CCC Scholarship Recipients Thank Generous Physician
His notable accomplishments rival those of men twice his age, but for Dr. J. Steven Blake, President at Blake Gastroenterology Associates, LLC in Philadelphia, PA, nothing warms his heart more than helping pave the way for students at his alma maters – Coahoma Community College & Agricultural High School. Known for his previous philanthropic endeavors that have included sponsoring 10-day trips to Philadelphia for Aggie high school seniors, the 1989 Aggie graduate, who has traveled the world, says there’s no place like Mississippi.
“I’m proud to let everyone know that I’m from Mississippi. I’m so grateful for Coahoma and the life and foundation that I received on that campus,” said Blake.
On Monday, via Skype from his Pennsylvania home, Blake became visibly choked up as his first two CCC scholarship recipients expressed their gratitude for his generosity – both were recently awarded scholarships, as part of The J. Steven Blake Foundation’s $100,000 endowment to CCC. Freshmen Miracle Williams, an aspiring Computer Engineer, and Marquisha Lester, a political science major, will both receive full- tuition scholarships for two years and $250 for books per semester. The Foundation plans to complete the pledge throughout the next five years.
“I thank you for all that you’re doing for us and our lives, “said Williams.
“I’m grateful because you’re one of few who can say I left, became successful and I came back to help,” added Lester.
The scholarships are divided into two categories: the Blake Scholar and the President “McKinley” Martin Scholar. Students were chosen based on a list of criteria including Leadership Demonstration, Financial Need Base, and their Academic Ability. The scholarships honor Dr. Blake’s late parents, Alfred and Irma Blake and Dr. McKinley Martin, who served as CCC president from 1980-1992.
Following graduation from Aggie, Dr. Blake attended CCC before earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi in chemistry and zoology. He attended Medical Technology School in Tupelo and worked at Northeast Mississippi Medical Center before traveling to Philadelphia and earning his degree at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The entire chat between Blake and the students lasted roughly half an hour with Blake offering advice, discussing his journey to becoming a successful professional, and even describing his exquisite art collection that served as a cyber backdrop.
“There are no limits in life. I will be sure to follow your progress, “Blake told the young ladies.
Blake urged the students to pay it forward and thanked those like Dr. Martin who helped shaped his studies and career.
“All of my academia started with you. It’s an honor for me to be able to honor you,” he said.