Community colleges are supposed to open doors to higher education for all sorts of people, and the annual student scholarship fundraiser for Mercer County Community College underscored that fact.

With the tones of a jazz combo (consisting of Mercer students, naturally) drifting through the Westin ballroom, guests mingled with college administrators, faculty, honorees, and current and former students.

Sometimes the roles all converged, as was the case for the family of Scott Needham, recipient of a “Spirit of Education” award. The Needhams’ family-run business, Princeton Air, has been a Mercer benefactor in various ways. Scott, a member of the College Foundation board of directors since 2004, also serves on the committee for the annual golf classic. Scott’s mother, Joan, taught art at the college. Scott is also an alumnus — he earned his private pilot’s certificate through the college’s Aviation Flight Technology Program.

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