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A new scholarship honoring the legacy and spirit of the late Caroline Ragsdale Reutter, founder of Caroline's Cakes, has been established with the Spartanburg Community College Foundation to assist deserving SCC culinary arts students pursuing their academic and career goals.
Initiated by Spartanburg residents Lea Ann and Dexter Cleveland, the scholarship was created in memory of Caroline, their dear friend and baking entrepreneur, who lost her battle with cancer on July 15, 2017. "We are excited to be part of the creation of the Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Memorial Scholarship for Culinary Arts at Spartanburg Community College," said the Cleveland's. "Caroline was equally dedicated to her business, Caroline's Cakes, her family and Spartanburg. She would be thrilled to know she is supporting the next great pastry chef through SCC."
"This scholarship will assist culinary students as they pursue an associate's degree or certificate at SCC by providing tuition support and a possible internship at Caroline's Cakes. The selected recipients will have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Caroline's sons, Richard and Charles Reutter, and their dedicated team of employees," said Bea Walters Smith, executive director of the SCC Foundation and Advancement. "The Foundation is very thankful to Lea Ann and Dexter for creating this scholarship. The Cleveland's have taken the lead and invite the community to support this scholarship by making a memorial gift in Caroline's honor. The goal is to raise beyond the endowment level of $10,000, which will preserve Caroline's memory and the account into perpetuity. A special on-line giving link has been created for this fund at www.sccsc.edu/foundation."
"The Culinary Department at SCC is both humbled and honored to partner with Caroline's Cakes for this scholarship opportunity. This will make such a difference in the lives of students for many years to come," shared Amy Byers, program chair for the culinary program. Byers says there is specific criteria candidates must meet to be eligible for the scholarship:
second year student enrolled full time in the SCC Culinary Arts Program;
minimum 2.5 grade point average;
preference given to student focused on pastry art;
must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA);
must have a financial need;
award of the scholarship may include internship opportunities available at Caroline's Cakes.
Reutter's baking business started in 1982 with the creation of her first and now world-famous, seven-layer caramel cake that she made for her youngest son's christening. Thanks to word of mouth and an amazingly delicious product, the business grew over the years and today, Caroline's Cakes ships thousands of cakes to thousands of customers across the globe from their Spartanburg headquarters. Because of Reutter's savvy business skills and tireless work ethic, Caroline's Cakes has been featured in the 2011 movie, "The Help," and are loved by the rich and famous. But, despite her success and fame, Caroline's family - husband, Charles "Chick" Reutter, and sons Richard and Charles, who now run their mother's business - say that for Caroline, it was about more than just selling cakes.
"Giving back was one of Caroline's main focuses," explained husband, Chick. "This scholarship is exciting and a great fit for showcasing her business and giving someone else an opportunity; and it's a chance for us to do something for Spartanburg."
"She loved meeting and helping people. Caroline believed in not just selling cakes, but in mentoring people. It's what she really enjoyed doing," said son, Richard. "Interns will learn here, and learn much more than baking cakes. The culture that mom created here was all done Caroline's way - learn to start a business. It's hard work but it's really, really rewarding."
"Mom was passionate about education and she invested in our education," explained son, Charles. "She loved gathering and sharing information - she would be proud to continue serving through education."
And, for Caroline's devoted family and friends, it's about giving back and helping others. Richard adds, "We can honor her legacy by providing an educational opportunity for someone to grow, thrive and learn. Mom would be honored to give others an opportunity through this scholarship. We are proud to partner with SCC to build this scholarship."
Donations are accepted for the Caroline Ragsdale Reutter Memorial Scholarship for Culinary Arts at SCC online at www.sccsc.edu/foundation or by sending a check made payable to the SCC Foundation and mailed to SSC Foundation, PO Box 4386, Spartanburg, SC 29303.
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