A love for art is what introduced Dr. Meryl Haber to the Maricopa Community Colleges District (MCCCD), but a passion for keeping students in school has inspired him to turn his attention to addressing food insecurity at Phoenix College.
Dr. Haber has been involved in education his entire career. He is Emeritus Professor of Pathology at Rush Medical College, Chicago and was previously the Borland Professor and Chair of Pathology, as well as Associate Dean for Graduate and Continuing Medical Education. After a successful medical career working in hospitals and universities across the United States, Dr. Haber retired to Arizona and cultivated his interest in the arts, serving on committees and as a Trustee of the Phoenix Art Museum (PAM) Board of Directors.
Dr. Haber became familiar with MCCCD when, as an art enthusiast, he attended the annual Eric Fischl Series, a collaboration between PAM and Phoenix College (PC). The Series provides students the opportunity to interact with world-renowned artists and compete for the prestigious Vanguard Award for best-in-show from among works submitted to the student art exhibition. Also included is a competitive scholarship, which pays students’ tuition and supplies. After attending various events and meeting students, Dr. Haber was inspired to make a gift supporting the program. “Contributing to the education of our students by funding the Maricopa Community College’s programs is of the utmost importance,” he said. “The impact of the Maricopa Community Colleges has been significant in the community because of its far-reaching programs and educational innovations.”
During an event at the campus, PC president Dr. Larry Johnson shared that community college students face food insecurities, which can cause them to stop-out of college and impede progress toward their goals. Dr. Haber was again inspired to help, making a generous gift to the PC Pantry which provides food to students in need.
In March, when the pandemic began impacting students’ finances, either due to loss of a job or a parent’s loss of a job, demand for support at the pantry increased, and the call went out to faculty, staff, alumni, and friends for support. “Covid-19 has changed all of our lives and will continue to impact the educational process for at least the next year or two. This has produced innumerable hardships on all educational institutions, their faculty and students,” said Dr. Haber.
PC President Dr. Larry Johnson reports that, “As the pandemic continues, we receive requests daily from students for emergency and food assistance. We are so thankful for the support of Dr. Haber and other donors to the food pantry, so students can focus on school, not hunger. Through this support, we help keep students enrolled and on track.”
“Additional funds are always needed and are more important now than ever.” – Dr. Meryl Haber call out box
If you would like to learn more about or support the food pantry and emergency fund programs, visit mcccdf.org/students-in-need.