OTC Hosts Guest Speaker and Announces Funeral Services Education Endowment

Posted on Oct 10, 2022 at 16:14 PM

Left to Right: Michele Rupar- Smith, Michelle Davis, Tracy Joiner, and Mark AndersonOgeechee Technical College recently welcomed Martha Thayer, former program chair of the Mortuary Science Department at Arapahoe Community College, to share with students, faculty, and community members, her experience serving a perpetrator’s family following a mass killing event. At the conclusion of the event Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home announced plans to endow a scholarship for the Funeral Services Education program.

During the two-hour event, Thayer highlighted ways in which to serve the families of people who have carried out atrocities like the Columbine Massacre. She discussed what to do from the moment they receive the initial call for help, to making arrangements, and directing the funeral.

“Martha Thayer is a fellow funeral professional who lived and learned through great tragedy in the wake of the Columbine school shooting,” said Michele Rupar, Funeral Services Program Director. “Our program had the fortunate experience of hearing firsthand what it means to serve a grieving community as well as the challenging responsibility of burying the perpetrator.”

Thayer who received emeritus status in 2020 after a 25+ year career of teaching and administrating, continues her passion for lifelong learning through her work as a presenter, trainer, and continuing education curriculum designer.

At the end of the program, Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home announced to the OTC Foundation that they would be endowing a scholarship for the Funeral Services Education program. As one of only three accredited Funeral Service Education programs in the state, OTC attracts students from over 40 Georgia counties as well as others from outside the state. Funeral Services Education is also one of the largest programs at Ogeechee Tech with over 100 students.

“Not only am I proud to call myself an alumnus of Ogeechee Tech, but as an owner of a funeral home I see firsthand how quickly our field is growing and how important it is to support students seeking degrees in Funeral Service Education,” said Mark Anderson, Owner of Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home. “We are proud to announce our partnership with the OTC Foundation and to support students seeking careers in Funeral Service Education.”

An endowed scholarship is a donation that is invested by the OTC Foundation, the interest of which is used to fund scholarships each year. A minimum of $25,000 is required to fund an endowed scholarship at Ogeechee Tech.

The Ogeechee Technical College Foundation exists to assist Ogeechee Technical College in achieving and maintaining a high-quality program of post-secondary education and community participation, to raise funds, and to make contributions to educational programs of Ogeechee


About Ogeechee Technical College:

Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia. OTC provides studentā€centered academic and occupational programs and support services at the associate degree, diploma, and certificate levels. OTC utilizes traditional and distance education methodologies in state-of-the-art facilities while supporting adult education, continuing education, and customized business and industry workforce training. Visit for more information.

Contact Information

Sean Payne
Executive Director for Public Relations & Marketing

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