In December, devoted friends and colleagues of Sampson Community College, Bill and Melissa Fulton, established the Tanner-Fulton Fund. The Tanner-Fulton Fund has been established to help deserving Sampson Community College curriculum students in their educational pursuits. Mr. and Mrs. Fulton established the fund in memory of their parents RW and Dorothy Tanner and Hewitt and Katherine Fulton, and also in memory of their late son, Matthew, who passed away in 2016.

Bill Fulton is a longtime member of the SCC Foundation, where he serves as the board’s current Vice President. But the family’s relationship with the College goes even further. In 1981, as a young married couple, the Fultons took a “Principles of Banking” course at SCC, which launched a 35-year career in banking for Melissa Fulton.

“We both went to very fine colleges for four years, but we’ve been here for 40 years. This community has made us who we are in a lot of ways, so this seems like the best place to put our resources. We owe this place a lot,” Bill Fulton added.

Bill and Melisa Fulton stopped by the Office of Advancement to officially establish the Tanner-Fulton Endowment in December. (Photo Credit/Cheyenne Mcneill)

For the Fultons, establishing the Tanner-Fulton Fund allows them to give back to the community they have grown to be a part of over the last 40 years, and a community that impacted their sons. Their oldest son, Steven, who lives in Greensboro with his wife, keeps in touch with his high school friends. Their late son, Matthew, who passed away in 2016, was a member of the 2005 Clinton High School State Championship Football team, and an Eagle Scout from Troop #27 in Clinton. After graduating from Appalachian State University, he went on to work at Prestage Farms as an Accounting Manager.

Matthew Fulton, for whom the Tanner-Fulton Fund is named. (Courtesy Photo)

The Fultons say the community and friendships that they and their sons created in Sampson County is a testament to what the community has to offer. It was through friendship that Bill Fulton was encouraged to join the SCC Foundation Board in 2011.

Lisa Turlington, Executive Director of the SCC Foundation, who originally invited Bill Fulton to join the Foundation board in 2011, says The Fultons’ commitment to Sampson Community College is further evident through this gift.

“Bill and Melissa are long-time supporters of the College and education in general. This is a fitting tribute to their son, Matthew, and their parents. We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the legacy of this fine family with the establishment of the Tanner-Fulton scholarship in their memory,” Turlington shared. 

It was also their parents, who resided in Laurinburg, North Carolina and Madison, Virginia, respectively, who moved the Fultons to establish the Tanner-Fulton Fund. Their parents were heavily involved in their communities and witnessing this commitment to community involvement inspired the Fultons’ interest in establishing this endowment.

Melissa Fulton’s parents, RW and Dorothy Tanner. (Courtesy Photo)

“We were both fortunate to be a part of strong families and have a good upbringing and our parents were both involved in their communities, and they set that example for us,” Melissa Fulton remarked.

The Fultons, who go for daily walks at the Walking Trail at SCC, praised the college for its impact on the community, especially during COVID-19, where so many local residents have used the college’s newest campus upgrades to exercise. Whether a student is looking for short-term training or a degree program, they say they are happy to be a part of the progress moving forward at SCC.

“Matthew and Steven loved growing up here,” Melissa Fulton shared. “We just love Clinton and Sampson County, and we just feel like the college adds so much to the community.”

President of Sampson Community College, Dr. Bill Starling, says the Fultons’ passion for their community is exemplary of the spirit of Sampson County and has inspired several others to give back.

Bill Fulton’s parents, Hewitt and Katherine Fulton. (Courtesy Photo)

“We understand that small towns and rural communities are special places for families. Bill and Melissa Fulton have significantly contributed to Clinton and Sampson County through their work, their family, and their active roles in the church and a number of civic organizations. Their participation and support of the SCC Foundation has attracted other community members to join with them,” Starling commented. “This scholarship, in memory of Matthew, helps all of us to remember and celebrate his life and the friendships he enjoyed in this community. Our sincere thanks to Bill and Melissa for their support of our students and allowing us to continue to remember Matthew.”

The Tanner-Fulton Scholarship will be available for students enrolling at Sampson Community College for the Fall 2021 semester. To apply to be eligible for the Tanner-Fulton Scholarship and other Foundation Scholarships, visit Applications are due by April 15, 2021.

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.