Machinist scholarship established at Aiken Tech

Donald C. Cheeks built his career in the machine tool industry, from being a machinist to operations manager to owning and leading the Southeastern Tool Company.

Now, through a donation from the Gifting Tree Foundation, his family has established the Donald C. Cheeks Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund with the Aiken Technical College Foundation to help future generations create their own career paths as machinists according to a Nov. 1 news release from Aiken Tech.

“Don lived his life always helping others. Even though he’s no longer with us, this scholarship will still allow his memory to live on for years to come,” said his widow, Annie Cheeks, in the release. “I would love the impact of this to be a pay-it-forward effect. Hopefully, the recipient will realize the importance of establishing scholarships and how it impacted them and that one day they will be able to do the same for someone else.”

The endowment will provide scholarships for students enrolled in computerized numerical control or machine tool technology programs in six or more credit hours with at least a 2.5 grade point average.

“We are thankful to the Cheeks family and the Gifting Tree Foundation for their generosity. By establishing an endowment, the scholarships will help reduce the financial barriers to education for current and future generations of Aiken Tech students,” said ATC Foundation Director Beth LaClair.

Students interested in applying for the scholarship can do so during the scholarship application period, held annually from Jan. 1, 2024 through March 1.

For more information about applying for scholarships or establishing an endowment fund, please visit

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