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Family Endows Scholarship to Honor Grandfather, Recognize GSC Faculty

Posted on Friday, October 05, 2018


GSC President Kirk A. Nooks and Tom Lantzy

Thomas Lantzy and Sharon Ringler have endowed a scholarship to honor Lantzy’s grandfather Stephen Lesko, in appreciation of the education their sons received at Gordon State College.

Lesko was a first generation American who went to work in the Pennsylvania coal mines at the age of 12. Knowing the opportunities having an education offered, he encouraged his children to attend college. Those that did all majored in the sciences. Two of his children each earned a Ph.D. One returned home to serve the community in which she grew up. The other,  Stephen Jr., became a cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

When it came time for their sons to attend college, Tom and Sharon saw the opportunities Gordon State offered.

Their eldest son, Thomas, was a dual enrollment student who graduated with a degree in general studies summa cum laude. He went on to earn a degree in history from the University of Georgia before attending law school at William and Mary and now practices in Virginia.

Matthew graduated Gordon in 2015 with a baccalaureate degree in biology summa cum laude. He is currently working on his master’s degree in medical biotechnology at Brown University.

Sharon Ringler said that her “entire family had been blessed by Gordon State, and the experiences we’ve had here. We are grateful to give back, in some small measure, the blessings we’ve received from this amazing faculty group.”

“We started coming to Gordon long before our children were college age to participate in the Science Olympiad,” Ringler said in a letter. “At a recent dinner with our adult children, we got into a discussion about chicken eggs and fertilization. As Matt tried to dumb it down for us non-science folks, I realized, yet again, that your faculty and curricula are top-notch!”

“This school, this faculty, sees and encourages potential in each student. The future will be brighter because of you.”

The scholarship will be known as The Stephen Lesko Scholarship for the Biological Sciences. It will assist a student who has declared biology as a major at Gordon State College. The family has requested that preferences be given to students who show above average desire and commitment to learning or to a student who faces significant challenges to continue their education.

“Stephen Lesko’s legacy will live on through his family’s endowment of this scholarship that will help biology students realize their dreams,” said Gordon State College President Kirk A. Nooks. “On behalf of Gordon State College and the future recipients of the Stephen Lesko Scholarship for the Biological Sciences, we thank you.”

Rhonda Toon, GSC Vice President for Advancement, echoed Nooks’ thoughts.

“What started out as a phone call from Sharon Ringler, who wanted to share kind thoughts about the time her sons had at Gordon, became this scholarship,” said Toon. “We could not be more grateful for the scholarship endowment, or more honored to have been a part of Thomas’ and Matthew’s education.”