “we endeavor to seek unique means to serve our region and fulfill our role of serving the public good. What better way for us to do that than creating opportunities for future teachers while also pulling from our extraordinary talent here in Lake County.”

For more information on the Mary Barnes Cole Endowed Scholarship in Education contact Tony Fulgenzio, Vice President of Advancement,, (440) 375-7255.

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