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Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Celebrates Heroes of Education at the Phoenix Art Museum

News October 11, 2023

Tempe, Ariz., October 11, 2023 – The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation (MCCF) is excited to announce the 16th anniversary of The Heroes of Education event to be held November 16, 2023, at the Phoenix Art Museum. The Heroes of Education award honors champions of education in Arizona, recognizing those who have a proven personal and professional commitment to supporting students and educational opportunities.

This year’s honorees are Mark Gaspers, Sr. Manager at The Boeing Company and Chair of Workforce Arizona Council; Dr. Sian Proctor, Astronaut and Geoscience Professor; and Wells Fargo.

The Boeing Company has a long-standing partnership with the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) in creating both attainable pathways to higher education and future careers for Maricopa students. Gaspers reflects these ideals by actively serving as chair on multiple local committees, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Workforce Arizona Council.

South Mountain Community College Professor Dr. Sian Proctor made history in 2021 as the first African American woman to pilot Inspiration4, the first all-civilian orbital space mission. Her remarkable achievement serves as an inspiration to students.

For over twenty-six years, Wells Fargo has been an advocate for the Maricopa Community Colleges, providing philanthropic support for many programs, scholarships, and college events. They are focused on meeting the challenges brought on by the pandemic and working with organizations and community leaders to support an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery for their customers, employees, and communities and as a result of this focus, the Foundation received a $1M grant focusing on small business growth, specifically in support of Advancing Entrepreneurship at MCCCD.

Ten additional College Heroes will also be honored, each representing one of the Maricopa Community Colleges. To see the full list visit

“Our 2023 Heroes of Education share an unwavering passion for higher education,” said Brian Spicker, MCCF President and CEO. “Their commitment to our students and colleges play a significant role in transforming lives which leads to our community’s economic success. Their amazing support is at the heart of the accomplishments of our students. It is our honor to celebrate these Heroes, with the entire community.”

The Heroes of Education Event Committee includes Co-chairs Stephanie Hertzberg (MCCF Immediate Past Chair) and Susan Bitter Smith (MCCCD Governing Board Secretary), as well as Honorary Chairs Richard Boals (MCCF Emeritus Board Member) and Maryglenn Boals (President of MgBoals & Associates).

New in 2023 is the venue at the Phoenix Art Museum. Along with food and music, two galleries will be open the evening of the event, providing an exciting environment to celebrate art and education. Highlights of the evening will include an art exhibit featuring the work of Heroes of Education honoree, Dr. Sian Proctor, a student art auction, and musical performances including Mariachi de Osos, the Scottsdale Community College Jazz Ensemble, and Steel Pan.

Proceeds from the annual Heroes of Education event support MCCF student scholarships and emergency fund needs. Since its inception in 2006, the event has raised approximately $2.1 million in scholarship funds to support Maricopa students.

The Foundation would like to thank event sponsors for their generous support, including Gold Sponsors Amazon, The Arizona Republic/, Carstens Family Funds, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Helios Education Foundation, and Wells Fargo, as well as media sponsors Frontdoors Media and Hospice of the Valley. A full list of sponsors can be found here.

Event tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available for those who would like to contribute to realizing the Foundation’s vision that everyone has the opportunity to improve their lives through education.