Aurora business partners with North Central College
Michael Wenger and Bret Bonnet, owners of Quality Logo Products in Aurora recently partnered with their Naperville-based alma mater to create the Dr. Gary Ernst Entrepreneurial Scholarship Fund.
Starting in fall 2019, the fund will provide a scholarship of $2,000 annually to a North Central College undergraduate majoring in entrepreneurship and small business management. Recipients can use the scholarship toward their tuition, student fees, room and board and book expenses.
"This scholarship is a way for us to be mentors to people who are starting out just like we were," Wenger said. "It's not just financial assistance. We truly want to help students through networking, providing them with the experience, support and mentorship they need to be successful."
The scholarship pays tribute to Gary Ernst, professor of international business and marketing emeritus at the college. Wenger and Bonnet credit Ernst's mentorship as a guiding force in their growth as entrepreneurs.
"Dr. Ernst's teaching style was engaging, and to learn from a professor who had so much field experience was inspiring," said Bonnet. "Every day he made a conscious effort to put his students first and I think that says a lot about who he is as a person. We were never a number in his classroom; it's that level of connection to a faculty member and mentor that got us where we are now."
"It's an honor and quite frankly it blew me away," Ernst said. "I can still recall classroom memories with both Mike and Bret. What really makes North Central a distinctive institution is that interpersonal connection between faculty and students. I know the College will continue to harness those connections for years to come."